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Big Deadlift Volume Goals

Lately I’ve become a deadlift geek. It’s my favorite lift and I spend quite a bit of time trying to learn things about mechanics that I’ve missed, assistance exercises, variations, etc. I’m 50 years old, 172 pounds and while I haven’t attempted 4 plates yet, I’ve pulled 315 x 12 on my last few workouts.

So I have this new app called Intensity, and it’s basically a tool for measuring overall volume on various lifts. Every easy to use, and the best part is a visual circular meter which shows the total volume of a particular exercise the last time you worked it out. So my goal is to match or better the last workout and it’s been a real motivator during my deadlifting sessions. After my main work sets, I spend the rest of the time grinding some lower weight sets using conventional and sumo to beat my previous volume amount.

Here’s what’s amazing to me…from the period of dec 12 to jan 16 I deadlifted approximately 132,000 pounds. I’ve been eating like a horse and staying ripped during this period and I attribute some of that to the crazy sweats I break while churning through my deadlift sets. This is a new thing to me because I usually do a few warm-ups and about 3 to 4 work sets. Kind of a minimalist approach I would definitely say.

So does anyone think some good can come from just setting a goal of trying to reach a milestone of half a million pounds in the next 3 months (including the 130k I’ve already done of course)? Or will I just get burned out? Might be fun trying to find out…or painful.

Been deloading this week and getting back to it next week.

and if some of you do that kind of workload as a regular thing, please let me know.

At 50 and 172lb this may very well wreck you but hell crazier things have been done before

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If you want to have a crack at it, go ahead. Personally, I treat the deadlift with extreme caution in regards to volume.

Kinda leaning towards this answer as well (although I’m willing to push deadlift volume a little more than you are, based on our logs and discussions elsewhere)

OP, I am sure that it is fun to see ever great numbers in the Intensity app, and I’m sure it makes you bust your own balls every workout, but at some point there will be diminishing returns from higher and higher volume, and I’m concerned that the endless pursuit of volume like this…

…is basically just piling on extra work that’s probably just for decoration. I get the allure of doing a special finishing-set challenge, but it seems to me that you might be better suited channeling it all into into your work sets, and using whatever is left in the tank afterwards for some targeted assistance on your weaknesses. Just curious, do you do any assistance work (hyperextensions, glute ham raises, reverse hypers, etc)?

FWIW, I built myself to about a 500 deadlift doing pretty much zero assistance work, so I can appreciate the allure of a minimalist approach…I just wonder if chasing extra deadlift volume takes you past the point of diminishing returns and into the “junk” stage where the additional work is giving you little/no additional benefit.

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I personally love Deathlifts with some volume, I like to get the volume when paired with another back exercise that way I’m not handling maximum weight usually only 4 plates. I like to set the number of reps and keep going until one of the forms break down. Also this is usually once a week. Then the other back days are more metabolic stress/pump oriented.

You had me at Deadlift.

If in little over a month you pulled 132000 pounds I think getting to 500k in another 3 months will be well within your abilities.

I strongly encourage balance to your exercise selection to keep your body balanced (and healthy).

I am also a volume deadlifter. I think I get the best results from higher rep AMRAPs for deadlift. That being said every one is different…I get better results in Bench and Squat from singles.


Wanted to check back in with an update. I had a nagging inner thigh injury that slowed me down a little (maybe from sumo deads), as well as a month and a half of cutting back calories – so the pace of my pursuit of half a million pounds slowed down a little. But I’m still at it, and with 3.5 months done since I started I’m now at 372,000 pounds.

I trimmed a couple inches off my waist during my mini cut, then went back at deadlifting with the same intensity I started with back in December. Something strange had happened.

My 10 rep average is now 335 instead of 315, and last week I got 5 x 365. I’m definitely stronger. I have a feeling the extra volume had something to do with this, but I also think the diet changes may have had some effect as well. It’s a good formula and I’m going to keep following and see where it leads.

I’m also a little heavier at almost the same leanness as a few months ago. I’m refusing to believe I gained a couple pounds of muscle that quickly, but I’ll know that story when I trim down to my summer body. At my leanest last July, I was 165 with a 31 inch waist. We’ll see if I’m heavier with the same waist size this summer.

In the middle of another mini cut, but I’m not going to slow down this time. I’m at 441,000.

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Just a quick update. I’ve stopped tracking and I was around 650,000 pounds of volume after about 6 months. Overall I would say it was a positive experiment. I do a weekly strength test on my cut, and I use number of reps I can get with 315 as the measure. Last year at this time I was doing about 5 to 7 reps at my strongest, but around 3 while cutting.

This year I’m hitting 8 to 10 reps(sometimes 11 if I had some extra carbs) while cutting. I can’t wait to see where it goes once I start making another muscle building push at the end of summer. The trick now is to maintain that rep range while get leaner.

I’m 170 now, BTW.

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