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Help Me Get My 405 Deadlift

So, the second semester of college is drawing to a close – 3.5 weeks left. One of the many goals that I set for myself was to hit a 4 plate deadlift (405) by the end of my second semester, and I think I’m close. Here’s what I’ve been doing off late:

Three weeks ago:
(135) 8,8
(225) 5
(335) 5,5
(365) 3
(385) miss
(225) 8,6

Last week (3rd session after 6 days off due to illness, so was keeping volume lower than usual)
(135) 8,8
(225) 5
(335) 1
(365) 1
(385) 1
(405) miss
(335) 5
(315) 5

According to a really big guy who was training next to me during the session three weeks ago (he actually helped with my setup – some of the biggest guys are also some of the nicest, but I digress), if I were to come in fresh and ramp up effectively, I’d hit the 405. I’m not sure whether he was just trying to encourage me or if he was being 100% honest, but I think I agree with him – I feel like the strength is there, but there’s a mental block that keeps me from getting the 405 off the ground (it just looks so heavy).

So, do you guys have any pro tips? A good way to psyche yourself up and break the mental barrier? A killer ramping up template? Open to any suggestions.

One major thing: stop missing lifts. Also there’s no reason to ramp up to a specific weight unless you are planning on breaking a record in a meet. Pick a routine that allows you to progress for a long time and that 405 will come in no time.

One thing you could do is use a similar progression that GreySkull LP uses. 1x3+ once a week. Add weight every week and done one AMRAP set. You’ll probably end up pulling numerous reps with 405lbs with that approach.


Stop missing lifts, train instead of test.

Set your test date now (last week of semester is good). Train effectively until the week before. Back off training to let some fatigue dissipate then go for it.


If a 405 deadlift in a short time is the goal above all else, I highly recommend the Daily Dose Deadlift plan from StrongFirst (google it, links generally get taken down here). It’s a plan that uses high-frequency (5 days/week), low volume (3-5 singles per day) with generally moderate intensity (most of the work done between 75-80 percent of your max; you could probably do most of the work at 315). The article has some science-y stuff explaining why it works better than busting your balls hard in a more traditional layout when you’re stuck. It’s a really good program for busting a deadlift plateau.

For long-term continued gains, I’d probably recommend something more like 5/3/1, but if you’re set on peaking in a short time and going for a deadlift milestone like 405, this is worth a shot.

(FWIW, I am looking to hit a 500 deadlift by my wedding / 30th birthday in August, and from the gains I’ve seen early with this, I think it’s a definite possibility)

I think I should save internet face by saying that what I posted above was not representative of my usual training sessions – they were both attempts to actually get to the 405, because I thought I could. My usual deadlift sessions looked a lot more like 5x5s, with progression every week (in reps or weight, depending on previous week’s performance).

I like the sounds of both of these – I’ll look into both for my more long-term plan, after the end of the semester. Though, ActivitiesGuy was right when he said that I’m set on peaking and going for a short-term milestone. It matters to me purely in terms of achieving a goal by when I said I’d achieve it.

Thanks for this^ … Googling… now.

Good luck! I hope you get it.

Thanks for the replies, guys.

Have you been getting stronger doing what you have been doing?

If so, you could always keep doing it. 405 will just be another weight you lift on your way to wherever it is you end up.

Good luck!

I have been getting stronger, though I haven’t felt like the 5x5 was ‘optimal’. Honestly, I just fell into the routine because I’ve done it before, know it works, and didn’t have time to figure out something new. Technically, I don’t have time now either – but I’m procrastinating, so I’ve made time :wink: .

I would like to try something new. 5x5 has been a ‘norm’ for me for over two years…

I think just about anything sensible will get you to 405 and beyond. You’re close. Just be consistent, train to build strength, not to test it.

I think the daily dose deadlift plan might be a nice way to finish up your time in college and try to “peak” for your deadlift goal…the others are absolutely right that you have plenty of time and there’s no need to rush, but I can understand the desire of arbitrary goals…like I said, I’m shooting for a 500-deadlift-by-30th-birthday, although I hope it’s implied that’s not just a “get there and quit” goal but it’s really a “get there and then try to maintain it for the next 20 years” goal.

After completing that (or an abbreviated 3.5-week version of it with a deadlift max as the final hurrah), you could move into one of the many 5/3/1 templates as a longer term plan.

355x10 will guarantee an easy 405 lift. 385x5 will put you between 400 and 430, give or take.

I was thinking something similar… I have never run 5/3/1 before, but everyone on this site has been pushing it so much… It must be good. I think I’ll take the time to read the ebook during the summer and see if I want to follow the programme…

I think that arbitrary goals are one of the most important aspects of training… Every now and then, if I don’t set them, I’ll look at my log book and find that I’ve been lifting the same weight for the past month. Arbitrary goals hold me accountable to something – forces me to progress.

Thanks for this. As a mini-test, I may try loading a bar with 355 and doing AMRAP – will provide some gauge if the numbers hold.

You already have a gauge…

You max tested a week ago. You’re at least at 385,but not at 405. After 2 years of training, you should have an idea of how many reps you can do. Focus on getting quality reps in at a reasonable volume and intensity for now.

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1 month, 3 “tests”? You need a program you believe in.

[quote] You already have a gauge…

You max tested a week ago. You’re at least at 385,but not at 405. After 2 years of training, you should have an idea of how many reps you can do. Focus on getting quality reps in at a reasonable volume and intensity for now.[/quote]

This is true. Perhaps ‘mini-test’ wasn’t quite right. AMRAP with 355 seemed like a fun way to ‘[get] quality reps in at a reasonable volume and intensity for now’ – though ‘reasonable intensity’ is arguable.

I hear you guys though, ‘programme’. Seriously looking at ActivitiesGuy’s suggestion for the next few weeks, followed by something else for the long term.

Ugh… longer… though that’s not helping my case :wink:

Ive gotta tell you, Ive tried 5/3/1 twice and both times it only worked for 2 or 3 months. Even with the resets I felt like I was wasting time.

I think part of the problem is that you are trying to make too big of a leap in strength…ie from 385 >> 405 is a fair leap, I bet if you tried hitting 390 or 395 then 400 or 405 you’d miss less lifts & ultimately hit your target sooner.

Break it down!

Haven’t ran this (yet), but it sounds like a cool peaking/building scheme.

I’m going to run it myself after this 531 cycle (which, by the way, is how I finally broke through the 4-plate barrier)

Your next goal should be 390, not 400.

And yeah, program.

Daily dose deadlift is a good one for sure, another I always liked (atleast for longterm) was the Hepburn method. Just like some of the other best programs it should feel heavy but not undoable. Another thing, if you genuinely think you have the strength in the tank and it’s a mental issue, one little trick I’ve heard works is 3 plates and a mix of others that get you 405, a lot of guys put the stigma or barrier of 405 - 4 plates - in their mind so if 4 plates is psyching you out, don’t lift 4 plates, lift 3 plates a quarter and a couple tens. Also as others have said, find a quality program that you see progress with and stick with it, mine was Hepburn. I was fortunate enough that by the time I ever did my first rep of deadlifting I pulled 405 off the ground (ugly as shit though) and now right around 2 years later Im setup to go for a little over 600 at my meet in a couple weeks. Alternating frequency and volume can bump squats, practicing the portions of the movement and heavy accessory work can bump your bench, but at the end of the day, deadlifting comes down to grinding pound after pound over time, you cant fight it like that and no amount of frills will set you new PR’s. Good luck brother.

First time hearing that… Thanks for the honesty. Will remember the opinion when reading the book.

Hmm. That’s honestly very similar to what I do currently (with my once-per week frequency and pseudo-5x5s). Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

I hear that, guys. Think I will attempt a 390 or 395 a week or so before I need to go for the 405. Depends on what I decide on for the next three weeks of programming.

I was thinking something similar last week, as I was noting just how ‘heavy’ the 405 looked. Definitely a cool mental trick.
Thanks for the post overall, enjoyed reading it. Crazy that you pulled 405 first time. Was that after years of training other movements?