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I did my second deadlift routine today but didn't increase the recommended 15 pounds from the first time as I'm purposely limiting growth by only having a caloric surplus on my workout days.

Instead I increased by 5kg (10 pounds), but found I got through the set too easily.

So then I popped on another 2.5kg (5 pounds) and did another set. It seemed about right as I doubt I could have finished 5 reps if it was any higher.

The book however says it's easy to overtrain deadlifts. I'm already a bit scared of that because I'm deadlifting each workout until I can alternate with power cleans.

So did I do the right thing by increasing the load until it felt like I got something out of it, or better just walk away and wait until next workout?

Update: Info added as requested by Dave Liepmann

Height: 6'0" (183cm)
Weight: 225 pounds (102kg)
Program: Novice SS (i.e., Squat/Press/Deadlift alternate Squat/Bench/Deadlift)
Workout freq: 3/week
Weight deadlifted (1st workout): 121 pounds (55kg)
Weight deadlifted (2nd workout): 132 pounds (60kg) (not enough)
Weight deadlifted (2nd workout): 138 pounds (62.5kg) (finished set but much harder)

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What do you weigh, how tall are you, what other exercises are you doing, and how much weight did you actually deadlift? – Dave Liepmann Nov 8 '12 at 2:56
Requested info added. – jontyc Nov 8 '12 at 3:51
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Here's one area of concern:

I didn't increase the recommended 15 pounds from the first time as I'm purposely limiting growth by only having a caloric surplus on my workout days.

I'm not sure this is necessary. Limiting muscle growth in order to lose fat mass is, I believe, not the best course of action. If your goal is body recomposition (fat loss), the best option while doing SS is to control your diet and lift heavy, not to lift sort-of-heavy. If your goal is simply to stay in your current weight class, then your best option is to lift heavy and control your diet. Most of the strength gains you experience will be neurological--that is, they won't require an increase in size, especially not without eating big.

I think I would add the full amount of weight, at least until you're deadlifting close to your own bodyweight.

And here's another:

...I popped on another 2.5kg (5 pounds) and did another set. It seemed about right as I doubt I could have finished 5 reps if it was any higher.

If your plan is to add 10 pounds instead of 15, do that. If it's to add 15 every workout until you can't, do that. Lifting by "feel" is fairly complex, and should generally be avoided by novices.

Next time, if you get the weight wrong, just leave it for next time. It's better to "leave a few reps in the tank", so to speak, than to max out every workout. It's definitely not a big deal, but I also think that adding extra sets when you're already exhausted from the workout isn't the best approach. Slow and steady wins this race: add the weight every time, lift it every time, repeat until it doesn't work.

So don't judge the efficacy of the workout by how sore you feel, or how tired. Instead, ask yourself: "Did I accomplish my program goals today? Am I on course? Am I stronger than I was last workout?" If so, congratulations, you achieved awesome that day.

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What I was hoping to do was limit growth by restricting diet so 10 pound increments did feel heavy, rather than limiting growth by lifting not-so-heavy, if that makes sense. – jontyc Nov 8 '12 at 21:31
However I can definitely see the merit of 'did I accomplish my goals' today, so I think I'll do the 15 pound increment, purely because it's the recommended increment and it seemed to be right, and see how I go. – jontyc Nov 8 '12 at 21:37

Just take it easy, if it's easy the first week or two, it doesn't mean it's going to remain easy forever. The biggest mistake to make with SS is to hurry too much. Remember, you are still increasing linearly and this is amazing progress! Pushing yourself too hard at the start can set you back later on for weeks.

Next time, just increase by the set weight. I guarantee that by week three or so it will stop feeling easy.

Here's the relevant quote from Rippetoe:

Don’t be in a big hurry to find your sticking point early in your training progression. It is always preferable to take smaller jumps and sustain the progress than to take bigger jumps and get stuck early. Getting stuck means missing any of the reps of the prescribed work sets, since the weight cannot be increased until all of the reps have been done as prescribed. It is easier to not get stuck than it is to get unstuck.

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Definitely not trying to rush--hence choosing an 10 pound increment instead of the recommended 15 pound. But if that 10 pound turned out to be just too easy, especially for deadlifts with just a single workset, stopping there would have made me feel like I just did warmups with no actual workset. Slightly increasing the weight felt not easy, not hard, just good, like it's keeping me on track rather than taking the day off. – jontyc Nov 8 '12 at 9:37
A recurring theme in Rip's books is that it's not about how you feel ("the pump", muscle soreness or whatever), but how much you lift. In that sense, as long as the weight is going up every workout, it doesn't really matter if they feel "easy" or not. Anyway, it's not as if you did a terribly bad thing, I'm just trying to tell you not to make it a habit. – VPeric Nov 8 '12 at 10:11
"as long as the weight is going up every workout" - yep, good point. – jontyc Nov 8 '12 at 21:20

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