By David Thurin

Maximizing Strength: My Journey with Deadlifting

Today, I want to chat about something that's been a huge part of my fitness journey: deadlifting. You know, a lot of folks have this idea that deadlifting is just an "ego lift," something to boast about but not necessarily beneficial. 

But let me tell you, my experience has been anything but that. I started off with a decent one rep max and gradually pushed my limits. And it's been an eye-opener, not just in terms of strength but also in understanding my body better. 

So, let's dive into this journey together. Maybe you'll find a nugget or two to take away for your own fitness path!

Personal Progress and Challenges

Embarking on my deadlifting journey, I encountered a mix of personal progress and challenges, each step teaching me more about my strength and resilience.

The Starting Point: Initial One Rep Max of 235 lbs

When I first took up deadlifting seriously, I was kind of testing the waters, you know? My initial one rep max was 235 lbs, which felt like a decent starting point. 

I remember the mixed feelings of excitement and nervousness, gripping the bar for that first lift. It was more than just lifting weights; it was about setting a baseline for myself, and seeing where I stood.

Moving Up: Lifting 235 lbs for Multiple Reps

The journey from lifting 235 lbs as a one rep max to doing it for multiple reps was kind of surreal. The first time I hit that weight, I was over the moon. But then, something clicked in my head – if I could do it once, why not more? 

So, the next time I went in, I pushed myself. And guess what? I did it for five reps. It was like a lightbulb moment, realizing that my limits were there to be pushed.

The Current Challenge: Aiming Higher

Today's goal isn't about hitting a new max or breaking records. It's about consistency and pushing for 235 lbs for more reps. It's funny how the challenges shift over time. 

Initially, it was about lifting heavier, but now it's about maintaining and improving endurance at these weights. It's a different kind of challenge, more mental than physical sometimes. I've learned that it's not just about how much you lift but how you lift and sustain it.

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The Mental and Physical Aspects of Deadlifting

Deadlifting is more than just a physical game; it's a mental marathon too. Let's chat about two key aspects here - the challenge of rest times during workouts and the mental prep needed for lifting heavier weights.

Rest Time: A Test of Patience

You might think the hardest part of deadlifting is the actual lift. But for me, it's the rest time between sets. It's like time slows down when you're waiting to get back to the bar. 

When I started, I underestimated how crucial these moments of rest are. They're not just about catching your breath; it's about letting your muscles to:

  1. Recover
  2. Gather strength
  3. Prep for the next set

As I progressed, I learned to respect this downtime, using it to mentally prepare for what's next, rather than just waiting it out. It's a subtle shift in perspective but makes a world of difference.

Mental Preparation: Lifting Beyond the Physical

When it comes to lifting heavier weights, like moving from 205 lbs to 235 lbs, there's a huge mental component. It's not just about physical strength; your mind has to be in it 100%. 

Each time I approach the bar, especially when I'm about to lift something I've never lifted before, there's this whole mental ritual. I visualize the lift, focus on my breathing, and psych myself up. It's like telling yourself, "Yes, you can do this." And trust me, that mental prep is as exhausting as the physical effort, if not more. 

When you're staring down at that bar, loaded with weights, it's not just muscle memory; it's a mind game. And winning that game, lifting those weights – there's nothing quite like it.

Achievements and Surprises

In my journey with deadlifting, I've not only shattered personal records but also encountered some surprising benefits, reshaping my understanding of strength and flexibility. 

Lifting Beyond Limits: The New Normal with 235 lbs

One of the most exhilarating achievements in my deadlifting journey was taking my previous one-rep max of 235 lbs and turning it into a multi-rep set. The first time I lifted 235 lbs, it felt like conquering a mountain. But then, something incredible happened. 

That once daunting weight became part of my regular training. Lifting it for multiple reps was a game-changer. It was a physical testament to my progress, a clear sign of how far I'd come from where I started. Each rep was more than just lifting weights; it was lifting my own expectations and boundaries.

The Surprising Side of Deadlifting: Increased Flexibility

Now, here's a surprise I didn't see coming – improved flexibility. You might think deadlifting is all about bulking up and getting stiff, but it's quite the opposite for me. Regular deadlifting has actually made my body more flexible. This was unexpected, to say the least. 

My backbend, for instance, has improved significantly. I used to think strength training would limit my flexibility, but it's been the opposite. Balancing deadlifts with flexibility training has not only made me stronger but also more limber. It's like discovering a new side of your body's capabilities, and it's pretty amazing.

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The Importance of Consistency and Training Smart

Embracing consistent training and smart strategies in deadlifting has been crucial in my journey, ensuring steady progress, optimal recovery, and an attuned understanding of my body's needs.

1. Regular Training for Steady Progress

Consistency is key in deadlifting. It's not about hitting the gym sporadically and expecting huge gains. By deadlifting regularly, I've seen steady progress in strength and endurance. This regularity helps in understanding and respecting my body's capacity, ensuring continuous improvement.

2. Balancing Intensity with Recovery

Training smart means knowing when to push and when to pause. It's crucial to balance intense deadlifting sessions with adequate recovery time. This approach prevents injuries and burnout, allowing my body to recuperate and grow stronger for the next session.

3. Listening to the Body’s Signals

Lastly, being in tune with my body has been a game changer. Paying attention to how my body feels during and after workouts guides my training decisions. This self-awareness helps in adjust the intensity, avoid overexertion, and recognize when it's time to challenge myself further.


Reflecting on my deadlifting journey, I've realized it's more than just lifting weights; it's about personal growth and unexpected discoveries. From surpassing my own records to improving flexibility and learning the value of consistent, smart training, each step has been enlightening. 

This experience has taught me to listen to my body, push beyond limits, and celebrate every achievement. Remember, in your fitness journey, each effort counts. Embrace it with patience and determination, and you'll be surprised at how far you can go.