Building Nick’s 200kg Deadlift

Last week BJJ Athlete Nick repped out his old deadlift 1RM of 200kg for three reps. In this article I will outline the methods we used to build Nick’s deadlift. Programming for serious combat athletes like Nick can be tricky as they have many physically demanding and long skills training sessions each week. This must be accounted for in the strength and conditioning program otherwise you risk running yourself or your athlete into the ground and overtraining them.

Here is Nick’s 200kg x 3 set:

The way we program for our combat athletes at The Strength Shed is to get enough work in to stimulate the necessary gains and at the same time leave enough recovery reserves in the tank so they can attack their skills sessions. This doesn’t mean the session are easy, but rather programmed smart. The other important part of training not just combat athletes, but any athlete is to fill the gaps of what they need but their regular training is not providing. For example in our thorough physical assessment we identified that Nick had subpar trunk stability and glute strength which are vital for athletic performance. One of the telltale signs was that Nick was lacking size on his glutes.

Before going into the next section it is important to define training volume. In simple terms it is a measure of workload performed for an exercise or training session, and is measured by sets x reps x load lifted. So total volume of 3 sets of 5 reps of a 100kg deadlift is 3 x 5 x 100kg = 1500kg. This is important because the higher your training volume the more fatigue is accumulated. If training volume and its individual effects on the combat athlete are not monitored then you run the risk of poor results from letting fatigue accumulation get out of hand.

Heavy deadlifts for people of moderate and higher strength levels can be quite fatiguing on the nervous system and can caused a lot of fatigue build up. So Instead of performing a lot of fatiguing deadlift volume we did enough work to stimulate gains and rather built Nick’s deadlift by attacking Nick’s core and glutes which we identified as a weakness through our thorough physical assessment. A strong midsection and hips are vital for athletic performance and deadlifting.

Here is the exact set and reps we used for deadlifting in Nick’s program. You might be surprised by how little actual deadlifting we did.

Last week of previous training cycle

200kg x 1
180kg x 2
160kg x 5

Week 1

180kg x 3
165 x 5
150kg x 5

Week 2

Nick picked up a hip injury at skills training this week so we backed off heavy deadlifts this week

140kg x 2
150kg 7 x 2 (60sec rest between sets)

Week 3

180 x 3
170 x 5
160 x 7

Week 4

190 x 4
180 x 5
170 x 7

Week 5

200 x 3
190 x 3
175 x 5

You will notice from week 3 to 5 we jumped up 10kg each top set. This was because the week before the top set moved with decent speed, and on the day the warms ups also moved well. If the warms up sets on the day or the top set the week before moved slow then the jumps would be more conservative, say 2.5 – 5kg. It is important to start your training cycles with a bit of room in the tank at the end of each set, so that you have room to improve. If you are grinding on week 1 you will pleateau sooner.

We supplemented Nick’s deadlifts with the following core and glute exercises:

Front rack carry:

Farmers Carries:

Kettlebell windmill:

Single leg deadlift:

Ring Fallout:

For the exact programming we used for our supplemental exercises sign up for our Strength Shed newsletter below, and instantly receive our Strength Shed:Volume 2 Ebook with Nick’s full 5 week lower body training day cycle .

As a bonus you will also receive our Strength Shed:Volume 1 Ebook which contains some of Nick’s earlier training as well as a program used by our successful Mountain Biking Athlete David.


If you have any questions about the program comment below or send me an email at [email protected]

Nick Mudaliar (Strength Shed Head Coach)

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