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How Can I Increase My Deadlift?

Hi Folks,

Looking for some advice. I’m trying to increase my deadlift. I’ve done 505, nothing great by any means. I’m 48 and played rugby for years. Retired from it at 43 and decided to get serious about my lifting. Lifting is something I feel I can do well into my 60’s, and it is a competitive outlet.

I’ve been stuck around 500 pounds for some time now. I’ve done a number of things to increase my core, lower back, and leg strength (Westside Protocal); however, I just can’t seem to jack my deadlift. I can do standing Good Mornings up to 315 pounds for a set of three reps. I can squat 500 parallel (everything is raw). Lately I’ve done a lot of single leg action like the Bulgarian Squats, straight leg deadlifts, etc.

I know there are folks out there who have been there and done that with similar problems. I’d be very interested and appreciative in anyone’s advice.

Thanks in advance…

I think we need to know more about where you are failing on the lift. Grip? Off the floor? Lockout?

Though you lift more than me, I’m sure if you identify the weak points you’ll get lots of tips for improving those areas.

[quote]vroom wrote:
I think we need to know more about where you are failing on the lift. Grip? Off the floor? Lockout?

Though you lift more than me, I’m sure if you identify the weak points you’ll get lots of tips for improving those areas.[/quote]

Thanks Vroom, good point. It is a mixed bag. Sometimes I come off the floor pretty quick and get it up to my knees. I drive my head and shoulders back and my hips forward. However, I have trouble locking it out. Other times, I get it up to my knees but not over. That’s one of the reasons I added in the single leg work. I can do straight leg deadlifts with a fair amount of weight, up to 315.

One question I do have is where should the bar be at the floor? Against my shins, out a bit even with my shoulders? I’ve seen it recommended both ways on this site.

Thanks again for your help.

Here is some general advice, take it for it is worth. I am not sure how often you are deadliftng, I know you mentioned you are doing a westside thing. Personally I never found speed days did much for my deadlift once I had the technique down, so I think you need to do deads anywhere from once a week to a once every three weeks, probably every 1-2 weeks for you to break the plateau.

Since you can get the bar up relatively high I would suggest rack pulls from below the knee at different heights, band deadlifts (my favorite), continue with the good mornings, I like the RDL’s better than stiff legged deads. I would focus more on double leg movements, I don’t think the single leg stuff will do much for you especially given that you have already been working on them. Make sure your grip is good (pull should be about the same with straps or not), keep the bar close to your shins when you pull. Personally I found that doing sets of 8 reps with 70-80% of my max worked very well to build up strength, touch and go the reps.

Hope that helps, hard to be more specific without watching you lift. Good luck with it

nptitm is right on, just to add something, do you pull conventional or sumo?? for me i pull sumo and wide stance squatting has helped my pull go up. Also try pulling with chains, that will really help at and above knees.

You must figure out the optimal frequency that your body responds to the deadlift. Some can deadlift every week, some once per month.

Second, you should map out a plan. For example, do 8 singles with 90% of your 1RM one week, 5 singles with 95% the next, 3 X 3 with 80% the next, then the fourth week try for a new personal best.

Third, you might benefit from rotating conventional, sumo, rack and band deadlifts on a monthly basis. Getting proficient at all of these will make you more well-rounded and might shore up weak links.

There are so many factors that can contribute to this stall that one message can’t cover it. The first question I have is simple…are you cycling your training? How aften are you going for this max pull?

hey man how are ya. to ur qestion about bar location? ive been told keep the bar close to your body, chin level.and the bar should be close to the ground.yes you can do stiff leg deadlifts of 315. do it with proper form.this will help out your lock outs.

[quote]Sons of Thunder wrote:
Hi Folks,

Looking for some advice. I’m trying to increase my deadlift. I’ve done 505, nothing great by any means. I’m 48 and played rugby for years. Retired from it at 43 and decided to get serious about my lifting. Lifting is something I feel I can do well into my 60’s, and it is a competitive outlet.

I’ve been stuck around 500 pounds for some time now. I’ve done a number of things to increase my core, lower back, and leg strength (Westside Protocal); however, I just can’t seem to jack my deadlift. I can do standing Good Mornings up to 315 pounds for a set of three reps. I can squat 500 parallel (everything is raw). Lately I’ve done a lot of single leg action like the Bulgarian Squats, straight leg deadlifts, etc.

I know there are folks out there who have been there and done that with similar problems. I’d be very interested and appreciative in anyone’s advice.

Thanks in advance…[/quote]

oh i meant shines.

Thanks to everyone for the advice. This is a great board.

As I mentioned, I follow the Westside Protocol, which means I cycle the exercises I use every two or so weeks. I do a lot of things to help my posterior chain such as box squats, good mornings, rear barbell hack squats, zerchers, Bulgarian squats, single leg exercises, sumo deadlifts (every now and then), rack pulls, conventional deadlifts off a 2 or 4 inch platform, RDLs, stiff leg deadlifts, etc.

I will usually deadlift two weeks in a row, then do other posterior exercises for two or three weeks, then come back to deadlifts. I’ve done rack pulls starting about my knee. I’ve noted several folks saying they can pull 100 to 200 pounds more in the rack pulls than off the floor. I don’t get that much carryover. I can only pull about 50 pounds more (545-550) off the rack.

One possible problem I have is long arms (6 ft tall). I’ve tried squatting more in my deadlift to use more legs, but if I do my arms are not fully extended.

Thanks for all the advice.

long arms are good man less rom, yeah rack deadlifts would help you alot it seems, I would stick to them until I could do at least 70-100 pounds more than your normal deadlift
“from your weak point”

also yates rows helped me alot

I think alot of people can do 100-200 pounds more than thier deadlift with rack pulls because they are only moveing the bar 2-3 inches


N3wb

IMO, to get better at deadlifts, do deadlifts and less supplementary work.

I’m also tall-ish at 6’1". My max 4 months ago (raw, with imperfect form) was 505. Then I stopped doing them until 6 weeks ago. When I started again, I dropped the weight and concentrated on form and have made great gains, although I haven’t gone for another 1RM.

I do them weekly with the following scheme at these weights currently;

10x275
8x315
6x365
4x405 (with hooks)
rep out 455 (last week x4, with hooks)
rep out 275 (last week x10)

will up the weight this week

All with near-perfect form. I keep feet shoulder width apart and keep the inside of my grip (combination grip) and bar grazing my shins and thighs on the way up.

On the rep out days, stopped when I felt like compromising on form.

I use the hooks on the heavier sets to conserve forarm strength because I do these first as part of a total body workout and I need the forarms for the other movements as well.

I’ve been making gains every week in weight increases or reps.

Again, all my opinion, this is just what is currently working very well for me.

My 2 cents here.

Weak at lockout, do some rack pulls. I can deadlift about 425, but I did a 600 rack pull the other day. It’s a monster ego boost and will help grip and back. As you know alot of lifting heavy is mental and pulling like that is huge mentally also.

I also found stiff legged deads, heavy 5x3’s helped quite a bit.

not an expert here, but just what I’ve noticed from my own training.

Good luck to you sir.

Thanks all. Sorry about the slow reply. Been on the road this week. There are some great tips here. I appreciate all of them. Best to you.