Welcome to the DEADcember workout: Good Luck Tying Your Shoes…Meet Jim. Jim likes to lift but lacks guidance in the gym and his workout. Some days he likes to train upper body during a workout but occasionally he’ll remember to train legs if he takes an extra scoop of Beast Mode Black. He’ll track his macros during the week but on the weekends, he usually forgets as he goes out with friends and ends up smashing some nachos at a bar or getting pizza before a movie. Needless to say, Jim hasn’t really seen much progress this year and his training lacks structure. Jim needs some help on the nutritional front (click here) but also on the training side of the equation.
The Change Jim Needs…Welcome to DEADcember, Jim. This program and this workout will likely be harder than what you’re currently doing. That is, unless you’re running a Russian squat cycle like Sheiko or Smolov. Point being, this will probably require you to work harder than normal. That’s good, especially given the excessive surplus of calories which typically accompany the holiday season. As I mentioned prior to the Squatober and Swolvember program, there are 3 main caveats that you must understand before you start this workout:
- You must show up. This isn’t debatable.
- Effort is not optional.
- Stick to the plan. You can back off if need be, but adding more is not necessary or ideal.
Just One More ThingBefore we dive headfirst into training, let’s get one thing straight: the conventional deadlift is not a universal movement. Everyone should be able to hinge through their hips without excessive movement in their spine. But that doesn’t necessitate the use of a conventional deadlift. Given we’re going to be doing quite a bit of deadlifting through December, this program may require some specific modifications given the contextual nature of your injury history, current movement limitations, and training experience. Here’s a few things to keep in mind if you’ve had back issues in the past or find that conventional deadlifts bother your back when coupled with high volume:
Trap Bar Deadlift
- If you’re new to training, stick with the trap bar. It's easy to learn, somewhat foolproof, and it’s easier to maintain a better starting position without any coaching.
- Great option for those with shoulder issues. The difference in hand position (neutral vs. pronated) helps to alter positioning of the shoulder.
- Shifts the load around the body as opposed to placing it directly in front of the body. This tends to reduce strain on the low back.
- Great option for lifters with long legs, short torsos, or short arms.
- How do you know if that’s you? Try it and see how it looks and feels. You’ll know.
- If not, feel free to shoot me an email or DM on Facebook/Instagram (link in my author bio). We can talk shop about your pulls.
- Allows the lifter to remain a bit more upright with their torso. That subsequently reduces sheer forces (aka strain) on the lower back.
- Good option for intermediate lifters who understand their body mechanics and have been training for a few months.
- Hardest deadlift variation to learn. But it's an excellent option for lifters with long arms, long torsos, or short legs.
- Requires high levels of mobility in the thoracic spine, ankles, and hips. It should be approached with caution if someone is new to training.
- If conventional deadlifts give you back pain off the floor, consider rack pulls or block pulls. Elevate the bar to mid shin or just below the knee. This will allow for a slightly better starting position and hopefully help to mitigate the pain given the high volume that will follow for the next 30 days.