Heaviest weight lifted without training with weights

Yesterday, at a bodyweight of 156lbs, I deadlifted 315lbs easily.  While this is not spectacular, this is my heaviest deadlift, yet.  My best previous deadlift was 305lbs. What is surprising to me is I have not been lifting weights nor training the deadlift. Also, I have decreased my diet by half (around 2500 kcal from 5k). I was even fasting when I did this.

Given that I have read (and experienced myself through previous tests) that to increase strength in the deadlift one must train that lift or similar movements with weight, I am very surprised. Also, in order to gain strength and muscle one is supposed to eat much more food. I have not done either of these things.  This goes against what is widely believed as sacrosanct truth in the strength building world. It felt heavy, but I could have lifted probably 30-50lbs more. My legs did not shake even a little bit.

So, if I have been eating less and not training the lifts, how did I get stronger?  Or, even a bigger question is why did I not lose strength?  My previous regime was back squat, deadlift and overhead press combined with eating a lot. I was following a basic strength training protocol of doing each lift sometimes 3 times a week or once a week. If I stopped on those lifts for even two weeks or so, I would fall backwards in strength.

My new regime has been to lean-out and drop bodyfat and to get strong moving my own bodyweight. I have been eating 80% paleo-style combined with fasting once a week. Also, I have been focusing on progressions with one-arm pullups, one-armed pushups, single-leg squats, hanging leg raises, one-arm handstand pushups (not yet attained!) and bridges. Given that I was under eating and not training the deadlift, it is very surprising that I have now lifted more than I have previously!  This must mean that these bodyweight exercises are making me stronger.

My hypothesis: if I continue to progress to higher levels of strength in the aforementioned body-weight exercises, I will get stronger in other movements like the deadlift.

My hunch is that the bridge and leg raises have made a much stronger core and the pullups and single-leg squats have created the strenth for the deadlift pull. Likely, the pushups and handstand pushups have created reciprocal inhibition in antagonistic muscles like biceps and lats (and many others).  Maybe even single-limb movements have had an effect by training out left/right weakness or imbalances that would otherwise be hidden in normal two leg/arm movements?

Next test: Once I reach my next progression goal of 10 one-armed pullups each arm and 25 single-leg squats each leg, I will attempt the deadlift again and publish results.  I expect to reach these goals in a month’s time…give or take.

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