T Nation

Help me build a huge deadlift

Ok, I am out of school for the summer. For the last two months before we got out, we didn’t deadlift. We had to follow the coaches program, which was mainly for football players (which I am not). Anyways, I want to build a huge dead. I could cleanly lift 315 for steady reps in the 7-8 range, but our deadlifts were done with a trap bar. Today, however, I started heavy again. The first two weeks out, I took it slow, so as to learn how to deadlift with a straight bar. Today, I did 3 sets of five with 275, and 2 with 225. Trying the lower rep ranges, Goldberg convinced me! I have found that left over and right underhand grip works best. Do I need to alternate?
Help me build a huge dead. I would like to be in the four hundreds by the end of summer. Mainly I need to teach my muscles how again. I have already read the dead zone. I am waiting to learn.

Tiree, seems like you’re on the right track. Seems like a reasonable and achieveable goal. Good luck.

The only advice I think I’m qualified to put forth is your grip. I don’t switch anymore. I just grab the bar and go.

It’s one less thing to worry about in between sets. I can’t count how many times I’ve been getting ready to grab the bar and “dammit which way did I have my hands last set?” In order to feel more well rounded I do my warmup sets with an overhand grip. After that I just grab-n-go.


I’d recommend you deadlift once/week using a 4 week strength block to start. Something like this:
week 1- 3x5 (80-85%)
week 2- 3x5 3x4 (80-90%)
week 3- 3/2/1/3/2/1 (90-105%)
week 4- work up to max single

Following this you can do a cycle of partial range deadlifts which will really crank your deadlift poundages up.

week 1-2 Deadlift from mid-shin
week 3-4 Deadlift from 1 inch above knee 5/3/1/5/3/1/3/1 followed by deadlift from floor 2x5 (80%)
week 5-6 Deadlift from mid-thigh
5/3/1/1/1/1 (with straps) followed by deadlift from floor 2x5 (80%) after this lay off the deadlift for 10-14 days and without any other lower back work and re-test. You should be pleasantly impressed.

Isn’t there a porn star named Kelly Bagget?

As far as a mixed grip goes, either switch hands every set or use an over/over grip. Svend Karlsen told me that he injured his back through continuous use of an over/under grip. The uneven grip causes uneven loading on the spine and back muscles.

I would go along with sully, train with over hand and go for PB on mixed, you will fing you grip will come up faster using the double over hand .
Mind you im no power lifter so would be nice to hear from the other big boys (and giiiiirls).

Yes you do need to alternate your hands, along with what Sully said about your back and spine, your biceps as well will receive uneven loading setting yourself up for some serious injuries down the road.

I suggest PMing Goldberg and/or Steve C.

I agree with Sully’s point. I’ve stopped using the alternate grip because of the ackwardness it puts on my upper back. My pull didn’t even decreased with the grip change, so you might want to consider it.

What do you think limits your deadlift ?
For me, it’s my grip, so I had to use straps when I maxxed out a few weeks ago, but I’ll ALWAYS train w/o straps. I now follow a 6 day/week grip training program (KTA), with CoC grippers. I’ve seen GREAT results so far, and I’ve seen improvements in the gym as well when I do sumos or romanians during my current westside phase. Also, if your using gloves, throw them out.

Also, you might want to consider using Kelly’s program design, but make sure you add a good high set/low rep scheme with squats, and make sure you train your upper back heavy. I still believe the training with good mornings+box squats, and heavy upper back training, that jumped up my deadlift by 25% (405 -> 500)

Good luck,

A porn star named Kelly Baggett? I have no idea I’ve never heard of one! Also regarding your grip. Most powerlifters don’t switch the grip each set or use the overhand variety but probably would be better off if they did. It’s hard to make a recommendation really because training in an overhand fashion is likely going to limit your poundages. Perhaps use the over/under variety only when lifting weights over 90% and the rest of the time use the regular grip or even consider experimenting with a “hook” grip. To do a hook grip you take a regular over grip but place your fingers OVER your thumb instead of under. It hurts like hell at first but once you get used to it works really well.

Kelly’s training cycle will probably work well for you…the man knows his stuff.

I personally don’t do heavy pulls all that often. Maybe once every couple of weeks; sometimes it is more like every month. Instead, being the Westside advocate that I am, I do a max effort movement once a week that will carry over to both the squat and deadlift, coupled with a good amount of posterior chain work spread throughout the rest of the week (this, of course, includes a speed squat on to a box once a week as well). I will also occasionally do “speed” deadlifts once a week (on a different day than the max effort movement) where I do 5 or 6 singles with 50-60% of my max deadlift. Sometimes we do these off of boards, sometimes with bands, sometimes with other contrasts. My deadlift has continually improved using Westside principles.

I must make a note here that some people seem to have trouble gaining on their deadlift with the Westside system. Some people simply need to pull more often. If you feel this is the case, once again, go with Kelly’s suggestion for a training cycle.

I agree with Sully, Kelly, etc., that switching your grip up every set is probably a good idea. I had a tightness in one side of my upper back (when deadlifting) that has only recently begun to dissipate; the pain relief began when I began switching my grip. I have also heard Dr. Mike Hartle (one big, strong dude and also a chiro) talk a lot about the importance of switching your grip. Know what your strongest mix is, use that on your max attempts, but switch up on sub-maximal attempts.

I am now recovering from surgery on my neck dues to a DL injury that I attribute to the mixed grip. I enjoy the DL but will be approaching it with caution from now on.

If you have access to a trap bar, you can mix in trap bar deads for variety. I agree with Kelly. Overhand grips will limit your strength do to the decreased weight. A hook grip can help. Me, I’ve always lifted with the left hand pronated and right hand supinated.
Back problems at times, but mothing serious. I actually devloped elbow tendonditis on the right side that a few months with the trap bar fixed. after that hammer curls developed the necessary muscles to protect me.

I have a good hammer curl strength. Its my primary bicep trainer. Would that allow me not to change grips?

You know what? I thought yall were all crazy about switching grips until i realized i was sitting here rubbing my left elbow(which is alway supinated). I attribute this pain more to squats as this is where it hurts the most. It started hurting one day when i got the great idea to do triceps extensions on the sled. bad idea on my sled. Its hurt ever since. Extensions to my throat and chin also hurt some. but im sure that using that arm supinated on deadlifts even if i dont deadlift that often contributed somewhat to that pain. Im now icing it every chance i get with a family size bag of peas.
As far as tips on deadlifting. I would only do singles. Even when doing multiple reps i would stand up after each rep and re address the bar.