Dialing in the deadlift

My next competition is in almost exactly four weeks.  I figured it was time to test the hook grip with some weight since there would be time to heal in the event I tore a callus.

My practice with lighter weights and better care of my hands (conscientiously filing down calluses) paid off as I was able to get through my planned hook grip sets without any damage.  It still feels very unusual to deadlift heavy with the hook grip.  It feels like the bar sets a good 1/2" lower in my fingers than when I used the mixed grip.  It's disconcerting because I'm not used to it but it's a huge advantage since any time you can start fractions of an inch higher, the more weight you're going to lift.

I used the hook grip through a single with 495 and two singles with 545.  In workouts prior to my last competition in September, I was never able to handle more than one heavy single before I tore my hands so I was very happy with the progress I've made.  In addition to building confidence in the grip, I also worked on my revised starting position.  The combination of rounding my upper back and the lower gripset of the hook grip made me feel like I was starting the pull a full couple of inches higher than I had in the past.  It was awesome as it felt like the bar was over my knees much quicker.

After my second single with 545, I could feel my grip tiring a little so I strapped up for a final single with 545.  It was slow but my back, glutes and hamstrings felt strong.  I finished with a deadlift/barbell shrug superset.  Actually that's just a fancy way of saying I did barbell shrugs with 495 lbs but picked the bar off the ground instead of the rack.

Deadlifts:  225x5, 315x3, 405x2, 495x1, 545x1x3 sets
Barbell Shrugs from the floor:  495x7, 495x7, 495x8

There is an over-used cliche, "you can't shoot a cannon from a canoe" that's used to describe many things strength and fitness related.  Usually it applies to having a weak core or weak legs that can't support forces imposed upon or generated by the upper body.  Today, it applied to my overhead presses.  I had planned on today being a "light" day since I had hit some nice PRs on Tuesday.  Since I can be stupid and blow through stop signs in the weight room if I'm feeling good, I was glad to discover that heavy deadlifts and shrugs destroyed any capacity to press anything remotely heavy over my head.  Like a good boy, I did my light day as originally planned.

Overhead Presses:  45x10, 95x10, 135x5, 165x5, 165x5, 135x8, 135x8, 135x6

I finished up with my grip work doing three sets of dumbbell rows.   Despite taxing my grip some with the deadlifts, I was still able to handle more repetitions than on Sunday when I first introduced the exercise into the rotation.  I'm hoping that's a sign my grip endurance is adapting quickly.

Dumbbell rows:  100x10, 100x8, 100x7


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