I was working with Candace today as she started her Acclimation Block in preparation for the WPO’s in November and we were discussing some issues she was having with her Deadlift.


Now let me preface by saying that her deadlift is pretty fucking good.


She is in the 132’s and pulls over 400.


She wants to be better.  Don’t we all.




Candace felt that her start position was off and it was.   Not by much, but it could get better. It was pretty good on her first rep, but it showed on 3,4 and 5.


I explained to her that the Acclimation block was designed to do a few things:

  • Get her accustomed to the amount and type of work and volume we will be doing
  • Show me where she needs work
  • Reveal faults in her lifts through fatigue rather than max effort 

A light went off in her head, because she was not happy with faults showing up at lower percentages. I explained that the fatigue induces the faults, just as max effort does, this is just easier on the body.


On a few reps she did some touch and go deadlifts, which I am not a fan of except in limited situations, such as a hypertrophy block.


One reason I don’t care for Touch and go is that it can reinforce shitty positions for the sake of reps.

It can also be used to boost your ego by getting more reps.


I suggested that we increase the difficulty of the work sets by stopping the touch and go and setting up as if doing 5 singles instead of a set of 5.

Practice Practice PRactice Candace Puopolo Murph

To explain:

If you are doing as set of 3,4,5 or whatever, execute your first deadlift and then set the bar down.   Re-order yourself and perform another and then continue on for the indicated reps.


This does a few things:

  • It increases the difficulty or RPE if you use that by inducing more fatigue
  • The increased difficulty will reveal a fault or weakness in your lift-which is good
  • It gives you more chances to perfect your set up and execution
  • It leads to Unconscious Competence on the lift

We want unconscious competence on the platform.


You are autonomous.


You have mastery of the lift.


You are not thinking about what to do.


This is what we all need to strive for.   I told a story as we Irish are wont to do.


I related it to firearms training.


In firearms training having unconscious competence is desired as you and those around any incident will be in far less danger with mastery of your actions.


I demonstrated a drawstoke and explained that your draw needs to be unconscious.


Training guidelines for law enforcement murph tps

  • Left hand goes to the chest, right hand to the weapon
  • Draw the weapon, left hand comes up under the muzzle (not anywhere near in front of it)
  • Weapon is presented to firing position and the front sight is acquired
  • Scan, identify, predict, decide, execute your action
  • Shoot/Don’t shoot
  • Bring weapon back to ready/guard position
  • Re-holster (without looking) if required or present weapon to firing position again until threat is secured 

I was explaining I was demonstrating.


I think the demonstration and explaining while moving without thinking about what I was doing made it clear.


How does shooting relate to lifting?


Unconscious competence or mastery of what you are doing is required to be your best.


Imagine that you were required to draw a weapon and you were messing around with the holster, fumbling with the draw, shaking, and not having control all while thinking about what you were supposed to be doing?


I will suggest that the bad guy will get you, or that you or someone innocent will get injured or killed.   Your lifting may not result in death if you are not sure of what to do and need to think about it but you sure as shit will not hit a PR.

If you Practice, Practice, Practice your set up and execution of a set up and lift you will be on auto pilot when the chips are down.

So, as we progressed in her training, her last two sets were almost 100% consistent from rep to rep and they all looked VERY good.


This was done by stopping the touch and go pulls and treating the set as 5 singles.

  • 5 chances to practice her set up and execution.
  • 5 chances each set to get better.
  • This works for all of the lifts, not just the deadlift.

Give it a shot.


Do everything with purpose and intent.


Pretty soon, you’ll see that you don’t need to think about what you are doing.


You’ll have unconscious competence.


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Vincere vel mori Total Performance Sports

By: C.J. Murphy

June 29, 2018