T Nation

Deadlift Training

Hello CT,

what are in your opinion the key points for the strenght training of the deadlift, if it’s your main goal ?
The deadlift (conventional or sumo ) is this kind of a lift which you should threat different than other lifts. I know in the past you have written the program(?) “deadlift friend or foe” however I think this program has other goals than I have. In other threads you said that you would most likely deadlift 2-3 days per week using around 80% sub maximal with low reps -no more than 3(If I remember that correctly). The conventional deadlift is also not usable with the layer system. Do you like cluster sets for deadlifts ? How would you structure it if one wants to become stronger at conventional and sumo deadlifts as a main goal ? I know it’s a very broad question, not very specific and getting stronger is mainly about fixing weakness but do you have any short input ?

Thanks for reading,

What do you think about this CT ? Could this work well ?

Monday: /
Tuesday: bench
Wednesday : /
Thursday :deadlift heavy
Friday : /
Saturday : bench
Sunday : deadlift light

For Thursday:
-sumo deadlifts 3-5 cluster sets
-conventional deadlifts 3-5 cluster sets
-1/2 assistance exercises for 4-6 reps for 3-6 sets

For the cluster sets :
Week 1: 80%
Week 2: 85%
Week 3: 90%
repeat or light week

For Sunday:
-sumo and conventional each 6 sets of 3 with 65-70%
-1/2 assistance exercises for 6-8 reps multiple sets

I HOPE you mean that on any given week you do ONE of these… because if not you will not recover… HECK 4-5 cluster sets of ONE deadlift variation is too much

Yes I am sorry, I meant to alternate on the heavy day sumo and conventional deadlifts however on the light day I would do both variations. Do you think 3 cluster sets are doable? Or should I replace them with straight sets (2-4 sets) + 1 cluster set? I appreciate your input, thank you.

I’ll be honest there aren’t many things I like.

  1. On the heavy day even 3 clusters is too much if it is used for the whole cycle. I would actually keep the sane (or a similar) intensity level for 3 weeks but increase the stress of the session by changing the number of cluster sets:

Week 1: 2 regular sets + 1 cluster set
Week 2: 1 regular set + 2 cluster sets
Week 3: 3 cluster sets
*Cluster sets being done with 5% more than the regular sets

  1. I do not like the idea of changing the type of deadlift every week. I understand that you were heavily influenced by Westside, but to me the REAL secret of Westside is in the weakness correction approach they use NOT the way they do max effort. I believe that if you want to be good at a lift, practice that lift more often, don’t change every few weeks.

  2. You are doing WAY too much work on the light day. Even if the weight is light (IMHO too light to be of any real benefit, especially for 3 reps) that is 36 reps of deadlift… too much IMHO. And the 65-70% load for 3 reps will not cause any physiological changes… they might allow for technical practice but that’s about it. But if you wanted technical practice you SHOULDN’T do both types of deadlifts, especiaily not in the same session (confusion of motor pattern). You could argue that using both types will lead to fuller muscle development, but with the sets of 3 at 65-70% that wont happen, you wont even recruit any of the FT fibers on any rep, much less fatigue them enough to train them.

  3. Why no squatting? Injury? The squat is one of the best exercise to strengthen the start of the deadlift.

  4. I cannot give a full critique of the plan because you don’t even tell me the MOST IMPORTANT PART: which assistance exercises you are using. Without that info the plan is irrelevant and impossible to judge the stress level. 6 sets of 6 reps (way too much BTW) of glute ham raise will not have the same stress level as 6 sets of 6 reps of romanian deadlifts which will not have the same stress level as 6 sets of 6 reps of pin pulls from below the knees.

  5. On the heavy days assistance should be mostly low stress work, basically bodybuilding work to build the key muscles in the deadlift. And using moderate weights for higher reps, 8-12 for 3 MAYBE 4 sets once in a while.

In general you seem to design your programs emotionally… you want to improve the deadlift so much that you are just pilling on the volume. When you are natural doing too much volume is the no.1 mistake that can ruin your training.

All and all II would go back to the drawing board, I don’t see how that plan could work well, sorry.

No need to say sorry CT, I appreciate your input and for taking your time, I learned a ton ! I will go back to the drawing board and rethink it … :blush: