A common StrongLifts 5x5 mistake is Deadlifting for 5x5 instead of 1x5. Some guys Deadlift more sets because they missed my explanation on page 43 of the 5x5 report. Others do more sets on purpose: they're stuck in more-is-better-world and think 1 set of 5 reps is not enough for Deadlifts.
The reason you don't want to do more than 1x5 Deadlifts is so you don't start hitting plateaus all over the place. What I'm about to explain can be challenging to grasp if you've just started lifting and don't yet realize that the Deadlift is a different beast than the Squat, but here's how Deadlifts differ:
- Deadlifts Work More Muscles. Although Squats work your upper-body too, you're using a lot more muscles when doing Deadlifts.
- Deadlifts Allow For More Weight. Because you're using more muscles and starting from a partial Squat like position on each pull.
- Deadlifts Drain Your CNS. Deadlifts starts from a dead stop, there's no bounce like on the Squat, and that makes them harder on your CNS.
Add that it's a pretty known fact by advanced lifters that the lower back takes longer to recover. With Squats/Rows/Presses also working your lower back, you understand why 5x5 Deadlifts after 5x5 Squats every other workout and with more weight than last time, is quite simply asking for plateaus.
Yes you can get away with 5x5 Deadlifts if you've just started StrongLifts 5x5. But as my StrongLifts Members will tell you: once you're Squatting 300lb, you'll be happy to end your workout with only 1 set of 5 Deadlifts. Obviously, you need to experience 5x5 Squats with 300lb first to really get this.
The most important thing to realize is that the Squat and Deadlift work similar muscles. That's why you don't need 5 sets of Deadlifts - 5x5 Squats 3x/week will boost your Deadlifts but without draining you like 5x5 Deadlifts would.
If you've been doing 5x5 Deadlifts until now, just switch to 1x5. You don't need to lower the weight, just keep adding 5lb/workout. 1x5 will feel easier because you're doing less sets but it will get challenging as you get closer to 1x5 400lb.
If Deadlifts are your favorite exercise as it is for me, do 5 reps for your warm-up sets: 5x135lb – 5x180lb – 5x205lb – 5x235lb. This gives you more technique practice without causing plateaus on your other lifts like 235lbs for 5x5 would.
When in doubt, stick to StrongLifts 5x5 as laid out.
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