Strength Consolidation For Deadlifts

Posted on 19 Dec 2010 18:25

Eric's talked about Strength Consolidation out here. Well, I just started Week 1 of this little cycle specifically engineered for my Deadlifts and I wanted to recount my experiences with Eric's protocol.

Summary of Strength Consolidation

You should read the full article out here, but I'll give a brief overview of the training nonetheless.

Original Article Link: Strength Consolidation

I am using this Consolidation Cycle specifically for my Deadlift. However, you can use this protocol for any lift which you hold as a priority or which you feel needs to be addressed in this manner.

Strength Consolidation is spanning 4 workout sessions, with each session being conducted once a week.


  1. Hip/Ankle Mobility Drills + Glute Activation, etc
  2. Warm-up sets
  3. Acclimation sets
  4. Set a Relative Max
  5. Take 90% of that Relative Max and perform 8-10 sets of 1 rep each

Week 2

  1. Hip/Ankle Mobility Drills + Glute Activation, etc
  2. Warm-up sets
  3. Acclimation sets
  4. Set the same Relative Max as you did in Week 1
  5. Take 90% of that Relative Max and perform 6-8 sets of 2 reps each

Week 3

  1. Hip/Ankle Mobility Drills + Glute Activation, etc
  2. Warm-up sets
  3. Acclimation sets
  4. Set the same Relative Max as you did in Weeks 1 and 2
  5. Take 90% of that Relative Max and perform 5-7 sets of 3 reps each

Week 4

  1. Hip/Ankle Mobility Drills + Glute Activation, etc
  2. Warm-up sets
  3. Acclimation sets
  4. Take 90% of the same Relative Max as the past 3 weeks and do 2-3 sets for multiple sets and reps. You are allowed to take the last set (either the 2nd or 3rd as per your decision) to failure.

A special note: You can find correct Hip/Ankle Mobility Drills and Glute Activation, etc out here and here.

This is what the general plan for Strength Consolidation entails. To know the why, you need to read Eric's article which I linked up top in detail because no paraphrasing on my end can do enough justice.

Weekly Experiences & Updates

My Experiences from Week 1

I just concluded Week 1's training. I have a few tips which I think others might benefit from:

  • If you are planning your session time, you have to give sufficient time per session. On Deadlift Day you are expected to just do Deadlifts. I have a 495 Relative Max and the workout took me 2-2.5 hours to complete (just the Deadlift part) so give yourself enough time.
  • On the warm-ups try to ensure your form holds up consistenly.
  • The Relative Max is important. Don't go in with a set-number but have a ball-park figure to aim for. Remember that you need to hit that weight for the next 2 workouts (or weeks) so do not try for a PR if you are not absolutely certain that you can do it again and again consistently. Being consistent is crucial.
  • Take enough rest between your sets. Eric's written an article regarding the good old 90 second rest myth which I think y'all should check out: Ninety Second Rest Periods For Strength? Are You Kidding Me?. I mention rest because what tends to happen is that you rest enough during your warm-ups and acclimation because you're invariably anticipating that heavy Relative Max. But after that, the idea of doing TEN more sets seems so disappointing you might think that resting for only a short while is enough. It's not. Not in the least bit actually, because at the heart of it, 90% of your max is still NINETY PERCENT OF YOUR MAX!
  • This goes back to the feeling of doing 10 sets. The way I've figured out how to try and maintain good form consistently is to approach the bar as if it is a "fresh" attempt each and every time. Eric has written about controlling your breathing and doing breathing exercises between sets to improve the state of "arousal". I find these articles extremely helpful.

Here is a video from Week 2:

Deadlift Consolidation Video Week 1

My Experiences from Week 2

It's Christmas Day and I just concluded Week 2's training:

  • Grip work. Gripping the bar for so many top end sets takes a real toll on my grip. If you have soft(ish) sensitive hands then you should be prepared for some painful struggle sets.
  • The doubles in this week are not that difficult but they do weaken you.
  • You still want to leave your biggest "wild card" for Week 3 so don't over-exert yourself in Weeks 1 and 2.

Here is a video from Week 2:

Deadlift Consolidation Video Week 2**


My Experiences from Week 3

It's 2nd day of the New Year and I finally managed to get to the gym. Some of my thoughts after this workout:

  • This one will take time. Remember, you have to do 5-7 triples (sets of 3 reps) after your Relative Max and this takes a LONG time. I took 2.5 hours to get done with this workout.
  • Grip work has really come into force here.
  • Don't allow your mind to play games on you.

Here is a video from Week 3:


Deadlift Consolidation Video Week 3

My Experiences from Week 4

I'm a bit late to update this and I apologize for the delay. Week 4 is a very crucial week. I'll get into the details of why later but keep in mind that this is a VERY important week. So here are some take-away points regarding this.

  • Week 4 is about doing 2-3 sets with that 90% of relative 1RM weight. The first set should be 4 reps or so and then the second (or third) can be to failure. But, you must remember to be conservative. Not everyone should attempt a failure set. And not everyone should go up to 3 sets either. Remember: that old saying "Less is More" will REALLY kick in in this week.
  • Set time aside. For the first 3 weeks you were doing a very high number of sets…in this workout you have fewer sets but more reps than in the first 3 weeks. This means that there is a high chance you'll get gassed in the first set itself. So give yourself enough breathing room between sets. Plan accordingly.

Here is a video from Week 4:

Deadlift Consolidation Video Week 4

Why Week 4 is important and where to go from here

I mentioned earlier that Week 4 is very crucial. Before I go into this, it would benefit you if you read my recent FAQ on SDT FAQ. You'll also need to read Eric's article on the very same subject: Single Double Triple Progression. I am going to assume that you have read these two articles.

Week 4 is important because this is going to be your new base week. This is when you set up your base volume and base weight. That is also why I urged you earlier to be very cautious about Week 4. Don't go about trying for 3 sets if you know you won't be able to beat that number the next time around. You also want to start off conservatively so that you get plenty of room to grow in strength before you need to come back to the base volume at a higher weight - after all: the longer you are able to progress using SDT the greater the jump in weight when you cut back to the base volume, right?

So Week 4 essentially becomes the Base Week for all future weeks. After this week the goal is to progress using Single, Double or Triple Progression and build on this base volume. SDT is variable and dependent on the trainee's desires. There is no set in stone procedure for this therefore I cannot outline an exact roadmap.

So, after the fourth week of Strength Consolidation, the trainee must spend time building on the base volume set in this fourth week. This will help the trainee move on to a new weight range in the future.


Strength Consolidation is very effective and helps set up a foundation from which to build new strength gains on using the principles outlined by Eric in his Single Double Triple Progression article.


This page created 19 Dec 2010 18:25
Last updated 25 Feb 2015 23:16

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