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Help Getting DL Back Up to Par

Late last year/early this year I was getting really excited about potentially taking a run at deadlifting 600lbs. I was regularly doing sets of 505x5 and had done a 505x6 then 505x4 in the same workout, DL has always been my best lift. I figure that put my max somewhere in the 550-575 range, so I figured I was within shouting distance, may as well go for it. I weighed about 218-223 at around 10.5-11.5% bf at the time. Then I came down with mononucleosis.

Long story short, the mono was bad. I didn’t eat for 10 days basically at all and lost a ton of weight. By the time I was back to “healthy” I was down to 180 and my scale wouldn’t even measure my bf.

I’ve been back healthy about 3 months now and my strength is coming back. My bench and squat have progressed pretty well and my weight is hovering between 203-206 at 8.5-9.5% bf. I actually like the lower body weight. The issue I’m having is my DL isn’t coming back at the same speed as my other lifts. The last two DL sessions I’ve only been able to hit 455x4. Last week I couldn’t even attempt at 5th rep and this week I tried it but failed at mid-shin. That mid-shin/couple inches off the floor area has always been my sticking point.

Does anyone have advice on how I can speed up getting my DL weights back up?

I’m running the same program that I was back then so I do DL’s 1x/week with my back (bent over and seated rows and lat pulls) and then I also do RDLs and glute bridge’s on my leg days as assistance. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Patience. You had mono, your body literally tried to kill you. You lost 40lbs.

Be consistent with upping your weight correctly. A scale can’t measure your body fat so stop using that as a thing, it’s fake news and highly inaccurate.
Be patient with training.
It will come back if you let it, don’t chase 600.
You lost 50lbs off your deadlift… that’s not that bad in the long run, you could be stuck at 135.

Make sure your recovery is up to par, it’ll take a long time to bounce back from mono.


Look at the positive side, your squat and bench are back to previous levels at 20lbs lower bodyweight.

The weird thing is that squat and bench are the two lifts that are usually affected the most by changes in bodyweight, deadlift not so much. Often people have issues with their deadlift as they gain weight because of a change in leverages, the fact that your body is behind the bar means that being bigger is not so much of a plus. It’s possible that adjusting your technique a bit might help. Other than that, you could always bulk back up to your previous weight.

I know how this type of shit is frustrating, I injured my back in June and I’m struggling to get back to my previous strength on squat and deadlift. There’s not much that can be done other than just keep training.

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I hear you about being patient. Definitely not my strong suit. I’m just kind of surprised my DL is taking longer than the other lifts to come back since its always been my best lift. My squat is within 20-25lbs of where it was and my bench is within ~10lbs (though to be fair I’ve always been a shitty bencher, 6’3” w/ 36” arms doesn’t help). It’s just mentally frustrating to not be able to hit what used to be my last warm-up set.

Also, I’m curious about what you said regarding my body trying to kill me? I’ve never heard mono referred to like that. What did you mean by it?

Anything that makes you lose 20% body weight is trying to kill you.

Mono can often lead to other illnesses down the line.

My brother in law got hospitalized with it 10 years back.

It was mostly hyperbole just trying to get you to realize you’ve been through a lot and it’ll take some time to recover.


It looks like your gaining strength back in proportion to your max on each lift. Totally normal. Also calculate a strength to BW ratio from then and now to see how close you are.