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Deads For Hypertrophy?


just wondering is there really any point doing low rep high set work with deads? Ive been doing 10x3 lately and then today I just stopped and asked myself "what exactly am I supposed to be growing with this?"

I know all about the supposed hormonal response to that sort of exercise but is there really that much hypertrophy potential for the lower back through deads? and also does the stabilising action of shoulders etc result in any serious hypertrophy? Im a happy deadlifter so if you tell me more is better Im fine with that.. . but just wondering. ..


The easy way to answer this question is 'what body part isn't the deadlift going to hypertrophy?'

I would say at most it isn't going to do much for your chest and tris. Everything else from the ground up is going to get stimulation.

If you work them hard with good form you will gain strength then to carry over to all your other exercises.

Definetly 2 thumbs up for deads.



The thing with deads, in my opinion is this:

Yes they require recruitment of many muscle groups of the body, as well as stabalises and mental concentration. But these things can also be negative, depending on your training goals.

To get maximum stimulation to any one particular bodypart with them you have to load it up. Hence as a result you get carryover and maximum stimulation of many other muscle groups as well. This in turn hits the CNS really hard and you feel pretty shattered afterwards.

Now, if you are a bodybuilder, say, is this really the best way to hypertrophy your hams, or lower back etc, or quads, instead of targeting them individually on a particular day, sparing the stress to the rest of your body?

I dunno.

Even powerlifters often break the movement up, and dont just do straight deadlifts every week. They may do partials, or speed work, or work the individual components of the movement, and put them all together on meet day.

Deadlifts are great. I love them. But I can see the point of the original poster.

They have to be incorporated reasonably into a routine, and not just done with a brainwashed "deads are the king of all exercises" mentality.


don't be silly

deadlifts are an essential exercise, no argument. only stop them if there is a good medical reason to do so


The more you dead the thicker your back and traps IMO. You can't get the same size from rows and chins alone. However, I feel they are the easiest excercise to overtrain on so be careful of intensity and recover.


Id never for an instance stop them.. . but what Im considering is changing the overall volume Im using.. . after all if Im not expecting phenominal gains that no other exercise will give me then the only other reason Im doing deads is for strength.. . do I really need to do 10sets of 3 for strength? and could it in fact be less than optimal for strength gains?


This is probably very individual, and I'm a 31-year-old guy (not sure how old you are) who works long hours, doesn't get enough sleep during the week and probably doesn't recover quite like I did when I was in my early twenties. With that said, when I deadlift I do only about 3 sets of 5 (sometimes only 2 sets!) and THAT "shatters" me, especially with regard to the CNS, often for a solid day or two, making it plain obvious to me that any more would be counterproductive.

I have, however, been getting stronger almost every time lately, and I definitely think they add some thickness and detail to the mid- and upper back and traps, as well as the lumbers, of course, and the hamstrings, that almost nothing else does. I personally don't think they'll do nearly as much for your lats as heavy (reverse-grip) bent-over rows, but that's just me.


When I started deadlifting (perhaps a year or so after I started lifting), I experienced size gains in my back faster than ever. I have heard that no other exercise is as effective as the deadlift for hypertrophy, and I believe it from what I have seen.


Once in a while I like to perform a 20 rep set with conventional deadlifts. Last one was 315 for 20 non-stop. It made my eyesight blurry for a minute but my lifting partners liked it!

Same muscle stimulation than 10x3... waaay different feeling afterward as well.

If you decide to try it, make sure your form stays true from rep 1 to 20. Right around rep 12 or so, you may get sloppy if you lose concentration.


The physiques of powerlifters (especially the leaner ones where it is more obvious) and olympic lifters should be enough justification for anybody wanting to "build a better body" to make some form of deadlifting compulsory in every program they design. More often than not, the proof is in the pudding.


I dont doubt this for a second.. . I am however questioning the volume necessary for deadlifting.. . is it worth lowering the volume used and focusing on deads solely for strength and not bothering with hypertrophy set rep totals?


I think the heavy relative weight that one can use with deads, and the fact that it pretty much hits the whole body is what causes a majority of the increased muscle growth.

Not so much from the muscle getting stimulated ideally for hypertrophy, but more from the deads forcing your body to produce more growth hormone (and some others I think) that other non-compound movements just can't make your body produce.

I think the relative heavy weight, and the stress it puts on your body has a lot to do with it, and I have heard of many people suggesting not to go into the higher rep ranges with them.

One reason not to go into the higher reps may be the potential to get fatigued and have your form suffer, which could lead to injury.

Good question though. I think it would also be a good question for one of the strength coaches on here.

You might want to try and ask in one of the locker rooms to get a more professional opinion.

If you do, post in here who you asked so we can see what they say too.


I'd say there is point in doing deadlifts heavy, for many sets and low reps. For one, the hamstrings are known to be fast twitch dominant muscles, so I wouldn't be surprised if they grew like weeds doing something like 10x3 on the DL, plus, as stated, the sheer amounts of muscles used helps, along with the disgusting amounts of GH released.

Currently, I'm doing my own version of compound EDT, and leg day consists of one 7 minute PR zone of front squats after cleaning the bar off the floor (thinking about omitting this, or doing just cleans, as the DLs work me plenty), then the second 7 minute PR zone is deadlifts.

I'm still in my first week (second workout out of 3 per week, each consisting of different lifts) of this "fun" program, that of which I just did a leg day yesterday, and I gotta say, my legs (especially glutes and hams) are killing me, along with my traps and low back. I've never been so sore (I know, don't aim for sorness, aim for fatigue management...). I'll let you know how my EDT DL turns out after 5 more weeks or so if you'd like.:smiley:


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