T Nation

Getting to a 400 lb. Deadlift

One of the things that shocked me when I first starting reading the forum was the number of people claiming a 400 lb. deadlift. I’ve been to many gyms - hardcore and not - in many states and military bases. A 400 lb. deadlift isn’t something I’ve often seen. (If you’re lifting that much weight, you’re repping out with 3 wheels and change. Again, that’s pretty uncommon.)

In light of the fact that so many guys claiming these number weigh only 160 pounds, I found the claim more perplexing. Granted, there are many people who weigh little but who lift a lot - but they are generally elite lifters.

Anyhow, I’ve finally figured it out…

If you add 160 pounds to the weight on the bar (240) pounds, you get 400 pounds. The numbers now make more sense.

I wish someone had let me in on this secret earlier: it would have saved me much confusion.

yeah you’re right. same goes for squats. highly overexaggerated numbers

I’m confused, is this a joke? Is the poster being serious? Lifters aren’t adding there bodyweight to what is on the bar and considering is their total. Any male lifter that is not ill, injured or deformed should be able to deadlift 400 pounds with a plan.

Funny enough I recorded every deadlift I’ve done since my very first deadlift. Here they are. This is taken from 3 years ago I beleive. I was 5’10" then, so I would hardly consider myself big. It took me 9 deadlift workouts spread over about 4 1/2 months, from the very first time I deadlifted to deadlift 405 from the floor with a belt.

I’m not bragging, I would suspect my results were typical for any person that was actually trying to get to 400+ deadlift. Pretty average number.

February 4th - 265X3 (SUMO WIDE-STANCE) @ approx. 152 Pounds Body Weight
February 18th - 306X3 (SUMO WIDE-STANCE) @ approx. 152 Pounds Body Weight
February 25th - 306X3 (SUMO WIDE-STANCE) @ approx. 154 Pounds Body Weight Miss 315(SUMO)
March 4th - 315X3 (CONV) @ approx. 154 Pounds Body Weight
March 16th - 331X4 (CONV) @ approx. 156 Pounds Body Weight
March 30th - 340X3 (CONV) and 365X2(CONV) @ approx. 156 Pounds Body Weight
April 26th - 385X1 (CONV) @ approx. 157 Pounds Body Weight Miss 390(CONV)
May 25th - 405X2 (CONV) (Partial from mid-shin) @ approx. 162 Pounds Body Weight
June 22nd - 405X1 (CONV) @ approx. 161 Pounds Body Weight

A 400 lb deadlift really isn’t that high of a benchmark, imho. It’s a decent lift, but pulling it off at a buck 65 isn’t that difficult with some smart training. I’ve hit 455 @ 167 in the gym and 451.75 in competition at 176, and these aren’t exactly staggering lifts.

That said, I generally ignore e-lifts unless:

  • Proof of having had said lift passed in competition (weightlifting or powerlifting).

  • Video demonstrating the lift in acceptable form.

Because I’ve been to gyms and seen the “sets of 315” some of these guys are doing, little dipsy doos going down about 4 inches. I’ve counted less than 10 people, I think, in a year and a half at my gym who have even hit (competition) parallel in a squat.

For something like a deadlift, many tend to be roundbacked + hitched, but minus hitching or ramping, even a “shitty” deadlift might pass in competition. So if somebody can pick a bar off the floor without hitching/ramping, then they are capable of a deadlift of that weight, imho, even if their back is rounded like the deez.

Of course, I come at it from the perspective of somebody who has competed in PL. For a bodybuilder or whatever, “proper form” leaves more to interpretation. Assuming a person isn’t doing something harmful for them, then not quite hitting parallel or whatever doesn’t mean they’re going to explode or are OGM LAME!@@LOL!!

But letting your ego dictate the weight on the bar seems more often the rule, rather than the exception to the rule, so yah, disregard e-lifts without proof. My $.02.

i weigh 162 pounds and currently my deadlift is about 350 pounds. I only started deadlifting about a year ago when I discovered T-Nation so I don’t think a 400 pound deadlift is that hard to achieve considering I’m only 50 pounds away from it after only a year.

I’ve always wondered about this in general…

I mean, seriously. I know I work out at a definitely non-hardcore gym (24hr fitness…), but nonetheless over TWO YEARS here’s the best-observed lifts I’ve seen! :

BP: Maybe 5% of the gym can bench 315 for reps… another 10% might do two plates a side, the other 85% are benching 100-150.

Squat: What, do you think anyone actually squats? Too busy curling, crunching, and pressing. The nice thing is that the squat rack is always free.

I think I’ve seen maybe a dozen people squatting, ever. And half the people who do are using <45lb per side. Funnily enough the biggest number I’ve seen thrown up is by this one relatively scrawny asian kid who squats into the mid 300s, probably at least double bodyweight – pretty impressive.

Deadlift: See Squat, above.

Now, I’m not knocking anyone for not moving around lots of tonnage – my own numbers haven’t even made it from Shit to Suck yet. But the weights people throw around on the internet are so drastically different than what I see in the gym that I wonder sometimes…

well I pull 555 right now and I have been off for a while, soon I will be at 600. I started at 405 in less than two mnths at diablo barbell I was at 555.

I deadlifted 405 after about 1 month of training (I mean 1 month after I started lifting weights, not 1 month of deadlift specialization), when I was 17 years old, granted I am a fat bastard though. I did put it on youtube to prove to a friend of mine that I wasn’t bullshiting.


Yes, watch my legendary round back deadlift form in awe.

[quote]shlevon wrote:
A 400 lb deadlift really isn’t that high of a benchmark, imho. It’s a decent lift, but pulling it off at a buck 65 isn’t that difficult with some smart training. I’ve hit 455 @ 167 in the gym and 451.75 in competition at 176, and these aren’t exactly staggering lifts.[/quote]

I never said 400 was great. I said that there seem to be an endless # of 160 lb. guys who claim a 400 lb. DL. What I want to know is: Where are these people?

If I had trained in the same gym in the same small town, I might have missed a few. But I have trained in numerous gyms across the country - including in major metropolitian areas.

You’d think I would have encountered more of these guys.

You have to understand the people posting these numbers, the people visiting T-Nation.com are not your normal gym people. Most of us are on the extreme side of things, or at least trying to get there.

The people deadlifting 400+, are usually the ones doing the research, looking to improve that number, reading and writing on the message boards. Any man can deadlift 400 pounds with some sort of training.

I’m sure there are some people that get gratification out of lying or exaggerating numbers on the internet. However, there are tons of people training correctly and heavy. You say you never see anybody squating or deadlifting, did regular people ever really deadlift or sqaut heavy in these commercial gyms, in any era?

I would say, there are more strong athletes, more athletes training correctly and heavy then ever before. Even if I read a thread of 500 people claiming 500+ deadlift, it can be easily true, 500 people is such an insignificant number. More athletes and serious trainees use the internet now more than ever. There are countless videos on the internet of people doing strength feats out of the norm.

[quote]Remnant wrote:
I’ve always wondered about this in general…

I mean, seriously. I know I work out at a definitely non-hardcore gym (24hr fitness…), but nonetheless over TWO YEARS here’s the best-observed lifts I’ve seen! :

Now, I’m not knocking anyone for not moving around lots of tonnage – my own numbers haven’t even made it from Shit to Suck yet. But the weights people throw around on the internet are so drastically different than what I see in the gym that I wonder sometimes…

[/quote]

Look, you are trying to compare two different animals. The people who work out at a gym aiming for overall fitness are probably not the same type of “population” to use a statistical term as the general level of people who browse and post T-Nation. I don`t see why you would be surprised.

In the gym that I work out I have a similar situation to yours but they are mostly accountants and lawyers and secretaries. It`s a good thing that some of them even squat and bench press.

Not that my numbers are anything great, but I pulled 350 relatively easily after two months of taking the deadlift a bit seriously (at a bw of 210lbs). 400 lbs is a good lift but if you are healthy and you follow some of the good old go-hard/go-heavy training suggestions posted here, it`s a very feasible number.

Dude, not bashin’ ya, but you are in the wrong gym. I have witnessed Louie Simmons DL 920 at 242 BW, at over 57 years old! Go to a sanctioned IPA,APA, or WPO meet. Andy Bolton just DL’d over 1000 lbs. My stepdad, at 219 lbs, in Zanesville Ohio, April 17th 2005, DL’d 660 at 49 years old. Sanctioned. And also squatted 720 in the same meet, with a 495? bench. Just get PL USA magazine. You’ll see the #s. I’m not a great DL’er, or bencher, but my squats are pretty decent. And if ya really want to be impressed, go to Westside-barbell.com. Look at the 3’s there, performed in a 700+ square-foot gym. Chuck Vogelpohl, Matt Smith, hell, Amy Weisburger, at 132, dl’d over 400! In competition!

[quote]Remnant wrote:
I’ve always wondered about this in general…

I mean, seriously. I know I work out at a definitely non-hardcore gym (24hr fitness…), but nonetheless over TWO YEARS here’s the best-observed lifts I’ve seen! :

BP: Maybe 5% of the gym can bench 315 for reps… another 10% might do two plates a side, the other 85% are benching 100-150.

Squat: What, do you think anyone actually squats? Too busy curling, crunching, and pressing. The nice thing is that the squat rack is always free.

I think I’ve seen maybe a dozen people squatting, ever. And half the people who do are using <45lb per side. Funnily enough the biggest number I’ve seen thrown up is by this one relatively scrawny asian kid who squats into the mid 300s, probably at least double bodyweight – pretty impressive.

Deadlift: See Squat, above.

Now, I’m not knocking anyone for not moving around lots of tonnage – my own numbers haven’t even made it from Shit to Suck yet. But the weights people throw around on the internet are so drastically different than what I see in the gym that I wonder sometimes…

[/quote]

Amy Weisberger from Westside Barbell totalled Elite for a 132 lb male, AND SHE’s FEMALE!!! Snactioned IPA meet.

[quote]KGeorge wrote:
Look, you are trying to compare two different animals. The people who work out at a gym aiming for overall fitness are probably not the same type of “population” to use a statistical term as the general level of people who browse and post T-Nation. I don`t see why you would be surprised.

In the gym that I work out I have a similar situation to yours but they are mostly accountants and lawyers and secretaries. It`s a good thing that some of them even squat and bench press.
[/quote]

Fair enough… you’re completely right, it doesn’t sink in sometimes how “non-normal” T-Nation folks are. I’ve been to a good number of gyms and known some strong athletes back in high school but they’re still… how would you put it, “strong-normal”. They lift because its needed for their sport, or because they want to look good. Whereas it’s a passion here.

[quote]T.J. wrote:
You have to understand the people posting these numbers, the people visiting T-Nation.com are not your normal gym people. Most of us are on the extreme side of things, or at least trying to get there. [/quote]

Most “active posters” seem to be afraid of eating. There is also a strong anti-steriod sentiment amoung the forum masses. I would be surprised if the average reader could pass a basic steriod-understanding test. So I don’t think the average “forumite” is much more hardcore than the average gym goer. (There are exceptions, of course.)

In any event, it is a SMALL world. Surely some of the people moving those numbers train in some of the gyms I’ve been in. Yet I have not seen many of them.

If it were only a couple of 160 lb. guys, I could understand. But it seems that MOST guys are claiming to move that much weight.

The real question is this: Who cares? A 405 deadlift isn’t impressive - regardless of the weight of the person who does it.

I understand the sentiment behind the post, but don’t necessarily agree. If I had to make a comparison, I would say a 400 lb deadlift is about equal to a 275 pound bench press. Starting to get into heavier territories, but still very obtainable with consistent training. You’re getting around the top poundage of most casual gym-goers. So, I don’t find it hard to believe at all.

At the same time, a lot of kids on this website are full of shit and inflate all their numbers. In the end, you can usually tell who’s telling the truth and who’s lying about their poundages.

[quote]malonetd wrote:
I understand the sentiment behind the post, but don’t necessarily agree. If I had to make a comparison, I would say a 400 lb deadlift is about equal to a 275 pound bench press. Starting to get into heavier territories, but still very obtainable with consistent training. You’re getting around the top poundage of most casual gym-goers. So, I don’t find it hard to believe at all.

At the same time, a lot of kids on this website are full of shit and inflate all their numbers. In the end, you can usually tell who’s telling the truth and who’s lying about their poundages. [/quote]

Good post. I generally don’t give a shit about people bragging their numbers unless there is a video backing it up. Now I have to go finish my set of 10 squats with 600 pounds. Seriously, my brothers girl friends cousin’s uncle was there and can back me up.

[quote]malonetd wrote:
I understand the sentiment behind the post, but don’t necessarily agree. If I had to make a comparison, I would say a 400 lb deadlift is about equal to a 275 pound bench press. Starting to get into heavier territories, but still very obtainable with consistent training. You’re getting around the top poundage of most casual gym-goers. So, I don’t find it hard to believe at all.
[/quote]

Well said. If I can do it anyone can.

[quote]
At the same time, a lot of kids on this website are full of shit and inflate all their numbers. In the end, you can usually tell who’s telling the truth and who’s lying about their poundages. [/quote]

It is the 165 pounders that claim heavy squats ass to grass that I know are lying. Or maybe I am just jealous because my back squat numbers suck.

i’ve been lifting for years and i still think that 400lbs is a lot, it would freak anyone out in a “fashion gym”

however there are loads of small athelete guys in my gym who are in the 160lb region pulling near enough that weight and OHS/Snatching some big numbers

and some 230lb beasts lifting up every 45lb plate in sight.

I’ll be near enough 400lbs by the end of the summer if all goes to plan.