Well returning to the OP, I understood your question to be, "is anybody using form quality as a method of judging whether to advance weight?" To which my own answer is no, because my own inclination matches that of my trainer, which is to go to failure on max attempts, and not technical failure, but actual missed reps. Often they occur simultaneously, in which case your approach and mine are the same
Well, it wasn't a question as such, it was more, "Here's one way I like to focus more on quality than weight". However, I welcome and did hope it would bring out some discussion, and i've already learned from the discussion that's followed so it's a win-win situation, really
I'm definitely all for "most" of which you mentioned. Interesting what you say about personality types - for me I need "reigned in". I need someone to tell me, "no, leave it there". I love to strain with a heavy weight and it's something I love to teach people, too, and I think it's key in getting stronger - learning to strain.
However I don't think failure should occur very much in a deadlift. Actually, I think if you are a smart lifter or have a good trainer, it should pretty much only happen on test day - IF you have a test day. That's not to say that there will be the odd time when "training" (not testing) the deadlift that your mind is just not there and you will miss, and I think a good trainer will know this.
I have a recent example of a surgeon I train, he was going for 170KG. He went down to the bar, done this usual set up, then adjust things a little more, and a little more, and some more, and just a little more. I was thinking to myself, "i'm just going to stop him" when he decided to actually pull. He missed about half way up. I just told him I knew he was going to miss and I should of acted sooner and told him to get away from the bar before he pulled. He got down there ready to pull then started talking himself out of it - it was obvious to me, because I see this a lot but, not to him.
We got his mind right and he not only did he make 170, but he also pulled 180 after that, it was a real grind but, his form was solid. Not to blow my own trumpet but, THAT is one value of a good trainer, in my opinion. It was one of those moments I thought, "THIS is why i'm here". It wasn't a case of having to take the lift to or near failure to see what he was capable of, I just knew what he was capable of. Call it knowledge, experience, instinct, all of these - whatever is, I just knew he had it. I knew he easily had 170, I knew he talked himself out of it, I knew if he got his mind right he would nail it, and when he nailed it, I knew he made it look good enough to then get 180. I knew 185 would be messy, and 190 wouldn't move, even before he got 180. However, 180 was a 10KG personal best and there's nothing better than hitting a PB whilst potentially leaving plates on the floor (even if it is just 2.5kg per side) <--- this has been a tough lesson for me to learn, personally. I may not even have it learned yet because as smart as I try to be, I get dumb when I take my personal training t-shirt off, put on my muscle vest and hit the weight room myself.
(I don't wear a muscle vest, for the record, lol)
I'm not even sure i'm arguing anything here. I pretty much agree with everything. Straining is where it's at for getting strong. I'm weary when I hear about purposely working to failure on a deadlift, though, even if you were competing in the lift.... You didn't say how regularly that happened, though, I would be more comfortable if it wasn't very frequent..