Powerlifter Yangsu Ren (-83kg), aka “Deadlift Panda”, just pulled 815 pounds for a top deadlift single. Ren has been working up to this weight for awhile now, so we’re pumped to see him hit this personal record!
In 2017, Ren set the American raw deadlift record in the -83kg weight class with a 749.5 lbs pull. Since then, Ren has made some serious improvements to his deadlift and just a few weeks ago pulled 745 lbs for a beltless deadlift triple.
BarBend got the chance to catch up with Ren to talk about his current training regimen, how he programs sumo and conventional deadlifts, when he’s competing next, and more. Check out the Q&A below!
BarBend: What are your current training goals for your deadlift?
Ren: Current training goal is to hit 855 lbs sumo, and 725 lbs conventional.
BarBend: How often a week are you training deadlift?
Ren: I currently train deadlifts twice a week, split between a sumo day and conventional day; one is for comp specificity and the other is for erector strengthening which significantly carries over to my sumo pull.
BarBend: Do you have any advice on intensity, volume, and exercise selection for athletes trying to rotate the two in their blocks?
I highly recommend incorporating both deadlift variations into your training, especially as a newcomer to the sport who hasn’t figured out which of the two is optimal for themselves. We all fall on a hip structure and femur neck angle bell curve, so there’s no one size fits all in terms of the optimal stance for everyone. I’ve personally been constantly testing and tweaking different widths, feet angles, and back positioning for 3 years now, and I’m still finding ways to improve.
In terms of other variations to incorporate, I believe it depends on your weakness; if you’re failing off the floor then pause deadlifts have helped me immensely in learning how to maintain patience and positioning; if you’re failing at lockout then overloading with block-pulls is a great way to to improve.
BarBend: As for training intensity and volume?
Ren: In terms of training intensity and volume, I personally respond super well to 1-3 rep max top sets with moderate volume backoff sets (ex. 5×5 80%), but everyone is different so this is another point of trial and error for several training blocks until you find the program that works best for you.
BarBend: In your opinion what is the single most important variable for a strong deadlift?
Ren: I used to think it was the erectors with my old super narrow sumo stance; but as my technique evolved over time, and consistency and longevity became priorities, I’ve realized that the latissimus dorsi are the number one determinant of deadlifts for me, especially in sumo.
Maintaining tight lats from the start to the finish can mean the difference between letting the weight pitch me forward or keeping a vertical bar path, and the difference between getting stuck at the knees or smoothly transitioning to lockout.
BarBend: When can we catch you next?
Ren: I’m planning to take the rest of the year off from competing in order to properly rehab my sciatica they had been recurring for the last 2 years (low bar induced) and focus on the new job, but I will be back early 2020 with hopefully some bigger pulls!
Ren is after some serious sumo and conventional deadlift goals, and we can’t wait to see what his dedicated training throughout the rest of this year does for his pulls come next year.
Featured image from @deadlift_panda Instagram page.