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Ben Nadel at BFusion / BFLEX 2009 (Bloomington, Indiana) with: Simon Free
Ben Nadel at BFusion / BFLEX 2009 (Bloomington, Indiana) with: Simon Free ( @simonfree )

Project HUGE: Deadlifts At 385lbs And Natural Hamstring Raises

Published in , Comments (9)

After deadlifting 365lbs two weeks ago, I was eager to try and push myself a little harder. Today, I built up to three work sets at 385lbs. After I hit the first set, I was super tempted to jump up to 405lbs (my new years resolution weight); but, it's a good thing I didn't - my form at 385lbs definitely leaves something to be desired. In the following video, you can really see how my hips pop up (and round a bit) before the weight really even starts to move. This is forcing my back to do more of the work and putting it in a more precarious position; next time, I'll stay at this weight again, but really concentrate on driving with my legs.


(Music by Alex Beroza). Overall, the weight felt pretty good; I got a little light headed after my second set, but not too bad. I just need to work on my form.

After being at this gym for like 2 years, I finally, just today, found a good place to do natural ham raises. I had been trying to do them on the sit-up bench (face down); but that always felt awkward and painful as the foot rest dug into my heels. The space under the prepared barbell tree is just about prefect for my feet. And, it's right next to the cushy stretching area, which is perfect for my knees.


(Music by Alex Beroza). So far, I can't get any reps on my own - I always have to push myself back up. But, now that I've found a good place to do them, I'll hopefully get that strength up!

Reader Comments


It's inspiring to see you have the will power to manage your schedule to maintain a fitness regimen.

Before I worked in IT, I used to be into fitness to almost the same degree. One of my favorite exercises was the leg press where you sit on an inverted incline. It felt great to do sets of 400 plus. Several years later after having given my all to change careers to software, I went back to the gym and started building up for a couple weeks. Then I decided I'd start doing leg press again. I remember doing one set at 200, and felt it was way too light, then bumped up to 300 for a second set. Stupid me, I pushed right up to 350 or something. I can remember the very strange feeling of a pulsating ripple throughout my inner thigh as the weight was fully extended upwards. Lowering the weight back down was a challenge and I knew I had seriously torn a muscle. That day I had hopes that maybe it wasn't that bad, but the following day was excruciating. It took 2 weeks on crutches and 6 weeks total to reasonably recover.

From here on, I think I'll just watch your videos and leave the weights on the floor. :)



Holy cow, that sounds horrible! Injuries are the worst. I'm sorry to hear that it brought you to crutches.

Right now, I'm being super conscious about my right hand. It feels fine when it's palm down; but when it's palm up, it's super dodgey and can be very painful. It's been that way for a long time! I keep meaning to get a referral from my doc to see an orthopedist, but I've just been lazy about it.


Ben, my experience with dead lifts has taught me two things.

1) Heavily train all of the heavily strained insularly muscles. Wrists, high and low back, shoulders (shrugs), hams, quads, calves etc.. Not doing so will sooner or later results in a serious injury. Once you move past your current level and approach 500 lbs + all sorts of things start going wrong. My preference is very heavy weight, low reps, 5 days of rest.

2) If you want to see your dead lifts go up, start hitting the flat bench heavy. Just like squats and dead lifts heavy flat benches recruit allot of muscle fiber not normally engaged and your body responds with human growth hormone and copious amounts of testosterone. Inversely squats and dead lifts do wonders for your flat bench ;)

I'm 46 and currently deadlift 550+




You have a super beasty deadlift! I hope to be there one day.

I tried to do higher-rep squats today (10-15 reps) and my lower back was really giving out fast. It's been 3 days since my deadlifts, but I guess my lower back is still recovering from the heavy strain.

I'll try to go heavy on the bench, but right now, I'm being very cautious about my shoulder (which has been giving me issues recently).

In general, though, I'll strive for a more well-rounded routine.


Ya, shoulder issues suck. I don't know if I'm just starting to get old or just a bit wiser but I baby my shoulders and rarely try to flat bench anything that I can't get 3 sets of 3 clean presses out of (currently 365 - not a monster press but not bad).

BTW, those high rep squats are superb core training. We have a chick at our gym that squats in the low 300s once a week and does high reps low weight once a week - she has an extremely hard body and perhaps the finest ass I have ever seen.



That's an awesome bench as well. You're an all-around beast :) I've definitely been babying my shoulder big time. It actually feels a bit funny today, which I'm not happy about. But, I haven't used it in a few days, so maybe it was just stressing it during squats yesterday.

A woman squatting low 300s? What gym do you work out at? I thought my gym (Equinox) had in-shape women, but nothing like that. She sounds like she has a great.... personality :)


I workout at a place in St Augustine Fl called "Alpha Gym". It's actually a bit of a whole but its full of free weights and allot of serious people train there. Honestly, my bench is nothing compared to some of the folks there. Not to many cardio queens though we do have a BUNCH of college chicks floating around as its cheep (20 bucks a month). Super Can is a force unto herself. I've been at that gym for 10 years now and have yet to see anyone with more discipline that she has. She is very inspirational on several levels.
Speaking of monsters - man your CF is just bad to the bone. I've learned so much from browsing your posts I feel you should be getting a consulting fee ;)


Hi Ben,
Long time reader. First time commenter.

It's awesome to see the intensity with which you workout. It's good to see the stereotype of the wimpy nerd engineer being blown out of the water.

I too spend a good amount of time in the gym. It's what I do on my lunch hour. Luckily I have a gym right on my work campus.

I use to have a mean leg press and am finally getting back to a place where I feel I can start pushing myself again. Getting older has not agreed with me.

Keep up the good work.



"Super Can" :D Awesome! Sounds like a good gym.


Doesn't it feel good to be back in the gym? I've been going during my lunch hour for the past month or so; it's the first time I've ever tried to go during lunch. At first, I was worried that I would feel very rushed. But, it's actually really nice. It forces me to keep up a good pace and get a good sweat going.

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Ben Nadel