Advice On Powerlifting Only Once Weekly

Honestly - Thank you very much for a very detailed, and even more interesting reply! Leaves no room for further questions re negatives.

If I’m allowed to ask any further questions re my powerlifting attempt - I’m curious whether strength in trapbar deadlifts is transferrable to regular barbell deadlifts? What is your opinion?

Transferance is a complex topic.

Obviously, the closer a movement is to another from a technical standpoint the more likely the gains in strength in one will also happen on the second one even with minimal training.

However, I find the capacity to transfer strength gains from one exercise to another varies widely from one individual to the next. Some people have neurological advantages when it comes to being able to transfer gains. Acetylcholine levels as well as overall motor pattern learned plays a big role.

That’s why you have people who can get a strength transfer from exercises with very little in common when it comes to their dynamic structure (e.g. from a leg press to a back squat or even from a triceps pressdown to a bench press) while others get minimal transfer even between two very similar exercises…

Another aspect to consider is whether a movement targets a weak link in your main lift or not.

For example, the trap bar deadlift is easier on the lower back than a traditional deadlift and thus strengthens the lower back less. But it involves the quads more.

If your weak point in the deadlift is your quads, then you will get a positive transfer from the trap bar deadlift, but if your quads are your dominant muscle and the lower back is a limiting factor, it will not improve your traditional deadlift.

Personally, I have short legs and a long torso. As such, I’m quads-dominant and my long torso makes my mid-section the biggest problem area in a deadlift. I do not get much, if any transfer from a trap bar deadlift to a regular deadlift.

I once gained 80lbs on my trap bar deadlift and my traditional deadlift actually went down. BUT, if my RDL or Goodmorning goes up, my deadlift goes up equally.


Thanks coach!

It sounds more like my squat will improve from trapbar deadlifts then (which in itself is not too bad).

As my lower back is my limiting factor in regular deadlifts (due to stiffness after a herniated disc 10 years ago) - I should be better off doing RDL’s instead.

Also, I guess it’s a matter of finding a personalized technique in barbell deadlifts that will overcome my limitations. This can’t be something new to the lifting community, considering how common herniated discs are. Anyone have any personal experiences to share? RDL’s for the love of deadlifting?

I should admit there is a long term plan to attend a local meet in 6-9 months, just for the fun of it - as a motivational factor. That’s why I want to at least try to adress my deadlifting limitations.

And btw @Christian_Thibaudeau - A very merry christmas! I will make sure to take a more active part in your forum during 2023!

Core strength is very underrated when it comes to deadlifting.

You could add core work as a specialization during 1, maybe 2 blocks (longer than 8 weeks is no longer effective for direct abdominal strength adaptations).

Bracing is one thing but keeping your trunk in a neutral position when deadlifting is also highly dependent on your capability to contract/recruit your rectus abdominis and external/internal obliques and maintain tension in them throughout the entire movement.

You could do one specialization block for hypertrophy (higher reps, weighted and unweighted) where you train abs 3-4 times a week (train al functions like trunk flexion, rotation and stabilization) and follow it up with a strength block (weighted trunk flexion and heavy stability work like zercher walks or farmers walks for example).

Lower back rounding can be caused by poor technique, poor bracing capacity or weak quads BUT a weak core is also a major factor in back rounding.

Of course, when you’re lifting heavy ass weight (like 3 times your BW) it is normal to have some back rounding but this back rounding is controlled and highly supported by bracing and flexing the abs hard.

Having struggled with lower back issues myself I noticed that when I worked specifically on improving my core and quad strength, my deadlift improved.

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Sumo deadlifting, “real” sumo deadlifting not just doing a traditional deadlift with a wide stance might be good for you as you keep the torso more upright which puts less strain on the lower back

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It is also often from not engaging the lats. If your lats are locked in from the start, it is actually hard to round the lower back. Sweeping deadlifts are a good training execise for that.


It absolutely is. That’s why with powerlifters, in the early preparatory period we do a lot of loaded carries like Zercher carries and farmer’s walk. We also slant the assistance (and even the main exercise during the early prep period) to require more core work. For example, we will use the Zercher squat, tall kneeing overhead press, thick bar deadlifting. (which shifts the combined center of mass forward a few inches, making it more challenging for the core). We also do a good amount of hanging band work on squats.

My head coach Tom Sheppard is coming up with a “core of steel” program for Thibarmy which slants everything toward more core challenge.

He also wrote an article for T-nation on variations of the main lifts that challenge the core more,

I’m an n of 1, but I did these as my deadlift variation for several months after you wrote about it a couple years ago. It was a huge difference maker for me in two regards:

  1. My deadlift form got a little more “automatic,” so I didn’t feel like I had breakdowns as I got to heavier sets.
  2. I actually felt like I was able to get some lat pump out of a deadlift from a floor, where previously that was all lower back and I had to pull from a rack to feel like my lats got anything. Magic!
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Thanks for sharing this info, I’ll put it to good use!

if we can know what future plans Tom, Naomi or you are planning to release for ThibArmy?

maybe something to specialize in? For the big three?

I recently purchased the Naomi Beauty/Best plan for my beloved and the way her figure changes and gains strength is amazing and only the first block is behind her

Merry Christmas Coach and thank you for your and your team’s work!

The next plan will be a strength-based plan with a bias toward increasing core strength as much as possible (which is what Naomi has been doing since that’s her limiting factor). But they are open to requests/suggestions.

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personally I would be very interested in specializations for example for squat, bench press etc

especially for squats because they are weak compared to my deadlift

Speaking of a long time lover of the Layer System (released 2015!), a program update for that would be cool. No other program really like it in terms of approach that I’ve found, that I could run for years and not be bored by.

The Layer system?