The word “cause” is an alter to an unknown god.

— William James


The following workout took place at 6:30 AM, prior to the start of my workday. It was performed on an empty stomach, save for the redeye I had on the hour-long drive in. My last meal was Meesus TTP’s steak salad, at approximately 8 PM Monday night.

The morning’s combo:

Dumbbell Deadlifts + SLDL (slow eccentric) x 3’s

~ superset with ~

Weighted Dips x 5’s

Completed four rounds (plus an initial warm-up) in 30 minutes.

The details:

The deadlift portion of the DL+SLDL (as dumbbells are being utilized), elicits a much different feel than performing the same exercise with a standard Olympic bar and plates. For one thing, dumbbells allow for (due to positioning the weights at the side of the shins, vice in front of the shins), a more upright body track from the bottom/starting position. The second difference is, the bottom/starting position is much lower which, obviously, results in a greater range of motion. You wouldn’t think that a couple of inches makes that much of a difference, but it most certainly does (get your mind out of the gutter- smile_omg).  This difference is especially noticeable in someone who’s rather long-limbed, like yours truly. There should be nothing slow about the concentric portion of this lift. I ripped the weights off of the floor at every rep and made sure to blast all the way up through the full triple extension and into a full shrug. I held the end position (on tip-toes, traps pinned to ears) for a count before beginning the slow eccentric SLDL to the floor. Keep the heels planted to the floor on this phase, and raise the toes off the ground.  Stick your butt back as far as possible.  This trick will help force the hams/glutes into action and take the lower back somewhat out of the picture.  I was able to crank-out 4 reps before both concentric speed and “snap” began to suffer during each set.

Each set of dips was done for a full range-of-motion; each concentric portion was completed as fast as possible. Sometimes, with this exercise, I will loosen my grip and attempt to launch myself (gain separation from) the dip rack.  Of course, the weight is adjusted so that I only actually gain a gnat’s ass in separation, but it’s the attempt and effort to do so that matters.  I paused at the bottom of each rep so as to start each new rep from a dead start.

Post workout meal:

This consisted of two softboiled (truly free range) eggs, a Clementine and a half-a-palm-sized hunk of ham steak at 8AM.


In Health,



  1. First up, I enjoy your blog. It’s well written, motivational and I steal ideas from your workouts.

    I used to attempt dumbbell deadlifts but always found they were too low and it compromised my back position. Nowadays, I always deadlift with the barbell on plates to raise it to mid-shin level. Totally agree with getting your butt back and activating hams/glutes, makes the world of difference.

  2. Another option, Ade, is to do snatch-grip deadlifts. The wider grip forces (if done properly) your butt into a lower starting position. I prefer the DB version over the snatch-grip due to the finishing shrug position (with palms facing one another). Also, I feel like I get more speed out of the hole in the DB version. Another thing is that I’m long-limbed and therefore not exactly built for the Olympic lifts (or powerlifting, for that matter). That said, though, there is much to be gained by using the snatch-grip version, and I do employ it from time to time.


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