Help with Deadlift Programming

Hey guys,

I feel that, at 345 lbs, benching 365 and deadlifting 365, is, well, pathetic. But right now I’m overly concerned with my deadlift. I have taken a huge interest in peaking it lately and would like to get it up to 500+ relatively soon (6-12 months). Now, this may seem a lot to some, but when I was 14, my first day in the gym I pressed 240 and deadlifted 315. I know it’s in my blood and bones, I just need the training. I have sensitive lower back and hip muscles so I err on the side of low to moderate volume. I’m most powerful off the floor (Weird, right?). I love both Sumo and Conventional like I love Thick AND thin women. I haven’t decided which to compete with (probably… yeah nope.)
Basically, If I had to play Screw, Marry, Kill, It would be Deadlift, Bench, Squats. What do you guys think? How would you program this? Any suggestions or comments?

What kind of programming are you following now? Deficit deadlifts have helped me the most. I think as far as the lockout its better to strengthen the glutes and hams than to beat rack pulls to death. You might try speed work also. I use 65-75% for 6-10 singles.

I’ve always been a fan of the “less is more” approach on deadlifts. If your technique is fine and you don’t need frequent practice on that matter, you don’t really need to pull two or three times a week.

One hard set once a week maybe followed by some back-off sets if you feel like it is one way to go and that has worked for me. I used to alternate between regular and band loaded deadlifts from week to week and got amazing results.

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I go the opposite way for deads personally to the more is more. We are all different. If that is his bench vs Dead I think he might qualify for some more is more too.

Get your form down on lock (take some videos look at them post them here). That will probably add 50 pounds to your dead right there.

But it should also fix your back issues.

For me the biggest issue with less is more is that means heavier weights usually and that leads to back tenderness in me. So hit some reps, build all those muscles that keep your back strong.

Sample Deadlift Workout to be performed every 3rd to 5th day:

Percentages based off of working weight
3-5 reps @25%-50%-75%-90%

3 sets of max reps @ Working weight (100%)

If you get 20+ reps in those 3 sets add 5% for next workout.

Start around 225-275.

and if your time line is 6 months to a year then do this for 5 months to 11 months.

You can test your 1RM as often as you want but ideally less than once a month.

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Just to add yet another opinion to the fray…if making some short-term deadlift progress is a major goal, I highly recommend the StrongFirst Daily Dose Deadlift approach, basically a high frequency, low volume approach, 3-5 deadlift singles per day, 3-5 days per week, mostly working at about 75-80 percent, going heavier once or twice a week. Using something very similar, I went from pulling 405 in January to pulling 500 in July. Details can be found in my training log.

Hey ActivitiesGuy, I like that approach. I’ve definitely felt that high
volume wrecks me, and my other lifts suffer. I’m going to give this a try.
How do you progress? Is it 45 days based on your current Max then
recalculate, or add 5 lbs/we, etc, etc?

Buy Rippetoe’s book “Starting Strength”. You need basics at this point. Forget about time span to 500. You need to get 370 first.

Your back isn’t sensitive its weak. A muscle spasm is a protective mechanism. The muscle that spasms is WEAK and needs to be trained. What I would have a beginner do is moderate load (in your case, I would begin with 185) deadlifting for high reps. Frequency needs to be experimented with, but this high rep low volume is easier to recover from and the tiny ligaments, tendons and muscles respond well to this type of training (check out labor work-moderate load high frequency). Once your back has adapted, then you can load up.

Next, you bench the same weight as your deadlift - are your arms short? You may need to sumo, but i would stay away from the sumo until you can easily pull double bodyweight…

Good luck