Burpees/ Deadlifts: Mental Strength Training Series
Burpees and Deadlifts
The deadlift has got to be one of the toughest exercises you can do. In fact, it IS the most brutal movement when it comes to overall muscular and neural fatigue. No other exercise lets you move as much weight, and pretty much any good deadlift session will leave you feeling like you got hit by a MAC truck in the morning. Yep, throw deadlifts into training session, and you’ve got just about the hardest workout possible – right? Wrong!
Deadlifts are a real man-maker in the weight room, but the simple burpee rules the world of bodyweight conditioning. A heavy set of deads may leave you dizzy and exhausted, but high-rep burpees will make you BREATHLESS. So, how can you combine these exercises into one tough-as-nails workout? Superset them of course!
If you’ve got a few screws loose and have been looking for a balls-out strength and conditioning workout, then keep reading. But be warned – this session will knock you on your ass if you’re not prepared, and you’ve got to take every possible precaution against injury. Proceed with caution…
There are a few other combinations of burpees and deadlifts out there, but most of them just aren’t that hard. They either allow you to use baby weights, or they don’t even require you to keep time and push yourself. Here’s how you really combine these brutal movements…
First, set up a bar with roughly fifty percent of your deadlift max. Make sure you adjust accordingly if that’s too light or too heavy. If your deadlift sucks, you may be able to use a higher percentage. If you’re a beast at ripping weights off the floor, then you may need to use a smaller load for conditioning purposes.
Next, set up some kind of bench nearby. You can just set up the deadlift bar next to a bench press, but it’s best if you can use one of the extra benches in the gym. You’ll already be getting stares because of the workout – you don’t want to piss the staff off by hogging more equipment than you need.
Once everything’s in place, you’re going to start with ten reps on the deadlift. Immediately afterwards, do 10 burpees. Right after that, do 10 leg raises on the bench. You’ll need to lie on it with your butt hanging off the edge, hands grasping the back so you don’t fall off. Repeat this series for five total rounds with as little rest as humanly possible. That may not sound too hard, but trust me – you’ll be wishing you were done before the second round is through.
If that ever gets too easy, you can actually make it harder by taking the leg raises out of the workout altogether. What you’ll probably find is that the abs work seems like a break in between the panting sets of deadlifts and burpees. Take it out, and you’ve got to go between the harder exercises that much quicker.
This can’t be stressed enough – you have got to be safe with this workout. The deadlift is one of the best movements for strength, muscle mass, and overall conditioning, but it can also wreck your lower back if you’re not careful. Make absolutely sure you keep your lower back arched on every rep, even as you get fatigued. If that becomes impossible, then you simply need to lighten the load.
Also, you’ll probably want to use straps. The over-under grip is fantastic for allowing you to hold on to super-heavy weights, but you’re always at risk for a bicep tear. That’s especially true when you’re doing lots of reps in a fatigued state. Save the grip work for another session.
Finally, stop if you truly feel like you’re about to pass out. There’s a fine line between an awesomely hard workout and being stupid, and everyone’s got to figure it out for themselves. If you’ve been training for any decent length of time, you know where that is for you. And if you’re a beginner…well, this workout probably isn’t for you. Learn to read your body, get better deadlift technique, and try this in a couple of years.
Use it Wisely
If you give this workout an honest effort, you’ll understand why it should not be attempted frequently. It’s not something you can do all of the time, and in fact – it’s not even very effective at building maximal strength on the deadlift. What is IS good for is building mental strength – the true benefit of balls-out, crazy training. It’s damn near impossible to recover from this kind of workout all the time, but it’s a great challenge to do every once in a while. Try it out when you really want to test yourself, then go back to your normal strength and conditioning work.
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