T Nation

Deadlift Progressing too Fast


I am having a bit of an issue with my deadlift PRs. The last few weeks I have been going for 20 reps on the PRs. I usually stop at 20, but I know I can do more. It just becomes an endurance rather than strength feat.

1X5+ : 205lbs for 20 reps = 341.53 1RM
1X3+ : 215lbs for 20 reps = 358.19 1RM

It seems that my deadlift is progressing fairly fast compared to other lifts. Is there a need to make any adjustments when that happens?


You’re getting too strong too fast?

That sounds like the program is working REALLY well. Definitely don’t change anything.


It doesn’t matter. There’s a reason why there is a 20 rep squat routine that builds both muscle and strength very well. Just keep going like the program says and if you keep progressing like that, you’ll end up peaking in really nice weights.


It seems most people in here say don’t mess with it and keep training. On one hand you will eventually hit a point where your TM is at or above your max. On the other hand you might not enjoy 20+ rep PR sets so I can see why you’re questioning this.

I didn’t max on Deadlift before starting my program and I underestimated my max. I maxed yesterday and will be adjusting my TM for my next round.

I don’t think you should do this frequently but if you’re just starting (like me) then you could adjust it. I don’t feel like that’s much different than setting maxes before starting but I’m only 6 weeks into 5/3/1. For me this is a one time tweak because I want to lift heavier weights for less reps.

It also won’t hurt you to wait. Start too light, remember? You’ll be adding 10 lbs to your TM every 3-4 weeks so in 6 months your TM will be about 100lbs heavier. I’m sure your PR sets will stop being marathons by then.


I would hate it if a lift got too strong…

On a more serious note, don’t be well rounded, be a freak. Don’t only attack your weaknesses, attack your strengths with the same or more tenacity.

There’s already way too many people with well rounded totals.


How did you establish your 1RM for DL when starting the program? Also the estimated 1RM are pointless for 20 reps.


This. The estimated max is supposed to be there as a way to see how you’re progressing and going up without maxing. Its for people who can’t wrap their head around how if they did 100 kg for 3 a few months ago and now can do 95 for 10 they’ve obviously gotten stronger. The issue with the estimated one, however, is that you haven’t actually pulled it. The estimation means absolutely nothing until you have it in your hands.


Also wanted to add, when I have an idea for how many reps I want, I tend to hit that number (or at least +/- 2 reps). When you go in thinking you’re going to hit your plus sets for 20, chances are you’ll get pretty damn close to 20.


I switched to 5/3/1 from Starting Strength and calculated my 1RM based on 5RM I was lifting at that time. It was 220# for 5 reps with good form.

Starting Strength eventually got too exhausting for me even with plenty of rest and I quickly stalled on squats. After a month on 5/3/1 I was able to get better results on my squats and deffinately deadlifts.

Even though I got better at deadlifts my squats need to improve.


Are you saying that it was more of a mental barrier in the first place? After hitting 20 on my good day one week I knew that I can do it the next week, and so I did it. That is interesting. I usually estimate how many reps I need to get to come close to the the previous PR. I have a goal to go over that threshold, but sometimes end up having someone else take the bar off my back when it comes to squats. :slight_smile:


Agreed. Once upon a time I squatted 235 for 20 reps. The RM is just a shade under 400 but I’ve never squatted more than 365 with my current form (proper depth).

On the flip side I pulled 320 for 12 reps which is around a 425 RM. Went to the gym yesterday and pulled 450x1.


Again, agree 100%. I use the RM to determine how many reps I need to do to beat last week. I’m doing 5/3/1. Funny how once I hit my goal I shut down and stop.


do some joker sets after your PR set on the 3s week to find your 3RM. This wont be your actual 3RM due to fatigue from your previous sets - but this may give you a better ground to calculate your 1RM, then adjust your TM from there. I’m going to take a wild guess, however, that you wont be able to do 20 rep deadlifts for long. Personally, I wouldn’t change anything - come back in 10 cycles and if you’re doing 315 for 20 reps, you should be pretty damn stoked about how strong you got. 10 cycles after that, again, if you’re hitting 415 for 20 reps, well my friend, you’re a beast. Now, if you’re going to be competing in a meet sometime soon, you should probably find your actual 3RM or 5RM, estimate your 1RM, then adjust your TM accordingly; otherwise keep hitting 20 reps until you’re doing it with 1000 pounds (hint: you never will).


I had similar issue. :slight_smile: At first, in my spreadsheet I called those “goal” reps. A short while after I noticed that once I hit the “goal” reps I mentally don’t want to push myself further. Now, I call those “threshold” reps. This helps me set myself up mentally in such a way that I see my actually work for the day beginning after these reps.


I think it is a great idea to use joker set to estimate 1RM. Doing deadlifts for more than 10 reps is pretty taxing. By the end of the session I don’t want to do anything else but rest for the next few days. I think I will just do the program as it is and let the weight/reps self-adjust with time. I guess, I will have to wait for sometime before DL will become challenging enough.


I would cap reps at 10 then do jokers, at least for a short time. Your already at the point where 10 reps is progress based on where you started. Realistically your just good at doing high reps at that weight, unless your goal is 20 rep deadlifts it won’t help other goals. The problem with that many reps on this program is all of a sudden the reps will drop faster than normal and you’ll feel like no progress is being made.


First world problems :wink:

So you’ve been seeing this for all of two weeks. Give it time.


The program tells you to start light and it will catch up to ya quick. I had a similar problem when I started but it was OHP not DL. I didn’t get a max for pressing and greatly underestimated it. I ended up increasing the weight on my own instead of following to plan and regretted it. I think I would’ve made a better progression using the (+) reps instead.
That being said, I can’t advocate 20+ reps in DL. Most people that I’ve seen can’t hold form for that many reps. They’ll round back or bounce weight and at that point what’s the point…?
Are you using Joker sets? Add 5-10% Joker set and see how that feels.


5 rep Joker sets after a capped set seem like a good option for you.


lol I am glad they don’t show that on TV.
I will give jokers a shot. That way I won’t have to adjust anything.