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Lift Tips

Published on February 11th, 2018 | by lifthold

Get A Stronger Body Through a Deadlift Program

Lifting heavy weights on any exercise doesn’t just magically happen. It takes time and importantly, being smart with your training. The smartest way to lift is through programming. A proper deadlift program progressively adds weight over time in a structured manner. Maxing out on a deadlift every single training session is not a good idea. Some reasons for this is that you might stall out too early and another obvious one is that you run the risk of getting injured. Here we will offer some advice on some things you should look for in a deadlift program in order for you to see some results.

If you are shooting for a one-rep max each time you enter the gym to deadlift, you are not actually training; rather, you are just flexing your ego. In order to see steady gains, a deadlift program that starts lighter and progressively gets heavier each month or cycle is the way to go. Often times a good deadlift program will be percentage-based, or RPE, or rate of perceived exertion.

When you first begin a deadlift program, you will probably need to figure out your one-rep-max. However, this is just to figure out the numbers that you will be training with and progressively build up with over time. In fact, you don’t even actually need to max out on the lift to figure it out. You can use a 10-rep-max, a 5-rep-max or even a 3-rep-max. It doesn’t really matter. Just plug in what you have into a one-rep-max calculator and the number that it gives you should be right in the ballpark of what you are most likely able to do. In most people’s experience, they are pretty accurate; at least up until the 10th rep. After that, it starts to get less precise.

A great example of a program that utilizes percentages to train with is Wendler 5/3/1. Like many other strength programs, Wendler 5/3/1 isn’t just a deadlift program. It is designed to help you improve your deadlift, squat, bench, and strict overhead press. But for all intents and purposes, we will be focusing on the movement and topic of this article.

5/3/1 works by taking 90 percent of your one-rep-max and each week and the sets within them will contain various percentages. You will calculate these numbers based on the training max that you just figured out. For lower body exercises, like the deadlift, you will add 10 pounds to it each cycle. Upper body exercises will be 5 pounds. It starts easy and gets harder over time, and eventually, you will need to reset. At that point, you find your new one-rep-maxes or go back 3 cycles, and you’re basically rinsing and repeating. Except for this time around, you should be even stronger.

For more details, you should look into the actual 5/3/1 book and support the author, Jim Wendler. This was just a quick overview of an example of a popular program. It’s not the only one out there though; Starting Strength 5×5 by Mark Rippetoe is also a great choice, and people have seen excellent results from it. You will need to research and find out what program suits you best – there are plenty out there! Whichever program that you choose, we hope that you see some solid results from it. That being said, a great deadlift program isn’t about maxing out all of the time; it’s about steadily improving over a long period of time. Significant results don’t happen instantly, and a deadlift program should keep you on track and hopefully, injury-free. Staying safe means that you will be able to lift longer, and see those gains in both size and strength!


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