T Nation

600lb Deadlift Possible for Everyone?


You’ll forgive me, as I only played football in high school for a year, but my understanding is that the players prioritize being football players better than than prioritize deadlifts, no?

I assure you that Ross Verba, had he decided to dedicate himself to lifting weights rather than football, would have lifted MUCH heavier weights in the same timeframe. The fact he lifted as much as he did on top of being such a good football player is simply even more amazing.


From this topic, I honestly haven’t seen anyone making this argument.

I feel as though there may be a misunderstanding here.


I am saying the 400lb bench and 600lb are comparable, and a guy 6’5 315 who went on to be fist rookie to start on pro offensive line do very well at that had to work very hard to bench 400 plus.
Back then the leg press or hip sled was consider primary leg exercise, and bench was considered #1 exercise , even though we know that not true.
So Ross trained bench hard he just had super long arms, we are same age i saw him convenience store a few years ago and he at 330? Had a huge divet for a posterior chain, i heard he squated 700 plus fairly easy.
But yeah i concentrated on powerlifting and olympic lifting in high school not football and could move alot of weight , but would have been no match for a Verba.


I think you’re slightly misunderstanding the argument here. Clay Matthews might only go up to 405x7 in squat, but that’s by choice. He is a highly-paid professional football player; pursuing a 600-pound deadlift is not in his best interest. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t do it, only that he is choosing to spend his time training in the manner most effective for his sport. Speaking of which…

No, wait…you’re misunderstanding something here. This thread isn’t saying everyone should pull 600, not by a long shot. The discussion is whether many/most able-bodied males (in their prime) have the capability to attain a 600 pound deadlift assuming that they have trained to do so.

Whether NFL or NBA or MLB players can pull 600 now is irrelevant. They aren’t focusing on the deadlift, if they train it at all (most probably don’t); I do believe that most/all of them could pull 600 with a year or two of focused training. I mean, I’m certainly NOT a “genetic freak” - if I was, I would be playing in the NFL - and I pulled 500 last July with about one year of semi-dedicated training (which wasn’t even THAT crazy; hell, I haven’t done any barbell squats or basically any assistance lifts other than some leg presses).

Honestly, although my opinion (already stated above) is that I’d peg this line at more like 500 rather than 600, I think the basic sentiments reflected in some of the first few replies…

…already covered it.

The fact that most people don’t want or need to put in the time and effort to accomplish this is immaterial. We all already know that most people don’t have any interest in strength training, and even among those that do, only some actually care about their 1-rep max deadlift, so the population of people who are actually pursuing this goal is winnowed quite substantially. But I do echo the opinions of several people above that a 600-pound deadlift (or at least a 500-pound deadlift) is available to many more people than only the “genetic freaks” of the world. I stand by my comment above that I am, without a doubt, nothing at all resembling a “genetic freak” - and I expect to move well into the 500’s this year, in what amounts to my second full year of barbell training after a prolonged break spent running long-distance races!

I do want to address one other point - @BrickHead above mentioning that if you look around, there are lots of diminutive, uncoordinated people for whom a 500-plus deadlift is a pipe dream. Of course in their current state a 500-pound deadlift is worlds away; but most of these people only appear so diminutive and uncoordinated because they have never spent any substantial time or energy dedicated to athletic pursuits! If every kid climbed the monkey bars and jumped rope and played soccer as a child, then played some team sports in high school, and took up lifting weights at 18, there would be a lot fewer “diminutive, uncoordinated” people walking around.

Look, I understand that most people don’t deadlift 500 pounds during their lifetime because they have other (better) things to do; this is a purely theoretical discussion of whether that lies within the realm of possibility for most people. Only some people will ever lift weights, and of them, as @T3hPwnisher is fond of pointing out, most people who undertake strength training will “fail” but my personal belief is that lack of effort and/or dedication and unwillingness to critically examine one’s strengths and weaknesses are the biggest reasons for that.


Lets flip the script, so most able bodied men could develop a 17inch arm at under 12 bodyfat, that’s to much a cut 17 inch arm is huge , 16 inch arm at under 12 percent bodyfat.
I think we are close to same age and spent a lot of time in gym you moreso.
If i wanted to i could never be a fighter pilot, less than 20/20 vision.


Glad to know I’m a genetic freak for pulling mid 600… I’m far a genetic freak and if anything deadlift has been my hardest lift to improve % wise. My best pull in my first meet was 540 and it took me basically 2 years of actually trying to improve it to get there. Now 3 full years later my best pull in a meet is 623… It took me YEARS of busting my ass to it. I started training when I was 13 (25 now) but took 4 year break from PLing to focus on Army training which still involved deadlifting often mind you pull 600 plus. I was training to make my lifts stronger and even being blessed with far less than optimal pulling leverages I have still managed it.

I strongly believe ANY able bodied, healthy, injury free man, with good training specifically to strengthen his deadlift and learning to use his leverages to his best advantage can pull 600lbs raw. It may take YEARS of dedicated training to do it but they can. Dedicated training meaning religiously training for powerlifting like a NFL player would religiously train for his sport and position.


Some NFL players sign contracts no motercycles, no skydiving, no hunting and actually cant lift to heavy, as part as agreement, I guarantee you clay could pull 600 plus in 3 or 4 workout if not now.
I get it ive been a gym rat for 30 year’s, saying Most able bodied, men could pull 600 no way and to say so disrespectful of guys who lift ass off, do gear , eat good and train like animals who never atain.


If every swinging dick can hit 600, why does a 500lb DL still turn heads in nearly every gym across America? Because not everyone can do it.


It occurs to me that the actual tittle of the thread " 600lbs Deadlift possible for Everyone?" and the OPs actual question has two different answers…

Everyone? Nope…
Most? That pretty hard to answer depending on what one considers most… 5 /10 ,9/10. the question in all reality is pretty vague in that context.

Personally , I dont consider 600 some Holy Shit number. To be honest its personal bias on my end.


What do 99% of every swinging dick in every commercial gym across the world impressed by a 500lbs deadlift have in common?

They have not even the slightest idea about how to train, how to eat, how to sleep, or how to put any real amount of effort into any thing they do. Makes a huge difference. Once again as I have said a hundred times I am not saying any man should be able to go into the gym and half ass work at deadlifting and they will pull 600. I am talking about if honestly every single man DEDICATED himself to pulling 600lbs literally his life goal more than anything and he researched, put time in the gym, in the kitchen, in the bed room, doesn’t go out drinking and partying he literally daily wakes up, eats, works, trains, and then sleeps he can do it.

I promise you if for what ever reason it became a literal life or death situation ie. You pull 600lbs by 30 years old or you take a bullet to the skull there would be millions of men with 600+ pulls. Whether the average man will ever put forth that kind of effort is the limiting factor here.


There continues to be a misunderstanding here.

Most people in “every gym across America” fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Teenager that just started lifting
  2. 20-something kid trying to get killer gunz while keeping his abz
  3. Middle-aged woman doing some lunge-curl-press combination
  4. 40-something with a 300 bench whose “leg day” consists of leg press, leg curl, leg extension
  5. Old guy that reads the newspaper while walking on the treadmill

The point is, a 500 deadlift turns heads in “nearly every gym across America” because most people training in most gyms have never spent any significant time devoted to building their numbers on the Big Three lifts. People come to the gym for all kinds of reasons, and while everyone may or may not achieve their respective goals, very few are even trying to achieve deadlift glory. All of the above people would turn their heads at a 500 deadlift because, yes, they cannot do it, but also because they have never done any of the things necessary to build themselves a big pull.

Some folks who have taken the “not everyone can hit 600” position are starting to argue against a strawman. No one in the “it’s possible for most healthy adult males” camp has ever said that pulling 600 is easy or that any random guy who walks into a gym should deadlift 600; quite the contrary. All of us have said that it takes a level of dedicated training, discipline, and the willingness to do the things necessary (which is not necessarily advisable or worthwhile for some people, even in certain iron sports like bodybuilding; a competitive BB’er that can pull in the low 500’s has no reason to specifically chase 600, they’re better suited doing things that will make them a better bodybuilder).

Let’s go back to the original question:

This first quote needs to be included in every post for the rest of the thread:

Here’s a fun little question. Suppose that income was directly tied to max deadlift in some way (i.e. with each paycheck, the company will put an equal number of dollars into your retirement, or something like that; or maybe your weekly take-home pay is capped at a certain function of your max deadlift). Don’t we think a whole lot more people would suddenly be grinding their way up to at least 405, if not 500? @strongmanjoe actually wrote a post along this line earlier.

I think most people in the “No” camp are looking around at people in their current form and just can’t imagine the weak, untrained individuals they see walking around putting on muscle mass. If those guys were all training like their life (or at least their income!) depended on it, they would look a lot different! If the random people fiddling around on the leg curl and wearing a sweat towel while they read the newspaper on an exercise bike were told that their income was now tied to their max deadlift, they’d stop fucking around on the leg curl and start figuring out how to deadlift more weight!


@Reed wrote this more concisely and directly than I did.

Well stated, Reed.


Pretty much nailed it !!


Physically possible? Maybe. But disregarding the mental aspect of lifting is pretty arbitrary. For a natural lifter with average genetics, knowledge and will power are the determining factors for their success.


Yes! EXACTLY! That is the entire point of the thread!


The mental aspect is why 90% of people fail to get to even 500. That’s why I say no. I think we essentially agree. I just don’t believe you can totally disregard the mental aspect of things. There’s a lot of weak people that will never have a killer instinct ingrained in them, even if you hold a gun to their head or offer a million dollars to deadlift x amount of weight.


Then at what point is there a cutoff, despite gut-wrenching effort, discipline, proper program design, and adequate nutrition? 650? 700? 800?

You make good points, but again, I sincerely ask you and others here, without being a rabble-rouser: Does anyone really take into account men of small stature who are otherwise healthy and able-bodied? And when I say able-bodied, I simply mean capable for activities of daily living, ADL’s, as we call them in healthcare, which is quite fitting here considering we are using the word healthy.

People are speaking as if 5’4" half-pints with poor genetic potential for muscularity and strength are going to deadlift 600 so long as they have the aforesaid necessary characteristics, resources, and behaviors.

Ed Coan was once asked in an interview, “Do you think anyone can deadlift 700?” He simply said, “No!” So I don’t know why even Dave Tate would put out an article in which stated anyone can have a 700 pound squat.


I imagine because you can get a lot more out of wraps and an unlimited ply squat suit vs a deadlift suit. Very common to see squats in the near thousand range with deads in the 6 to 7.


I’m with Brick on this - I don’t think it’s possible for most. The majority of Scottish males are pretty physically weak. I think in my circle of friends there’s only a couple of people I think could reach 6 hundo.

But then, maybe that’s just because my deadlift sucks…


I’m 5’5.5" just over 5’6" in my boots when in the service, have 7 and 1/2" wrists, just under 8" ankles and wear a size 7.5 combat boot according to the US Army. I’m about as small stature as they come and NEVER had any kind of physical genetic advantage. 90% of the people in my family on both sides are under 6ft, are obese, have diabetes and suffer from heart disease and issues involved around it. I was extremely fat as kid, never did well in any sport of any kind and when I first went into the gym at 13 I got absolutely buried with a 115lbs half squat that I couldn’t reverse out of the sticking point.

I have pulled into the mid 600 horrendous form and I don’t even train my deadlift because it takes away from my squat progress. So I don’t know what the cut off is for but I do not in any way think it is 600. I don’t for a second think 600 is unattainable by any man who focuses aggressively on deadlifting for a solid 10 years or more. You can believe what you want doesn’t bother me a bit but, I won’t make excuses for my self, you or any one else. 600 is attainable by the absolute vast majority of males who wouldn’t be a afraid to lose their abs… hell I did it with abs.