Originally Posted by Off Road
The reason I like this question is there is really difference between what is recommended today and what some of the old time lifters used to do. Many of the old time lifters used to spend a few years on something, get really good at it, set some records, then move on to something else.
That open such interesting doors to me. While this isn't answering the question directly, I would like to say that I can see why this is appealing. At some point the big lifts can get rather frustrating. At this point I guess the question becomes...put 75% of my energy into one lift and place the others in a holding pattern, or push all 3 at once.
There certainly are plenty of lifters who effectively raise all 3 at once, but this does not mean that specialization wouldn't be a good option.
Mentally I find myself currently drawn to specialization. I have a passion for bringing up my deadlift, and may just give it a heavier focus at the expense of bench and squats after my next meet.
My personal view is that a trainee should continue working on all lifts and building well rounded strength until they start to hit challenging walls at about the 5 rep range, meaning it becomes very hard to make any progress around 85% of their 1RM and below.
After this point more intense work is most likely needed, and depending on a lifters goals, specialization might be a fun option.