Mike's Road To The 600# DL Training Blog
As you may or may not know, I have been competing in powerlifting since 1987. The comes to over 150 times on the competition platform beating up my body. I competed in single-ply equipped 99% of the time and have done 3 raw meets.  This coming May I will turn 60 and for about a year now I have been thinking about a goal to deadlift 600+ when I am 60. Single Ply gear of course. I will compete in the USPA DT nationals in late June in Las Vegas and plan to enter the 242lb class in push-pull. In 2014 I had a total left shoulder replacement so my benching is well below par. I will try to use a bench shirt at this meet but have not had one on since 2004.  I decided to post my training week to week up to this competition for all those masters lifters out there. I have a qualifier meet in late March in Farmington, NM. I just need to get a lift in to qualify but you know the head always gets in the way and says well how much can you lift since you are here? 
My training has changed so much in just the last 6-7 years. Once you hit that 50-year-old mark the body just doesn't recover or handle the volume anymore. Training will be 3 days a week with one of the big lifts on each day with 3-4 assistance exercises. I generally stick with the same workout for 3 weeks and then rotate exercises so that I cannot master any assistance exercises and keep my body adapting. I cannot use a regular squat bar anymore so all my squats will be done with a Kabuki transformer bar to a box set just above parallel and just below my hip height for the start of my sumo deadlift. I will implement training gear a few weeks in and stagger the use of it until the meet. Too many weeks in it just tear my body up. I will start with a Spud squat buddy for DL assistance and then progress to Spud gateway briefs and then into a Titan Velocity deadlift suit. I will add the use of a belt along the way but hold off as long as I can. I will start using the Titan Super Ram for bench press about 10 weeks out and get into a low-cut collar Super Katana about 6 weeks out from the meet. All of this is subject to change depending on what my joints tell me.
Starting body weight 257lbs

Jan 1st 2024
Sumo DL no belt with Texas DL bar 5x5 @365lb effort 7/10
Suspended good morning 4x6, belt buckle height. 135,155,175,175 effort 6/10
Bent over rows 4x6, 155,165,165,165 effort 6/10
Standing Cable curls 6x10 45 all sets effort 6/10
Core, Band rotational twist, hips stable 4x8 effort 7/10
Thoughts: Easy workout, can’t push too hard too soon at my age and battered body stage. 

Jan 3rd 2024
Regular grip Bench Press 5x5 185,195,205,215,215 effort 8/10
Rack lockout, 3-4 inch ROM to a max triple 315  effort 10/10
Flat DB press 4x8 75,75,75,75 effort 7/10
Cambered bar skull Crusher 4x8 25# all sets, Still trying to find a good grip for my shoulders
Cambered bar pushdowns 4x8 45,45,45,45 effort 6/10
Thoughts: My head is still limiting me on the bench. All I think about is the tiny part of steel and plastic holding my shoulder together. Need to push past that.

Jan 5th 2024
High box squat 5x5 315,345,365,365 effort 7/10
Belt Squat 4x8 315,315,315,315 effort 7/10
V Handle Pulldown 4x8 115,115,115,115 effort 6/10
Back Raises 3x8 just bodyweight effort 5/10
Core, ball rotations 45 sec x 4 effort 7/10
Thoughts: I have always loved squats. It was my best lift in the past and it is still hard not being able to get under a regular bar. Thankfully I have a transformer bar that can get me as close to the feel of a regular bar as possible. I have been cutting out all the junk food and extra food this week to get my weight down to 245 to train for the meet. I have never done well with the big weight drop the 10 days before the meet. I like to taper down, and I don’t feel deprived. The joints feel ok so far. I will duplicate this last week's workout next week but up the weight somewhat. I cannot say what percentage to raise the weights. It is just a feeling. I want to get a good muscle and lung workout but don’t want to leave the gym exhausted. It just takes too long to recover these days. It is better to leave a rep or two in the tank than wish I should not have tried the extra reps or weight.

Jan 8th, 2024, BWT 250
Sumo DL no belt with Texas DL bar 5x5 385 all sets, effort 7/10
Suspended good morning 4x6, belt buckle height. 185,205,225,225 effort 7/10
Bent over rows 4x6, 155,175,175,185 effort 7/10
Standing Cable curls 6x10 35,40,45,50 effort 7/10
Core, Band rotational twist, hips stable 4x8 complete effort 7/10
Thoughts: I widened my DL stance about 4 inches and it came off the floor smoother. Still, no belt was used, good morning felt much easier, concentrating on flexing the entire mid-section before each rep. On bent-over rows, I have a hard time not just loading it up and cheat repping the sets. 

Jan 10th 2024
Regular grip Bench Press 5x5 185,200,210,220,225 effort 9/10
Rack lockout, 3-4 inch ROM to a max triple 325 effort 10/10 
Flat DB press 4x8 70,75,80,80 effort 8/10
Cambered bar skull Crusher 4x8 85 all sets effort 8/10
Cambered bar pushdowns 4x8 50 all sets effort 6/10
Bench felt a little better today, I was able to sustain and drive through the reps. I held the rack lockout for a 3 count at the top to get my hands used to the weight again. I think I finally found a comfortable grip for skull crushers on the cambered bar.  Well, at least this week it seemed better. 

Jan 12th 2024
High box squat 5x5 315,365,365,385,405 effort 8/10
Belt Squat 4x8 315,365,390,390 effort 7/10
V Handle Pulldown 4x8 115,140,140,140 effort 7/10
Back Raises 3x8 30#KB effort 5/10
Core, ball rotations 30 sec x 4 effort 6/10
It felt nice to have 405 on my back, Squats felt great, but still no belt was used. Belt squats also were nice and smooth, My Shoulders felt lubed up today, so I was able to increase the pulldowns.  Next week will be the 3rd week of this routine and after that, I will start a new 3-week block. It is hard not to load the weight on the bar. When the effort level is 7/10 or less than in my 20-year-old brain it means I am not working hard enough but my 59-year-old body will thank me the next day.

Jan 15th, 2024, BWT 247
Sumo DL no belt with Texas DL bar 5x5 405 all sets, effort 8/10
Suspended good morning 4x6, belt buckle height. 205,235,255,275 effort 7/10
Bent over rows 4x6, 175,185,19,195 effort 8/10
Standing Cable curls 6x10 45,45,45,45, effort 8/10
Core, Band rotational twist, hips stable 4x8 complete effort 7/10
Wrist Curls, DB’s 30# 4x10
The deadlift is feeling much better now with the Texas bar. I had been training the last year or so with the Kabuki DL bar and the Texas bar took some getting used to. Suspended good mornings seemed to be much easier today. I added some wrist curls as I feel my forearm strength is lacking. My grip is fine but strengthening my forearms will only improve the feel on the bench. Overall, everything is progressing nicely and most importantly the old injuries are not knocking on the door.

Jan 17th, 2024 
Regular grip Bench Press 5x5 185,205,215,225,230 effort 9/10
Rack lockout, 3-4 inch ROM to a max triple 325  effort 10/10 
Flat DB press 4x8 effort 80 all sets 7/10
Cambered bar skull Crusher 4x8   80 all sets effort 8/10
Cambered bar pushdowns 4x8  90 all sets effort 7/10
I am very happy that 3 weeks in a row by bench press increased as did my assistance. My shoulders are still feeling good. I do feel it in my wrists though. A little arthritis in both from the loads. I am holding the rack lockouts for a 3 count at lockout for the tension in the arms. Since I cut the junk and processed foods from my diet, I still have energy at the end of the workout. 

Jan 19th, 2024
High box squat 5x5 365,385,405,405,425 effort 8/10
Belt Squat 4x8 315,365,390,390 effort 8/10
V Handle Pulldown 4x8 140,140,140,140 effort 8/10
DB wrist curls, 35# 4x10 per hand
Core, ball rotations 30 sec x 4 effort 6/10
Felt a little hip flexor tweak on my last set of squats. Just a twinge. We will see how it is tomorrow. Overall, I liked the weight on my back for squats. All the other exercises went well.  I will change it all up for the next 3 weeks starting Monday. I am still working on the program. I may add a belt on the last set or two of squats and deadlifts in the upcoming weeks. My energy level is still great since cutting processed food from my diet. I am not monitoring anything other than keeping the junk out of my body. I will start monitoring protein intake starting this coming week. I want to keep my body weight at about 242-245 for all the weeks leading into the meets. 

Jan 22nd, 2024 BWT 249.5
Block DL 5x5 5 inch with Brahma belt. belt 505 all sets effort 8/10
RDL 4x6 225,225,225,225 effort 7/10
DB rows 4x8 80,80,80,80 effort 6/10
Curls cambered bar 4x10 75,75,75,75 effort 6/10
Ab slings 3x10 10,10,10  effort 7/10
Wrist curls DB 4x8 35# Db’s effort 6 of 10
 The block pulls put me at a weird and awkward height which is good. I used my Brahma multi-function lever belt for all the block pulls. I felt all 5 sets in my upper back. You can see a video here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huV-HnaNEFw .  I took RDL’s a little easy as for some reason I could feel the hip flexor strain a little bit on them but not the block pulls. I just absolutely hate DB rows. Someone said a long time ago that if you hate that lift it is because you are weak at it. This is the only reason I do them. This week's workout is going to be compressed because I take off to Powerlifting America Bench Nationals to set up a booth for Lifting Large. Overall, the workout went well.

Jan 24th, 2024
Titan Super Ram BP 5x5. 275,255,275,275,285x4 effort 10/10
2 board press 4x6, tempo 0-2-0 225,235,235,235 effort 9/10
Bar push-ups 4x10 10,10,10,10 effort 9/10
Palms up pushdown 4x8 35,45,45,55, effort 7/10
Plate raises 4x8 35,35,35,35 effort 6/10
Parallel Box squat 5x5, hip flexor hurt, not done
Power good mornings 4x5, hip flexor hurt, not done
Wide Pulldowns 4x8 150,150,150,150 effort 8/10
Ab wheel rollout 4x8 effort 9/10
DB iso curls 3x8 45,45,45 effort 7/10
I tried to jam 2 workouts together as I am leaving on the 25th for Austin to set a booth up at Powerlifting American equipped and unequipped bench nationals. Bench press with the super ram and the boars kicked my butt. My hands to my lats were just toast after I was done. I am not used to carrying that much weight in my hands. The only thing to fix that is to keep putting that load on my arms and shoulders. Board Presses were done with a tempo. Palms up push downs seem to put less stress on my shoulders. My hip flexor is still bugging me a bit from last week so I squashed the squats. I will be more rested to pull on Monday of next week. Sitting in the truck for 11+ hours each way to Austin and back won’t help any though. It will be great to see equipped benchers again at a meet. So off to the hot tub and some massage gun therapy. 

Jan 29th, 2024
I drove the rest of the way back from Austin this morning (8hrs). I knew going in that it would not be the best workout but it needed done. I did a lot of thinking about my training program during the 23 hours of driving over the last few days. I think I am going to switch over to a slightly modified conjugate method of training up until the qualifier meet in March and see how it goes. If it does not work then I will go back to what I was doing.
Block DL 5x5 5 inch  high with Brahma belt to max 3 reps, 535 effort 10/10
2 inch deficit conventional DL, no belt to max 3 reps, 405 effort 9/10
Wide pulldowns 4x8, 145 all sets effort 6/10
Wrist curls with DB’s 40# 4x8
I was just mentally done after this. All the driving just tired me out. I did not weigh myself after eating out for 4 days to and from the meet. It would be too depressing. LOL. There is a Powerlifting American meet during the state fair here in September and I may do that meet. I am working on getting Teale to bench and deadlift at it also. 

Jan 31st, 2024
ME day
Titan Super Ram BP up to max 3. 295lb effort 10/10
2 board (benchblokz)press up to a max 3 275lb effort 10/10
Bar push ups 4x10 10,10,10,10 effort 7/10
Palms up pushdown 4x8 40,50,50,50 effort 7/10
Plate raises 4x8 40,40,40,40 effort 6/10
Wrist curls on belt squat machine 20# 4x10 effort 8/10
150lb gripper 4 sets of 10 effort 7/10
My wrists took a beating during this workout. I had a lot more weight in my hands than normally while working up to my max triples. Only wore wrist wraps on the last 2 sets of board presses. My weights are going up and I am feeling a little better with my shoulder stability. In 2 days, I will have a dynamic day so the loads will lessen until next week. Teale has decided to lift with me at the Powerlifting America meet in September. It is outdoors in the evening during the fair. She may bench and deadlift as they are on separate days. I plan to do the same. We will both be single-ply. One of our gym members may also join in. Training always goes better in a group when we all have the same goals. Off to get protein now and rest until Friday.

Feb 2nd, 2024
DE Day
KB swings 4x10 with 60#
Parallel box squat with KB 1 Bands  8x3 with 30 sec rest 225# bar weight about 75lbs of band tension
Conventional DL 8x3 w/ 30 sec rest 225# bar weight, Band tension about 75lbs
Pull-thrus 4x8 65,90,90,90 effort 7/10
Seated row with the Spud pulley Set up 4x10 super strict 120,120,120,120 effort 7/10
Ab Wheel roll out to 75% extension 4x8
Wrist Curls on belt squat 4x10 45lbs 8/10
Squats and deadlifts were not heavy as they were not supposed to be. I tried to generate as much speed in the concentric part. I will admit the entire set of squats and DL winded me pretty good with only 30 seconds of rest between sets. Pull thrus really gave me a stretch. I really concentrated on using the glutes to pull through. I am sure This will be evident in the next day or two when sitting down or getting up ??
I really like doing seated rows very strict. It just allows me to completely focus on my lats. Ab wheel rollouts are a great core exercise but my jacked-up shoulders only allow me to roll out about 75% of the way. I do a slight pause at the extension before coming back in. It was a good quick workout, felt good to get the blood moving. No old injuries have reared their heads yet. Finger Crossed!

Feb 5th 2024 BWT 249
High box squat, max 3 with spud squat buddy top set 515
Sumo DL , blocks  max 3, 10 inches top set 485
barbell rows 4x8 185,195,195,195 effort 8/10
curls 4x8 incline DB's 30’s all sets effort 7/10
ball roll 4x 20 sec effort 7/10
Wow, this is the first time in close to 10 years that I have 500+ on my back. It charged me up a bit. The walkouts didn’t feel steady but the actual squat felt great. I used my belt and added the Spud squat buddy at around 475lbs. It is like a slingshot for your hips. Not a huge amount of support, more tightness and confidence. I was expecting a little more of the deadlift for my max triple but it just wasn’t going to happen. Wore my belt only. By the time I got to barbell rows my low back was very tired. Rows were a little harder than expected, No strap or belt was used. I just throw in curls to keep the bicep tendons working. Years ago I had a lot of problems with them. I didn’t do any curls for the first 10 years of powerlifting I believe. Off to the hot tub now to try and recover a little before max effort bench in 2 days.

Feb 7th, 2024
ME day
Titan Super Ram BP up to max 3. 305lb effort 10/10
2 board (benchblokz)press up to a max 3 285lb effort 10/10
Bar push ups 4x10 10,10,10,10 effort 7/10
Palms up pushdown 4x8 5,55,60,60 effort 8/10
Plate raises 4x8 45,45,45,45,effort 7/10
I added 10 pounds on my max 3 rep from last week and a 10lb increase on my 3 board max. Bar push-ups stayed the same. I added a little on my pushdown and 5 pounds on my plate raises. It was a good workout until the final rep on my plate raises. I felt a super sharp pain in my right shoulder on the downward part. This is not my shoulder that has been replaced it is my other shoulder that needs to be replaced. I of course stopped. Iced it a couple of times in the evening along with some nasaids. I did not sleep at all that night. The shoulder was just in constant pain radiating into my thumb. The next morning the pain had subsided a little. All the pain is in external rotation. I added to diclofenac for the pain and inflammation and will ice several times a day for a few days. 

Feb 9th, 2024
DE Day
KB swings 4x10 with 
Parallel box squat 80lbs of chain hooked up twit the Spud Looper Straps 8x3 with 30 sec rest 225# bar weight 
Sumo deadlift 8x3 with 30 seconds rest, 60lbs of chain.
Pull Thrus 4x8 75,85,85,85 effort 8/10  Video link: https://youtube.com/shorts/nU7KhYLMG0E?feature=share
Shoulder retraction with KB3 bands 4x12 effort 6/10
Incline sit-up 4x10. Effort 6/10
My shoulder is 75% better after the problem on Wednesday. I have iced it a few times a day and did ROM rehab on it. I was not able to do any lat work as anything that extended my arm in front of me caused some stress on the shoulder. I added some chains into my speed sets today. I felt like I had good speed off the box and good acceleration on pulls. Off to the hot tub

Feb 12th, 2024
ME deadlift bwt 252
Sumo DL w/belt, suspended bands to max 3, Kilo band 5 max 585, using belt and spud squat buddy. See the Video here
Conventional deficit DL 1.5inch to max 3 425, no belt
Barbell rows 4x10 145
ab sling leg raises 4x10, completed
Today went better than expected as I was planning for my shoulder to hurt after last week's bench. Barbell rows were the only thing that I felt it on, so I stayed light. Suspended band deadlifts felt good. The bands deloaded the bar by 135lbs on the floor and provided no support at lockout. To help recover my shoulder  I have done rom exercises and iced it multiple times a day since last Wednesday. The massage gun also made it feel better. On bench day this week though I will have to stay very light I am sure. 

Feb 14th, 2024
ME Bench
DB press sets of 20 reps 30,35,40,45,50
DB kickbacks 4x12 35,35,35,35
Pushdowns 4x15 40,40,40,40
Wide grip curls 4x10 45,50,50,50
Still taking it easy on my right shoulder. It is doing much better but no need to test it out yet. I am icing at least twice a day and going through ROM exercises 2-3 times a day. I will give it a little test next week.

Feb 16th, 2023
DE Day
KB swing 50lb 4x10
Parallel box squat 8x3 timed, 80lb chains 245#
Sumo with 40lb chain 8x3 times 30sec 245#
good morning 4x8 185,185,185,185, effort 7/10
Db rows 4x15 35,35,35,35
Leg raises 4x12 12,12,12,12,
DB forearm curls 4x12 30,30,30,30
Squat and deadlift felt very fast today. I used the kabuki transformer bar for squats and the Texas deadlift bar. On good morning I went almost parallel to the floor with a slight pause at the bottom. I kept rows light so as to not stress my shoulder and increased the reps. Added some leg raises and forearm work to round it off. All in all the week was a plus in regards to my shoulder recovery. 


Elaine Waugh

Date 1/27/2024


Date 2/1/2024

Gary Gilpin

Date 2/16/2024

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