Originally Posted by BendtheBar
My experience varies depending on lifts. Squats for example I hammered away at 80% for nearly the last 3 years and made absolutely zero progress. Bench Press I spent the last 2+ years training around 80-85% and added maybe 10-15 pounds to my total. I did a lot of sets around these percentages for both lifts. A lot. Didn't help me a bit.
Deadlifts are a different story. Last year I dropped 80% work and focused only on 20 rep sumo sets for quite a long time. When I came back to conventionals I started to destroy PRs like crazy. My max went up my about 60 pounds in 6 months and I didn't work above 80% until the final month or two before my meet. I will add that I starting using a ton of speed work during this time, and began attacking the bar, and I think this was a major contributing factor ion my progress. Also, perhaps the rep work helps my glute and hamstring weaknesses..
That's interesting that such a low percentage pushed up your deads so much, but lower percentages did little for squats.
Maybe it's because deads start from, er, a dead stop. Overcoming the initial inertia is a major deal - you have to get the bar moving and moving fast. With elastic recoil, it's less of a factor in squats, perhaps?