T Nation

Deadlifts vs Pull-ups


Hey guys just wanted to know from the forum which is rated higher for overall back development.
Which would you place 1st in your back workout (in terms of order of performing exercise)? Reason I ask is because deadlifts are very taxing, for this reason do you place them 1st or last?

And what would you guys find more impressive a 600lb deadlift or 10 strict pull ups with a 45lb plate between the legs? (I'm nowhere near either, to avoid confusion)


Good question deadgoat.
Personally I place deadlifts first in the work-out. Its one of the big lifts, and hence you want to try and progress with the weight. I think deadlifs gives you more mass compared to pull ups, and also does wonders for your lower back and hamstrings.
I think the 600lb deadlift would be more impressive, but thats a personal opinion.. 10 pull ups with the plate is pretty impressive swell,
Keep eating those almonds!!

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I always deadlift first, due to how much energy it takes. It doesn't take much out of my pull up performance afterwards. and the 600lb deadlift is more impressive imo, I'll definately reach the 10 strict pull ups before the deadlift.


I've done deadlifts both first and last... You can make it work either way.

10 strict pull-ups plus 45 lbs aren't anything comparable to a 600 lb dead usually... Though someone built really well for deadlifting might find the latter easier.


I'd say placing them first, but you need to be careful, even in a well planned routine allowing for recovery weeks and the like, emptying the tank on deadlifts is probably going to hit all your other back movements hard, keeping your weight lower on those exercises. On the other hand deadlifting is building those same muscles so its really a moot point.

As far as which is harder I'd say probably deadlifting 600. Its going to take anyone alot of time and effort to deadlift 600, where as the 10 strict chins with a 45lb plate requires more of a genetic strength to bodyweight ratio freak, not that it wouldnt take alot of time and effort to build as well, but id say the deadlift is slightly more impressive. However, this is very tough because I imagine there are far fewer people that can do 10 strict chins with a 45 on them than people that can deadlift 600... but I could be mistaken..


Thanks for the replies guys, there's alot of love for the deadlift on this forum.


have been doing hyperextensions for lower back work, I think they work just as well with less stress on the CNS, but deadlifts are far better overall


do you find that your other back lifts suffer when you pull first?

Agree with you 100%, when I did deadlifts 1st my back grew but my rowing and pulldowns numbers didn't move. When I do pull ups and rows up front my back still grows but my deadlift doesn't move. Most guys who pull 600 usually weigh >225 and when you slap a 45 on thats basically a 270lb pull up, not too many people can do pulldowns with that weight nevermind pull ups


dead's first then pull ups ( reverse pyramid starting with about 25 lb's depending on my bodyweight that day ).
i tried deads last and definatley feel better doin them first ( same goes for squats ).


All I know is that something is wrong with me. I deadlift over 500, but can only do 1 body weight pull up at a body weight of 247.


how much do you row and curl?


I tend to deadlift last if I'm fully training back( BBB only hits one back exercise on a certain day), because if my lower back is already dead then I am limited on the weight I can do on BB rows, T bar rows, or DB rows.


At a bodyweight of 160 I can get 6 reps with 20lbs in a pack.

My best deadlift is 300lbs. I suck at deadlifting.

I've seen more people doing chins with plates than deadlifting 600 raw, I think.


What is you main concern: Your deadlift number or overall back developement?

Most BB's train the deadlift last

A lot of BB's warm up with pull ups

IMO there are better exercises than either of these for overall back development but whatever works for you.

The 600lb dead is more impressive because its a standard lift.

There are too many variables with the pull ups


I think they are entirely different exercises and develop different muscles... someone who only deadlifts will have a very different back than someone who only does pullups

Since you said you don't progress on the exercises you put later in the routine - you could consider putting the deadlift and other back work on separate days? Idk how the rest of your split is set up but would it make sense to do deadlifts on a leg day or pullups/rows with chest or something?

Otherwise you just have to decide which one you want to progress more on I suppose


i'll echo what everyone else is saying... 600lb DL is more impressive than the pullups.

Why would doing a lift with 45 lbs be more impressive than doing a lift with 600 lbs? lol

Do you lift back once a week or more? I hit back twice a week and start with pullups one day and dont on the next. But I throw in pullups as part of conditioning circuits on non "back days"



Cant I have both? Going for the Dave Gulledge strength/physique ratio
What exercises could possibly trump deadlifts and pull ups?
Yeah I suppose a 5'6 guy weighing 150 would find pull ups easier than a 6'1 guy weighing 230, but strength is relative right?



Cant I have both? Going for the Dave Gulledge strength/physique ratio
What exercises could possibly trump deadlifts and pull ups?
Yeah I suppose a 5'6 guy weighing 150 would find pull ups easier than a 6'1 guy weighing 230, but strength is relative right?


I do a 4 day split which looks like this:
Monday- chest and tris
Tuesday- back
Wednesday - off
Thursday - legs
Friday - shoulders and tris

Dont think I can move deads to the same day I squat, and cant do pull ups the day before I train back

I got to a 405 pull within 4 months of training for it, so thought getting the other 200 can be achieved within 18 months but I still cant do 10 strict bw pull ups. Just thought most people would agree. Only hit back once, but I hit it hard and heavy
3 sets of pull ups
3 sets of DB rows
3 sets of deadlifts
3 sets of hyperextensions


I find the 600lb dead WAY more impressive. I could probably get pretty close to 10 reps with a plate, maybe like 8 reps. I've done 6 before. But my max dead is like 400lbs!

And currently I actually do these lifts on separate days, I find it helps my recovery significantly.


I have long arms so I'm built for deads. Chins are a different story. I usually start with chins due to how hard they are for me. If my bi's get any amount of fatigue I can't do chins so they are almost always first. I do deads on a lower body day.


In my gym, a guy even training legs will be more impressive to me than how many weighted pull-ups he can do.