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400-lb IronMind Axle Deadlift

IronMind Axle Axle Deadlift

The IronMind Axle is the thick bar implement sold by IronMind Enterprises. It is just under 2-inches in diameter. The Deadlift on the IronMind Axle was an event in contests quite frequently up until 2011.

Past Training History with the Axle

My memory is a bit foggy as to the Exact years but I am going to try to pin them down. I believe it was 2008 when I set my all-time high-water mark in the Axle Deadlift with (I think) 396-lbs. So close to 400-lbs, yet so far away, and I just kept drifting further from that point. In 2009, I lifted 394 at the beginning of the year and then at the end of the year could only manage the high 380’s.

I was slowly but surely getting worse and worse at this lift for no good reason whatsoever.

As I mentioned, the lift took a back-seat to other events through much of 2010 and 2011, at least in the contests I attended.

Then, out of nowhere, something crazy happened. I lifted 408-lbs on the IronMind Axle, and uploaded the video last week.

IronMind Axle 408-lbs

As you can see, the weight shot up off the ground and got past my knees and once I felt that, I knew it was all over. Knee height is usually like my point-of-no-return, in that if I can get it to my knees, I can usually finish the repetition.

A lot of people over the years have watched me struggle with thick bar lifting in contests, despite my large hands, so when they saw me accomplish this mark, many asked me what I changed in order to be able to accomplish this.

Progress on the Axle

Here are some of the things I have been doing to which I credit my Axle Deadlift progress.

Thick Bar Training Frequency

With my selection for the Mighty Mitts competition at the Arnold Classic this year, I knew I would have to face the incredible Sorinex Monster Bar, which is a 500-lb Axle with globe-like heads. Due to my lower back injuries, I have not done a great deal of deadlifts from the floor in the last 6 months, so i knew I had to start doing some more.

I chose to work with the sumo deadlift style because I find although I can lift less weight this way, it seems to be better for my back. I also chose it for its shorter lift stroke and its emphasis on the hips, which I am weak on.

I am also continuing my steadfast work on the Inch Dumbbell. My progress in that has been continuous, although never fast enough for my liking. Regardless, my confidence is growing as I continue to work hard on it.

The Big Change

Many of you are aware that I hold a record in the Two Hands Pinch in Grip Sport. You also know that I chased that damn record for nearly 5 years before finally attaining it. In order to get it, I had to change my way of thinking and the way I trained for it…

Looking back on my historical thick bar training, especially my Axle training, there was a common recurring thread: load on the weight, do a single, load on more weight, do a single, add more weight and fail and keep on trying for a single, all the while failing in the upper weights.

Probably no less than 50 times over the last 5 years I have followed that same pattern where all I did was add a few pounds to the Axle per attempt, do a single and then add some more and try another single. While on one hand, you could probably count the number of times in the lat 5 years that I worked lower intensities for more reps and different tempos.

Insanity, as they say, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So why should I continue doing the same stuff I had always done and all of a sudden expect my numbers to go up? I decided I would no longer work any singles. All my work sets would be done with the objective of hitting triples and my PR’s would be based around them, ONLY.

I started this new approach to the Axle on 12/31/11 and by the first week in February, I had already broken the 400-lb barrier.

This of course, is not all I have been doing.

Specialized Thick Bar Auxiliary Work

I knew that if I wanted to see progress in my Thick Bar Training, that I needed to mold it to look more like what I was doing for Two Hands Pinch. With that, I chose some auxiliary thick bar work that would mimic the auxiliary work that I have done routinely for the last couple of years in my Two Hands Pinch training.

Now, as much as I would love to put this all down here on this site, I am not going to. In order to see what all I have been doing, to get this recent explosion in thick bar strength, you need to join me at my Grip Training Instructional site,

The entry that I am working on there at the TGA site involves exactly what I have been doing. I filmed an entire workout – plus I show you exactly how to set up everything. Here is what is included:

  • Axle Work Sets: You will see every work set that I do, as I nearly set yet another PR! Plus I explain exactly why I choose the loading that I do, technique, and tracking too.
  • Auxiliary Lift 1: In this portion, I show a slight modification I use on the axle, modifying the lift slightly to make it more difficult
  • Auxiliary Lift 2: This is a pre-exhaustion technique I have been using to strengthen the thumb in order to reinforce the open hand position of the axle deadlift.
  • Auxiliary Lift 3: I show an awesome piece of home made grip equipment that goes further in strengthening the hand specifically for thick bar lifts such as the axle and the Inch Dumbbell.

This has all worked very well for me, and I can’t wait to get it out there for my TGA subscribers to see how it works for them as well.

I’d love to work with you too. I’ve worked with lots of people over the years and I strive to help them all with their particular goals. Join TGA today for just $7 and you can see for yourself.

See you at TGA.


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9 Responses to “400-lb IronMind Axle Deadlift”

  1. Daniel Says:

    great read Jedd! I gotta add 50# asap so this was perfect.

  2. Andrew Durniat Says:

    Congrats buddy

  3. Rick Walker Says:

    Congrats dude, great lift!

  4. Andrew Says:

    Congrats, Jedd! Awesome accomplishment.

    PS – I love the “Iron Math” you did at the end. Weight training has helped my math out. I might not be the best at math, but if you ask me what 45×13 is, or 45×13 + 25×2, I sure as hell can tell you!

  5. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thanks Daniel.

  6. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Much appreciated, Andrew.

  7. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thanks Rick – looooong time comin’.

  8. Jedd Johnson Says:

    Thanks Andrew. I struggle.

  9. Ben Edwards Says:

    Huge pull Jedd! Congrats on smashing a big goal.

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