Deadlift Challenge

I decided to deadlift 500 lbs every hour for twenty-four hours. I decided to do it every time the clock strikes zero on the hour. So every single hour. I used two 100 lbs plates on each end of the bar, a 45 lbs bar, a 25 lbs plate on each side, and a 2 ½ lbs plate on each side. I also used straps because I didn’t want to risk blowing out a bicep or blowing out my thumb hook gripping. I also just like using straps when I deadlift.

Every single hour I will hit a 500 lbs deadlift and ultimately I get to see how I feel the next day. I woke up around 5 AM. The plan is to take little mini-naps throughout the day. I also want to track what my sleep looks like on my Fitbit.

51 minutes left

I used my timer on my phone. I had it rolling every single hour in conjunction with the clock. The timer will annoy the hell out of me. I assume by 16 or 17 hours I’ll want to throw my phone into the wall. I had a clock set as well to keep things on point that I’d for sure be smashing 500 lbs deadlift every hour on the hours.


I couldn’t help but get nervous while doing this. I hit my first deadlift at 6 PM. Took lift number two at 7 PM. I strapped in with thirty seconds left before the hour chimed. I just sat there imagining how happy I would be on the other side after lifting it.

deadlift challenge

After the second lift, I packed up my weights and went home. I wanted to make sure I saw the kids before they went to bed that night. That meant doing the 8 PM and 9 PM lifts at the house, maybe even the 10 PM lifts.


It also meant not screaming and hollering like a meathead.

At Home

I set up outside on my porch. I had to whisper while recording. The barbell and weight were right next to a stack o firewood. I also had random bits of cabbage on the back porch.


With my son, Lincoln, looking at me from the back screen door, I smashed the 8 PM attempt. I had to make sure to set the bar down lightly. Didn’t want the barbell smashing through the porch. This led to being at home with all the kids home, the wife home, and dinner on the stovetop. We ate giant some giant pork butt.


My son, Sanderson, asked me, “Are you going to deadlift all night?” followed by a prediction about me lifting all the way until tomorrow afternoon.


Then in bare feet with the cat creeping around my feet, I slew the 9 PM attempt. My wonderful wife, Caitlyn, filmed from the back angle. Again, I had to lower the weight slowly so that our old Sears and Roebuck house didn’t fall apart.

Just Like Labor

My wife told me, “Dane, it’s just like labor. Take it hour by hour, there is an end in sight. The only difference is you don’t get a baby at the end. You get a YouTube video.”

A little weird crept into my brain so I did some tummy, up, tummy, toes to warm up. Everything was cool. This time with shoes on, I hammered the 10 PM pull. I got a, “Woah!” in a whisper from my wife outside supporting me. She’s great. I think she might have been slightly sarcastic as well upon reviewing the video.


This lift felt heavier.

Back At The Gym

I headed back to the gym. At the gym, I set up my weights. I decided to pull the weight at 11 PM and then set up the futon. I had a blanket and pillow. I used the jerk boxes as the headboard. As guessed, I smacked the 11 PM pull.


I decided I wanted to try and get 30 to 40 minutes of sleep before the midnight pull. I turned all the lights out in the gym and went dark. The only light shining through came from the digital clock.


The thing is I stretched that nap. I technically took the midnight pull seven seconds early according to my digital clock, but that clock isn’t on a global timer. My phone signaled it was midnight.


I started stretching the sleep time right up to the hour after that. I smashed the 8th pull at 1 AM. At this point, I was really tired. My alarm would go off and I just wanted to keep sleeping. This made me believe the next four attempts would be brutal. Hit 2 AM. Crushed 3 AM.


But at 3 AM I felt zonked. I was dead tired, exhausted, and my back hurt from sleeping on the futon. I just wanted to sleep for another four hours. Knowing that the sun would rise around 6:45 AM gave me hope. Because I was getting weary and really, really tired. My pulls started getting slow as well round this time.

Anyway, I nailed the 4 AM and 5 AM lifts. LIfts eleven and twelve, signaling the halfway point. I decimated the 6 AM lift as well.

Day Two

Jason woke me up. He leads me through the morning and the rest of the day. He also made me go outside to try and catch the sunrise.


It is amazing how tired you get waking up every hour.

Anyway, outside, tired as hell, needing more sleep before drinking my coffee, I worried about how stiff the bar was for the 7 AM pull. Anyway, I pulled it like a sled a dog going about their daily business.


At this point, I realized this was way harder than I anticipated. Balancing waking up, deadlifting as quickly as possible, then trying to get back to sleep as quickly as possible, and then doing it again, five times, while at the moment being like, “I could sleep for five more hours.”

8 AM I packed up camp, deadlifted outside, then headed to the office to get some caffeine and breakfast.


I had people DM’ing me on Instagram saying, “That’s not that hard.” Initially, I agreed with them. Then when I got into it, I realize I and them were completely wrong. Outside the horrible fatigue, my hands killed me even using straps.

Working

My whole goal now was to get as much sunlight as possible to get my body tuned in with the natural pattern it is used to being on. Then I needed to eat some oatmeal and protein. I also had to work. We had a meeting scheduled that day.


I also had plenty of time to talk shit to my employees like Mason.


My favorite breakfast of oatmeal (I really like fiber) and Earth Fed Muscle Whey Back protein helped get me energy. Which I needed bad. I was mentally fatigued. I needed to muster up energy because I had a lot of stuff to do for the business.


The sun hitting my eyes helped. Made me hopeful that 500 lbs didn’t feel like 900 lbs during the next pull. I also started to use a massage gun to work out some tightness in my hamstrings and lower back.


After crying about my poor hands, I pulled the 9 AM deadlift like a boss.


Now it was about seeing how I could manage my day working and coaching. I decided to just scream at all the employees to keep my rage level up.

In The Business Meeting

I took lift #17, the 10 AM deadlift while talking and leading the meeting. I yelled, “MASON!!!” at the top of the pull. I once again had to slowly lower the bar to set it down since I was upstairs in the office.


My head hurt.

Coaching The Throwers

At 11 AM, outside coaching Sam Mattis throwing his disc, I took the 18th pull. Sam came over and deadlift 500 lbs cold. I warned him not to hurt himself. His hand went immediately to his back. I think he was playing with me.


At noon I took lift 19. My hands hurt. My soul hurt. My back hurt. My hamstrings were really sore. But everyone needs to know that victorious warriors win first then go to battle. I got really lightheaded on this pull.

Back Inside

1 PM I took the 20th deadlift. I felt good with no pains anywhere at this time. Not really, but at least that is what I was saying. My mental spirit picked up mainly because I just started making delirious jokes, talking shit. At 2 PM I took the 21st deadlift and once again emerged victorious.


One thing I used to recover inbetween attempts was my Mebak massage gun. The message gun is really light and easy to use. It has multiple attachments and travels well. Check it out.

Three More To Go

I couldn’t count. Lift 22 took place at 3 PM. Rep 23 I took at 4 PM. My back was smashed. Fortunately, I had just eaten a bunch of chicken, Indian flavored, and found power from eating samosas. I was also pretty excited to go home and sleep.

Recap

With one left, I found doing reverse hypers a couple of times when my back started stiffing up, using the Mebak massage gun, making sure I did some cossack squats and split squats to keep my hips loose, and making sure I ate decently. Also, getting naps in the middle of the night, pulling, and going right to bed let me get into a groove. I figured out that I didn’t need warm-ups if I kept the bar really tight off the floor. Technique matters!!!


A lot of good lessons here. It all comes back to mobility, technique, and getting sleep. The crazy thing is that Fitbit did not recognize any of my naps as sleep periods. Probably because I was so stressed.


Then with a crowd at 5 PM, I crossed the finish line and pulled 500 lbs for the 24th time.


DANE MILLER

Dane Miller is the owner and founder of Garage Strength Sports Performance. He works with a select handful of clients on building comprehensive programs for fitness and nutrition. Several times a year he leads a workshop for coaches, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts.

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