Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Housewives and Deadlifts

As promised I have been working on my bucket list. One of my goals is to be able to deadlift 200 lbs. I don’t know exactly why I want to do this, besides being able to say, “I can deadlift 200 lbs,” but I desperately want to.

My deadlifting desire may have something to do with my childhood. I was a fan of Hulk Hogan and was always trying to wrestle my dad (with moderate success, although I think he was going easy on me). My impatience might have something to do with it too. I often find myself tired of waiting for Danny to help me rearrange something or move a heavy object, so I just find my inner muscle woman and do it myself. A few months ago I helped my weakling friend Melisa rearrange her ridiculously heavy furniture in her bedroom. Melisa kept saying we had to wait for her male roommate to help us, but I knew I could move it. Melisa now likes to say that I have freakish man strength. I have also discovered that I can give Danny, a 195 lb man, a piggy back ride. Knowing that I have some inner/outer strength makes me want to make gains in both areas.

I think more than anything, I am currently submersed in a culture of fitness. Danny owns a gym. Danny is always working out (not the glamour kind either, where a guy is doing curls and looking in a mirror, I mean Danny is strong, healthy, and has endurance. He is much more than bulging biceps and a six pack). Danny doesn’t tell me I need to work out or diet, but if I say I want to he encourages me. He has definitely been a positive influence on the way I take care of myself. Anyway, I don’t want to get left behind. I know I will never be an Olympic weight lifter and I won’t run marathons. However, I can find the time to exercise three times a week with weights followed by circuit training and fill the other days with walks, bike rides, and the occasional hike.

So what is a deadlift besides something a line backer does? Here is a link on the totally reliable Wikipedia to explain it: At first glance the deadlift may look like it involves upper body strength, but it actually uses mostly leg and lower back strength. Danny tells me that as you push your hips in to bring the barbell up, the arms are more like ropes hanging from the body. Whatever you do, do not bend your arms; this is how people tear biceps. Danny is big on form. This is good; bad form is how people get hurt. Another big factor involved with deadlifting is to keep a good lumbar curve. If you don’t deadlift with a good lumbar curve, you get hurt. No need to worry about me, Danny is always coaching me up and yelling “Lumbar curve!” or “Big hips!” etc, when I’m using the big heavy weights, as he is not only a good trainer, but a good husband and doesn’t want me to get hurt.

So how does Danny plan to increase my deadlift weight? We started off by finding my current maximum deadlift. My current max is 155lbs. Although I didn’t ask for him to find my shoulder press and back squat, he decided to do this too hence the 3 times a week weight lifting. Because my deadlift numbers are more impressive, I am discussing those numbers. Danny set me up on a program called the Wendler Method. Basically every week I do a smaller percentage of my max deadlift (and shoulder press and back squat) with a prescribed number of repetitions. The program assumes that by the end of the month I increased my max deadlift by 10lbs and then recalculates my numbers with the 10 lb increase. When I get to my assumed 200lbs we will re test and see if I can do it. Danny tried this method and he was able to deadlift 455lbs. I attempted to put my Wendler Method chart on here, but I'm not that computer savvy. So you will just have to believe me.

We just got back from the Crossfit Games in Carson, CA, where Danny’s friend/co gym owner/ guinea pig tied for 4th place in the Master’s Division. “CrossFit is a fitness program based on functional movements, constantly varied, executed at high intensity. It is a highly effective method of burning fat and building muscle” ( If you want to learn more go here: The Master's Division is for men and women 50 years and better. Here is a link to Terry’s story which was on the Crossfit Games website:,639/. In one of the heats Terry had to find his max deadlift within 7 minutes. He got second place in the heat with a max deadlift of 485 lbs. The man who won that heat, deadlifted 490 lbs.

In the women’s Master’s Division a 50 something year old woman deadlifted 275 pounds. No, she did not look like a man. Danny tells me that a woman won’t look manly from weight lifting unless she takes steroids. The Crossfit Games does random tests for steroids, so far everyone has come up negative. So if I start to look manly from all my deadlifts, feel free to call Danny a liar. Coming back from my tangent, I have to say that seeing these 50 somethings women deadlift more than I can was totally inspirational. Maybe once I get to 200 lbs, I will reset my goal. Danny believes with the Windler Method I will be able to reach my goal in about 5 months.

So here I am slightly sore from yesterday’s workout, but feeling good about myself and my goals. I’m looking forward to checking off one more item on my bucket list. I may be a nurse who lifts babies that sometimes weigh 600 grams and I may be a housewife who lifts a feather light dirt devil vacuum to clean my floors, but I am so much more than these things. More than just checking off an item on my list and lifting something heavy, I am excited about living a happy, healthy, life whether that involves Danny cheering me on as I pick up something really heavy or me cheering on a 52 year old man lifting 485 lbs.


  1. You should just say you can dead lift 200 lbs and then make Danny carry you around occasionally. Anyway, I think that would be more fun.

  2. You do have a point. By the way thanks for commenting on my blogs, haha, you are the only one who thinks they are comment worthy!