T Nation

Deadlift Improvement?


Hello first post... I am female yes and I have a loooovee for deadlifting.. however, I have not seen much improvement in going up in weight.. My PR was 245.. but I will admit it was scary and have not attempted it again.. I am stuck .. do you have any tips like 5x5 or pyramid.. I start with a warm up ..then 135x10 155x10 185x8 205x5 ...its pretty much hovered around that... any other exercises that will aid in my progress?


You left a lot of info out.

What is your goal? Are you eating to gain muscle?



What the hell?


If your main goal is lift more in the deadlift, I would seach around the net (Maybe EliteFTS.com) for a deadlift routine. If you are looking for a powerlifting routine to bring up the Squat, Bench, and Deadlift as a trio for a PL Comp, again, look for a program that focuses on that and has a good track record.

Just off the top of my heads a few might be:

West Side training by the big boys over at Westside barbell (Not a "program" but its certainly a highly successful methodology with massive reputation and evidence for producing huge lifts)

5/3/1 by Wendler (This one seems to have caught fire recently, and Wendler has HUGE numbers under his belt)

Of course things like your body weight, your eating, time devoted to training, style of training will all influence your goals.


A lot of experienced lifters on here have commented that doing rack pulls has brought up their deadlift.

As popular said, why was your DL PR scary? Did you have bad form?


Yea it felt like a had bad form... but people tell me I have good form .. I dont know I guess I have to stop being such a p*ssy. Thank you I will have to try those.


If you can do 185x8 and 205x5 what about 190x8 and 210x5? Try bumping up your last two sets by 5 lbs. Try to add 5lbs to a set every 2 weeks (or whenever you feel comfortable going up)


You may have too much volume at lower weight causing fatigue.
Try going from current 135x10 155x10 185x8 205x5 to 135x5, 155x5, 185x3, 205x3, 215xAMAP (I bet you get 3-5). If you get 5 then go for 225x3 next time.

How frequently do you DL?


It depends on where your sticking point is in the lift. If you are weak off the floor then rack pulls aren't necessarily going to fix that.


People usually don't know how to correctly perform the deadlift or the squat. Maybe your form is not correct, maybe it is, but you could read this thread, lots of video and advice about different lift, and many for the deadlift



Cut down the warm up reps, do the repping on the heavier sets, DL once a week (first in your routine)


Once you start lifting heavier weights on deadlift, you have to cut back on volume or frequency big time.

If you really love deadlifting, then I assume you dont want to do it less often. So you'll need to cut back on the volume then.

If you are going to train it two times a week, then have one "strength" session, and one "speed" session.

The strength session, cut back on the total number of reps:

General warmup
210xreps (3-5) This is your working set and from here is where you try to build and increase.

So you can do one main working set and try to increase that. I prefer to do many more working sets that dont push quite as hard, but thats personal preference.

On the speed day:

You'll probably want to use about 65-75% of your max (lets say your max is 225 initially, since 25 was "scary")

So about 170lbs. Do about 7-10 sets of ONE rep. The goal here is to work on your form and SPEED. Also, if you are weak off the floor this is a good day to do pulls from a deficit.

Other than all those basic training ideas, you can try to identify your weaknesses and work on those. (ie: whether your weak off the floor, aroundthe shin/knee, or at lockout)

Good luck, and keep your form from getting "scary"



Check some of the popular logs there and see what the ladies do for DL training... You could also ask Maraudermeat or Squat1000b700 (I think that was his handle)...


Is there anything you can do to assist if you're weak off the floor?

Is the answer simply to DL more with lighter weights to get better development for that? I.e. put the rack around your knees and lift onto that only to concentrate on the bottom of the stroke?


I train like this.

warm up with bar

if you felt like 225x1 was solid, then you would go 235x1.

I prefer training like this because I get a lot of practice on my form, and I can vary the weight and reps based on how strong I am on a particular day.


I believe deficit deads are often used for this purpose.


What I just started doing is trying to push out with the sides of my feet and pulling the slack out of the bar before I lift. Deadlift instantly goes up.


Thanks for the info gmoore.

Ktjfin (OP) where in the movement are you struggling?


Please refer to Mike Robertson's article on deadlifting.

5 x 5 isn't the greatest scheme for an intermediate for building a huge deadlift. Some people have built outrageous squats with a 5 x 5 scheme (eg, Brad Gillingham, Kirk Karwoski) but almost no one has built an enormous deadlift with 5 x 5. Most people work up to a heavy single or double (max effort) in a deadlift variation (snatch grip, sumo, standard, off a plate or box) in training. You can reserve another day 2 to 3 days later for 5 x 5 in the squat or a speed day. It depends on how your program is set up.

Before I implemented speed days, my lower body workouts looked like this:

Squat 5 x 5 scheme (Week 1: 4 x 5, Week 2: 5 x 5, Week 3: 3 x 3, Week 4: 3 x 5)
Stiff-legged deadlifts
Lunges 3 to 4 x 8 to 10
Pullthroughs 3 to 4 x 8 to to 10
Abdominal exercises

Deadlift variation (Week 1: 2 to 3 singles with 90+%, Week 2: Work up to a 1 RM)
Pullthroughs 3 to 4 x 8 to 10
Stepups 3 to 4 x 8 to 10
Abdominal exercises

Very groundbreaking, right?


When I got up to respectable weights, I started more of a true Westside program. The assistance exercises were the same but it looked like this:

1st lower body day:
Work up to a 1 to 3 rep max in a deadlift or squat variation.
Same assistance exercises.

2nd lower body day:
Speed squats
Speed deadlifts
Same assistance exercises

What you choose for assistance for the deadlift also depends on your structure. If you have a sort torso, and long legs, you MIGHT benefit more from exercises that target the glutes and hams more - like single-leg exercises, pullthroughs, leg curls, GHRs. If you have a long torso and short legs, you might benefit more from exercises that target the lower back more - good mornings and hyperextensions. It also depends on what your weaknesses are right now. If you have a flat ass and hamstring, then obviously those muscle groups need work. If your back is flat, then you need more work there too. You need to work hard on the upper back too, with lat pulldowns, chinups, rows, rear delt raises, and facepulls.