In week four of my transformation, my trainer Pieter Vodden has me trying to set a new one-rep max in the deadlift. When we started out, one thing that became quickly apparent was that my deadlift form was terrible. In fact, in the past I’d injured my back four or five times trying to get above 150kg.
After analysing it in the first week, Vodden established that the main problem was that the bar wasn’t close enough to my body as I lifted. That was causing me to round my back as I pulled it off the ground. This in turn meant that not only was I at serious risk of lower body injury, I was using the wrong muscles to perform each lift – I should have been using my glutes and hamstrings rather than my lower back. Ultimately this was limiting what I was naturally capable of achieving.
After some early adjustments, Vodden quickly got me up to 170kg. So what could I achieve four weeks into the plan with a shedload of additional technique work – and after a month of following a 5,000-calorie diet? Watch the video to find out.
Oh, and stay tuned to watch me wreck myself on the rowing machine while trying to row 500m in the fastest time possible. There can't be many more vicious finishers to a session. Give it a try at the end of your next workout and see if you can beat my time.
A quick note on how my body composition had changed over four weeks: I had already put on 7kg and found I had love handles for the first time in my life. Although that was a bit disconcerting, Vodden made it clear that I needed the extra mass to go heavier and harder in training, which would ultimately help me pack on more muscle. He also assured me that as soon as I started the ‘leaning’ phase, the fat would slide off. I tried to believe him.
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Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.