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Beginner: Need DL Advice


I need a DL template. (more than one would be better)

No squatting. My gym doesn't have a squat rack. It does have a lot of space and no one has anything against DLs.

My max is ~275 @150. I pull w/o belt or straps. Doing shrugs and CoC grippers for grip.

Right now I pull: Saturdays: warm-up, 5@ 85% 1RM, 2@~93, 2@~93, 5@85, partial SLDL with the same weight.
Wednesdays: warm-up, (and here's where I'm still trying to figure it out) -- 5@85, 1, 1, 1, 1@90+
or -- warm-up, 20 total reps @ 75-80% 1 RM

Any on-topic suggestions are welcome, any template welcome. As one can see, I'm a beginner.

Thanks, Vlad



Here's one I like, a bit long, but it sure works.


Firstly, I'll say what someone is bound to say eventually: Basics. Don't get so caught up in percentages and complicated methodology that you forget to just hit the gym and crush heavy weights. Progressive overload does work, especially for beginners so use it as long as you can before going more complex with your training. I think you are probably over-thinking this a bit with the percentages. You might be surprised what happens if you just work up to a 3-5 rep max every week and then do a few well chosen assistance moves that you rotate every month or so.

That being said, I think you'd get more knowledge and benefit if you research training methods and programs for yourself rather than asking someone to come up with some for you. How about posting more detail about your training and maybe some videos so that we can critique specific things? And lastly, get a belt and learn how to use it and you'll probably break 300 the first time you wear it to train.


Hit all of the supporting muscle groups hard...don't forget you can clean the weight up to squat...you can even improvise squat racks out of the bench racks, be inventive but safe, I wouldn't expect you to innovate to the point of squatting extremely heavy.


Form on DLs:
http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/critique_my_form_dl_bp_facepulls (a newer vid with my actual form - semi-sumo - is in the last reply)

I'm not getting caught in percentages, I thought it'd be more useful if I posted an approximate percentage instead of a weight, since you can do sets of 3 or 5 with a 10 RM, sets of 2 with the 4 RM etc.

For the sets of 5, I use a weight which hardly allows me to get 3 x 5. For the sets of two, I couldn't get 4 reps with the weight. Since my spine had a few problems (for a good number of years), I shy away from going to failure, because I can't keep the IAP when approaching failure (now doing power breathing almost daily).

While I guess M Rippetoe's program is probably the best for a beginner, he has one set of DLs a week...while I only do deads for the posterior chain, and pistols as a warm-up (although that's practically what I do).

Another question: since I'm pretty weak, wouldn't most "cycling" (since I've seen cycles start somewhere at 65%, which would be only 180 lbs for me, and I can certainly gain more by simply trying to add weight to the bar) be pretty useless?


Heck. I think M Rippetoe is the way to go.

But I still need some critique on my program. (and while simply seeing if the results please me, I'd still rather be told if something is obviously not smart)

My program:

Deads twice a week: Day A: warm-up: back flexion-extension ("isolated" erector work): 20, 22x10, 45x8, 55x12
DL: 130x5, 170x5, 200x3, 233x5, 255x2, 255x2, 233x5, 233x8 (SLDL, only going to the knees)- it killed me (probably the last set of SLDLs), I haven't gotten so sore in months.

Day B: it depends, I'm thinking of warming up and then doing 220 x 20 (depending on how I feel it might be 4 sets of 5, or as few sets as possible, or even 7 x 3)

Apart from DLs I do weighted chins, kept changing, I think I'll do 3x5 one day (with ~7 RM, right now 38 lbs), and 3x2 another (with something between 2 and 4 RM), and non-weighted once or twice per week, for reps or for speed, but not going to failure. I can chin BW + 90 lbs.

For pressing I do mainly dips (2 sets of 6 three times a week, + non-weighted almost every day), and now I'll add 1 arm overhead presses (leaning).

I can do ~15 chins and 15 dips, max dip: ~60 lbs. (and I only go until the humerus is parallel or slightly above to the ground).

I also do external rotations (both with elbow supported and not supported), and should do internal rotations and rear delt flyes. Also 1 arm scap push-ups (or whatever they're called...I don't bend the elbow), and 1 arm dead-hang shrugs/holds (I hang with one arm from a bar and "shrug" myself up, did wonders for my shoulders). Recently started doing shrugs in order to get a better grip for DLs, and CoC grippers.


It's hard to tell what your goals are from your posts. I'll assume you want to gain weight and build basic strength. If you are looking to lift competitively you need a new gym. If that's the case, still do this for a while and get bigger and more comfortable with the pull before moving to a more specific routine.

I would change the deads to a 3 or 5 rep max (probably 5 to help you can gain some weight). Just work up to a top set and then a back-off set. So it would look like this: sets of 5 until you fail to get the reps; then back off a bit and rep out with less weight (i'd reduce by 50 lbs or so). Do SLDS's for a few sets of 5-10 reps. Follow with heavy rows or chins, shrugs, and ab work.

I would only pull once per week though. Do some quad dominant work on the other day. If you really feel like you need to pull twice, do some speed pulls with 65 percent of your max for sets of 2. Do ab work on both days along with lower back prehab/rehab. If you want to compete, this would be squat day.


Say a 440 DL, and after that a 550 DL. And after that...I might try to give a few stones a ride... Maybe even the Husafell...
Also 8 dips with 75% BW, one-arm chins and push-ups (of course, getting to more push-ups than chins). And from there on.

Being able to press more than 50% BW overhead with one arm for reps also sounds good (Bernar Macfadden did 100x10 at ~180), but since my shoulders tend to hurt like...after doing some time of overhead work,I'm not making any dreams. The leaning press does feel much better (just a 1A military, but you lean to the side, reducing the ROM), so I'll add two sets every day I don't do dips, 5-10 reps.

No interest whatsoever in the bench, and I might actually start squatting once a week.

See, that's what I was asking, if pulling twice a week seems too much (IF you don't squat or do any other posterior chain exercises. My DL assistance is DL +a little SLDL)...although I've seen that squatting twice per week is considered ok.

How many total work sets do you suggest? Including how many back-off and SLDL sets. The usual 3x5 didn't get me sore; 5,2,2,5 and 7 (SLDL) though made my back sooo sore.

@the finnish DL routine. It starts 30%, and for 7 weeks you lift nothing more than 55% 1RM!!!!!!
Should I understand it's only for when you're incredibly strong? I don't quite understand how such cycling works, don't you actually detrain a little during the beginning?


Deads twice per week is still a bit much in my opinion even with no squats, because the lift is so taxing. But it might work for a while, so if you want to give it a try go for it. Just be mindful of overtraining and be ready to cut back if it starts to break you down. I would try going heavy on one day and doing reps on the other if you want to give it a go. Either way, for heavy pulls, I'd limit the work sets to three or less. For reps you could do more, like 5 or 6 sets. But if you are going to do both on the same day, I'd say just do one back-off set after you work up to your max effort set. For the stiffies, try 3-5 sets depending on recovery ability.

As far as the Finnish routine, I don't know much about it but essentially yes, routines like that are made for advanced lifters with huge recovery needs. It's hard to train at a maximum intensity for more than a few weeks after your strength reaches a certain point. It's also a long program that allows for a few weeks of deloading at the beginning to focus on recovering/healing in preparation for the harder stuff later on while getting form practice. Detraining can be an awesome training tool if used correctly. It sets the stage for a big rebound.


If you aren't built for deadlifting, doing twice a week is kind of dangerous and maybe not needed for progression. You can always clean+front squat, awesome choice imo!


Part 1 is 7 weeks of SLDL for sets of 10, so the % (of your max DL) isnt that low after all especially since you lift twice a week.

The guys here are right, its probably not the program for you at this moment. You will most likely gain strenght so fast that the program will actually hold you back!

Good luck, myself im working towards 300Kg, the goal is to do it before end of March.


the best deadlift program i ever went on was simply to work up to five very difficult reps. something like 5, 3,3,3,5. then add ten pounds the next week. i got five reps every week, sometimes six. after five weeks that is fifty pounds. take a week off from deadlifting then retest your max.
the partial sldl to me sounds like one of those vague, cautious exercises that is half of an exercise or a combination of exercises. if you cant set up comfortably and bang out some powerful reps then i would not do it.


Week 1:
Deadlift 135 for 5 sets of 5 with perfect form

Add 10lbs every week and do 5 sets of 5 with perfect from until progress stalls.

Then worry about a "template."

In the mean time, eat your face off.


+1. start simple. a simple linear progression will work for you just fine. you'll be surprised how long you can run it.


Settled for:

Session A: 5 reps @ ~85%, trying to add 2-5 lbs/week, two back-off sets of 5 @ 75-80% (~25 lbs less, for now). Having to focus on increasing just one set makes things so much simpler.

Session B: 10 reps with the 75-80% from session A (sets of 2-4 reps), 15 reps @ ~65%

Might add two sets of 2. Hmm, in session B and no longer do the 10 reps, instead doing more warm-up (sets of 2-3 reps)?

After I plateau a few times, I'll probably go to 5/3/1...








Linear progression it is. And I'll be doing only one ~all-out set/workout.

5/3/1 with DL instead of squat and a faster progression (I hope for 15-20 lbs/cycle on the DL) at least until I hit a long plateau. Then I'll probably squat (or do speed deads in the second workout)

How do you recommend I put the DL instead of the squat (for a while I'll still be only DL-ing):

Workout 1: DL "5", workout 2: DL "3" (same week), Workout 3: DL "1", workout 4: deload


Repeating workout 1 twice the first week, workout two twice the second week etc.?

Skip the "1" and keep to 5/3 until I hit, say, 330x3 (330= 150 kg = 2 x BW = magic)

I'm doing it anyway, the "only one all-out set" is...pure genius...