T Nation

Deadlift Program?



Hello t nation family!

what is the best program to increase deadlifts? i have been stuck on a 160 max. I was using 85% 3x5 program and increasing it by five. any better programs out there?


You can only get so far with linear progression. What else have you been doing other than deadlifting?


work up to one set of 5 rather than 3x5 at the same percentages. i’m assuming 160 is referring to kilos so make your next workout would look like this:

warmup 60x5 80x5 100x3 120x1 140x1 160x1 then work one work set at 170 or 180x5.

there really is no best program. find what works for you and discard the rest.


I’m just wondering, how come you don’t like down sets?


I wasted much time doing reps in the (deadlift). Knowing what I know now, if I had the time to start over I would do percentage based singles (off the floor) every other week with downsets for high reps done off 4" blocks. On the off weeks I would do high rep stiff legs or RDL’s.

The back is comprised of fibrous tissue with a poor blood supply, so IMO you really should train it like a ligament/tendon - Heavy and Brief or light and long duration. Think of laborers who use their backs for 8 -10 hrs a day. After years of that type of activity their backs get strong as fuck.

There are people of course who can make progress with intermediate load/intermediate volume deadlifting. I wasn’t one of them.


down sets?


T bar rows, bent over back rows etc. I do deadlift first in my back workout.


I was responding to @osu122975. He always talks about working up to one hard set and doing assistance work, I’m wondering why only one work set.


Do you only squat once a week? Building your squat will build your deadlift. With your numbers you probably don’t need much in terms or exercise variations to make progress but adding RDLs, SLDLs, or GMs would probably help too.


yeah i do squat once a week. been trying to add another day though.


even rack pulls are not bad as an assistance to deadlift.


With the main lifts, at this point in my lifting, it only takes one heavy intense set to make progress. I have a baseline weight in each lift that I make sure I hit any time I’m in the gym which is usually enough to stress my body to grow. If I feel good, I’ll go one more set over that. That’s usually the set that does the most damage to the body.

I grew with volume for a while on the main lifts, but at this point I find my baseline and one set over that to be sufficient for getting stronger over a longer period of time. I tend to get more of my volume now from bodybuilding stuff after and stay healthier. Intensity is the key to getting stronger. Its just a matter of when to apply it.