T Nation

Deadlift Getting Worse

Hey guys,

Before I get to the question, I have roughly 2.5 years of consistent lifting experience/ Along with weightlifting in high school for football.
I’m 5’9 185ish LB’s and have been running 5/3/1 for about 6 cycles now and my progress has been awesome.

Only issue is about the last year and a half my deadlift has gone to shit. I can’t even deadlift more than my squat which is awful. I’m really not sure what the issue is. I’m positive my form is good, maybe need some tweak here and there but its been killing me and not sure if anyone else has had this issue before?

I’ve been doing a lot of RDL’s and good morning to build my posterior chain but the weights still feel heavy as shit. Any tips or personal experience would help. I just don’t feel like its where it should be. I’m still hitting my number for the program though.

Post videos of squat and deadlift. If you’re not that big and you squat (raw) more than you can pull you are probably either squatting high or your leverages for deadlifting are not that good.

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Well in the past my deadlift surpassed my squat my tons.
I then took about a 6 month break from deadlift but kept squatting, but even after deadlifting for almost a year again, its just been causing issues. I was thinking of switching to sumo too see if it fit my body type better, but I haven’t really gave it enough practice. I’m deployed so when I get off work and go to the gym ill record videos.

How much do you squat and deadlift?

My last squat PR is 345 and my most recent deadlift PR is 335, but not an easy 335. In the past I’ve hit 365 and that was over a year and some change ago. I should be hitting over 400 by now.

I’ll let some of the more proficient pullers chime in (I pull around 400 max). The only thing I will say is that RDLs destroy me personally. It takes me as long as 2 weeks to recover from them.

yeah, that’s one of my issues as well. I did good mornings on my deadlift day and my lower back took awhile to recover from them.

Ya, I hate good mornings… I’ve never gotten much out of them.

How’s your conditioning? The reason I ask is that I’ve seen some improvement in both squat and deadlift just by improving my conditioning. It’s helped me to work heavier weights for higher reps (5-8) especially on squat without killing over.

I’ve also seen some deadlift improvement by switching from high to low bar.

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I did steady state cardio twice a week, and do the assault bike (HIIT) around once a week. Im also running BBB so 5x10 of squats, deads and bench so I don’t think im so far off when it comes to that. I also already squat low bar, I used to squat high bar when I first started lifting, been doing lows for about 2 years though.

How long have you been running BBB? Maybe you need a break from that much volume?

Only been doing it for a cycle and a half so far. I really enjoy it. For deads I only do 3x10 though.

I donno man… Have you reset your TM at all?

Not with deads… I actually started out about 80% of my max.

That’s what I would try at this point. Do you have forever? Honestly, I’d run the 7th-week protocol to gauge where you TM should be and go from there. Either that or just reset TM by at least 2 cycles, but maybe even further since you’ve been having the issue for a while.

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/thread lol. Seriously though what are you hitting for 5+/3+/1+ sets? List weights and reps.

What part of the lift is the hardest? Off the floor or at the knees? Grip?

Go to youtube and search for Brian Alsruhe. He goes by the handle @Alpha on here. He pulls 700 which isn’t WSM but it’s a respectable pull. His lifting tutorials were simple enough for even me. The bracing tutorial everyone should watch, twice.


Need more info, like on your last cycle what were the weight/reps you got on the last several weeks of DL? How often are you trying to max out?

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Yeah what are you pulling on your plus sets? ie, where is your training max set? I just had a record pull at the end of this anchor cycle (3rd cycle of the program), and began with around an 85% training max. Basically I never hit below 10 reps on any plus set.

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please post your training max in the deadlift.

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When I was in my thirties, my dead lift was higher than my squat. After I turned forty, my dead lift max dropped fifty pounds while I broke my college age bench press personal best.

I dead lift on Thursdays, but on Tuesdays and Sundays I might do kettle ball swings, good mornings, power snatches, cleans, loaded carries, something that stimulates various muscles used in the dead lift without over taxing them. My dead lift has started rising again.

Keep in mind I also do a squat variation every day; until I get back down to my college weight, I’m doing as much leg work as the rest of my muscle groups combined because I think leg work is better for stimulating the metabolism and thus burning calories throughout the day.

Does this mean that you are making progress in the lift currently and the lift is just not where you want it to be or it is not progressing as fast as you would like? Or is your deadlift actually getting worse cycle to cycle at this point?

The other information (current reps and weights, training max) people have requested seems necessary too, but I think it also makes a very big difference whether or not you are currently actually improving (even if slowly), stalled out, or getting worse cycle to cycle.