By David Thurin

The Flexy Guy's First Deadlift Challenge: Pushing Limits in the PR Dungeon

Welcome to a bit of an unusual tale from my fitness journey. It's all about that one day I decided to push my limits and try something I've never done before a one-rep max deadlift. 

Now, I'm known as the 'Flexy Guy', more for my flexibility than my lifting prowess, but hey, why not mix things up a bit? 

So, join me as I recount this raw and real experience in the most unlikely of places – my very own 'PR Dungeon'. It's a story of weights, willpower, and well... a lot of learning.

The PR Dungeon

The 'PR Dungeon' - sounds ominous, right? Well, it's not as daunting as it sounds. Picture this: a space that's a little rough around the edges, where the glamour of high-end gyms is replaced by the grit of hardcore training. 

It's here where I embarked on my deadlifting journey. Now, let's break down what makes this place special:

  • The Atmosphere: Think less shiny and more gritty. It's not your typical gym setting – it's raw, and a bit dirty, but it's got character. The kind of place where you feel like every drop of sweat counts.
  • The Essentials: We're talking bare bones here. A sturdy barbell and a set of plates. No fancy machines or shiny dumbbells. It's all about the basics, but honestly, that's all you really need to challenge yourself.
  • The Vibe: It's all about personal records here, hence the name 'PR Dungeon'. There's a sense of raw determination that fills the air – a perfect backdrop for pushing personal boundaries.


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The One-Rep Max Experiment

Now, onto the main event: my very first one-rep max deadlift. I'll admit, I was a mix of excited and nervous. Deadlifting heavy? That’s uncharted territory for a guy like me who’s more into bending than lifting. But, why not?

I went for the conventional deadlift. Now, I know there's a bit of a debate in the fitness world – sumo vs. conventional. Some say sumo's cheating; I don't think so, but I wanted to avoid any controversy. So, conventional it was – just me, the bar, and the weight.

It was less about the numbers and more about testing my limits. Sure, I've lifted before, but this was different. This was about finding out what 'Flexy Guy' could really do with a barbell and some iron.

Starting Light and Learning

So, let’s dive right into the heart of the challenge. I kicked things off with what I thought was a humble beginning - 95 pounds. It might not sound like a mountain to seasoned lifters, but hey, every giant leap starts with a small step, right?

Lifting 95 pounds felt surprisingly manageable. It was a confidence booster, a small nudge telling me, "You've got this." But I knew it was just the beginning, the first rung of a much taller ladder.

The Deceptive Plates

Here's something interesting about the weights I used – they were rubber plates. Now, if you've been around gyms, you'll know these can look more intimidating than they actually are. They're bulky, sure, but not as heavy as they seem. It was a bit of a mental game, seeing these big plates and remembering, "It's just 95 pounds."

The Unspoken Workout

Let me tell you, changing those plates between sets? That's a workout in itself. It's like a mini strength and endurance test, especially as the weights got heavier. The constant bending down, lifting off the plates, adding new ones – it's not something you usually think about when you imagine deadlifting, but it's definitely part of the challenge.

This early stage was as much about lifting weights as it was about learning – learning the feel of the bar, the rhythm of adding weights, and the mental game of weightlifting. It's fascinating how a seemingly straightforward task like lifting a bar off the ground can have so many layers to it. And as I was about to find out, it was only going to get more interesting from here.

Strategy and Endurance

As the challenge progressed, the question of strategy and endurance came into play. Deadlifting, especially when you're pushing for a one-rep max, is not just about brute strength; it's a game of smart energy management and knowing your body.

1. Rest Periods 

To rest or not to rest, that was the question. In the beginning, I was kind of just winging it, lifting one set after another with minimal breaks. But as the weights got heavier, I realized the importance of rest. 

It's not just about catching your breath; it's about giving your muscles a moment to recuperate. I started taking short, strategic breaks between sets, enough to keep my energy up without cooling down too much.

2. Listening to My Body

One crucial thing I learned was to listen to my body. There’s a fine line between pushing your limits and overdoing it. As the weights increased, so did the strain. 

It was vital to stay attuned to what my body was telling me – recognizing the difference between good pain (the kind that comes from growth) and bad pain (the warning signs of potential injury).

3. Balancing Effort and Stamina

Managing my effort throughout the lifts was like a balancing act. I had to gauge how much to exert with each lift, ensuring I didn't burn out too quickly. It's almost like a mental chess game, where every move (or lift, in this case) had to be calculated.

4. The Incremental Increases

Incrementally increasing the weight was key. Jumping too high too quickly could lead to fatigue or injury. It was about finding that sweet spot – challenging enough to push my boundaries, but not so overwhelming that it became unmanageable.

Throughout this part of the challenge, I realized that deadlifting is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. 

It's about understanding and respecting your body's capabilities, pushing them, but also knowing when to pull back. It's this intricate dance of power, strategy, and endurance that makes weightlifting such a fascinating and rewarding discipline.

The Peak: Reaching My Limit

The climb to my peak, reaching a 235-pound deadlift, was a thrilling journey of incremental victories. Each additional weight added a new level of challenge, testing my strength and resolve. As the barbell grew heavier, so did my determination. 

Hitting 235 pounds was a mix of triumph and exhaustion – a culmination of effort and grit. It wasn't just lifting weights; it was lifting my own expectations. In that moment, with 235 pounds successfully lifted, I realized the true extent of my capabilities. It was a defining moment, marking the highest point of my deadlifting adventure.


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Bottom Line

In this journey of deadlifting, from the raw setting of the PR Dungeon to lifting a personal best of 235 pounds, I've learned that pushing boundaries is as much about mental strength as it is about physical prowess. 

It's a testament to the idea that with determination, patience, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, you can surpass even your own expectations. Remember, it's not just about how much you can lift; it's about the journey you take to get there.

Stay flexy, stay strong!