T Nation

Increasing Deadlift


A little background info:
I was using Starting Strength this past summer and was able to work up to a 300x3x5 squat, however my deadlift stalled at 285x2. This confused me considering I was squatting below parallel and my deadlift form is at least half way decent. I stopped lifting due to football practice, and during the season I broke my wrist. Well now the season is over and my wrist is almost 100% better, so I will resume lifting in about a week. I have 20 weeks to lift before I must stop for my next sport.

My deadlift max is probably around 300 now and I would love to add 100 lbs to that in the 20 weeks. I was seriously considering doing the coan/philippi program, but I have heard many negative reviews. Many people say I should just do a linear progression program, however my deadlift didnt benefit from Starting Strength as much as I would have liked it to, making me think that perhaps my deadlift doesnt respond well to linear progression. What do you think my best course of action is to accomplish my goal?


Did you ever deload? Eat more. Why would you stop lifting in-season?


Yes, I deloaded a couple of times. I dont lift in-season mainly because I dont have the time/ overtraining. Regarding eating more, I have tried bulking in the past and the best I've done is 5 pounds in about 2 months. Actually it was like 5 pounds in 2 weeks and was unable to gain after that. I literally ate as much as I could which resulted in me throwing up a number of times and feeling physically sick almost every day.
As I'm reading this it mainly sounds like the same old bull shit excuses and I need to man up. However I would still like to know your opinions on what would be best for my deadlift.


Lots of DL threads popping up recently. Interesting. Anyway, look through some of the other recent threads about pulling. Lots of good info in those from several different training styles and schools of thought. Vids would be good too to help you with form and see weak points.

In any case, train the shit out of the posterior chain. Glutes, hams, lower back. Goodmornings, GHR, rack pulls, etc. Also, shrug and row a lot. And learn how to use a power belt. Fill up with air, push your abs out, and brace them against the belt. Helps if you build some thick, strong abs first too.

As far as the eating goes, sorry to say but you've got to learn to force-feed if you want to powerlift. You'll get used to it over time but it takes a bit of misery to get there. Olive oil, nut butters, bacon, ground beef, potatoes, died fruit. These are your friends. Dense foods loaded with calories are a great way to get more. Cram as much down your throat as you can and when you start to feel a little less full do it again. Put olive oil on everything, have 2 tablespoons of peanut butter every time you eat. Whatever works. It sucks but you'll be glad you did it later.


Professional athletes and college athletes alike manage to lift in-season (and for good reasons). You're not running a risk of over-training. If anything you're under-recovering. You obviously haven't tried "bulking" as it's supposed to be done. And yes, it does sound like a lot of bullshit excuses.

EVOO x 10 tbsp
Beef x 1-2 lbs

That right there is an easy 3500-4000 calories.

Honestly it sounds like food is your solution. That and possible technique issues.


Do you guys think I should do the Coan/Phillippi program?


I drink lots of ginger ale and take HCL and probiotics. If you wanna get hardcore about it, you can take ginger capsules as well (I don't like to b/c it makes me sweat like pig and makes my face flushed at times).


form video?
what is your
relative arm length?
how is your grip strength?

if you can squat 300 for reps to depth then your deadlift should be at least 350.
eating more is always a good idea when trying to get strong


160 currently due to broken wrist. Need to gain weight.
My arms are actually very short for my height.
Grip strength has never been a problem, but the grip of the hand where I broke my wrist is very weak at the moment.
Below is link to squat and deadlift videos. Low quality but the best I got.



Dont worry about overtraining, I used to swim for a national team and we would swim 6 hours a day except sunday and have 1 hour dryland conditioning plus i did weightlifting in the morning. I ate every 2-3 hours and snacks in between and gained weight while staying lean

Before you workout, eat till you are full and after your workout eat till you going to throw up and then eat some more.


My take on the deadlift is that you have to think in terms of building the lift by addressing its different parts. The other two lifts, at least for me, benefit much more from lots of speciific practice, with maybe a little closely related assistance, but to build the deadlift, I need to not only pull, but work good mornings/russian dls, GHRs, back exts, lots of upper back and trap work, and heavy ab work.

Whereas my squat improves from throwing more work at the squat, the deadlift has only ever moved when I threw a lot of work at all that stuff. And it makes sense...pulling is less technically rigorous than the other two lifts, but involves more total muscle. You've just got to get everything stronger.


I joined this form because I wanted to reply to you and provide my insight which I hope is helpful.

I agree 100% with this. First, I'm not sure how often you are doing heavy deads, but I'd limit their frequency. Deadlifts are extremely taxing on the CNS and it's not a lift where doing them more often is going to help it go up. As Ramo said, you need to address your weaknesses in order to increase the lift.

It's my opinion that many guys could benefit greatly by doing SLDL's off of boxes with moderate weight along with hyper-extensions (back raises) and tons of abdominal work. If you pull sumo, zercher squats off of pins help greatly. I also like to do a ton of concentric squats out of a power rack...take your deadlift stance and look at where your back lines up on the rack and set the pins there...load up the weight and squat it up. I've heard a similar exercise called "dead benching" so I guess this would be "dead squatting" but really it's just the eccentric portion of the squat without the eccentric and without stretch reflex.

Again, going back to what Roma said...you need to think of the muscles involved with the lift as a chain, and the weakest link in the chain will hold you back. If you continue to try to pull the same load, the same links are going to break. You need to use other exercises to strengthen your weak areas to bring the lift up. A good majority of beginners are very weak off of the floor, which is why I recommend making friends with SLDL's and boxes, it will build tremendous starting strength, to the point where you'll get to heavy weights that you blast off of the floor (at your weakest leverage) and you will be unable to finish...that's where pin pulls and other stuff comes in...for now, SLDL's and boxes, hypers, lots of abs and continue with your squatting regime...goodmornings are also a great exercise if you are comfortable doing them.

Good luck and I hope this was somewhat helpful.


So... what it sounds like to me is your upperback is weak (you squat more than you pull and when you squat your back is more upright more legs you get the idea). All of the above things said sound good. I'd do them if I were you.

To add my two cents... My upperback is/was my weak point in my deadlift and so I attacked it with what was proposed in an article on this side called, I think, add 40 pounds to your deadlift. Anyway it was a Chad Waterbury article focused on progressive movement training (PMT). I am sure your nimble keyboarding skills will get you to it. I used it to go from 405x2 to 475x1 in 7 weeks. The gist of it is to do rack pulls starting with a very short range of motion (try 2 inches) at first with 110% of your max or what you are seeking as your max twice a week for 2 sets of 5 in addition to what you normally do minus deadlifting of course and then each week lower the pin you pull from and slightly decrease the volume until you are pulling several single or doubles from below the knee with 110% of your max from the floor.

Give it a shot if you want. It is very intense and I would not do it multiple times in a row, but maybe twice a year in your off-seasons.



Here's the link


Whoever is telling you to not lift inseason, either stop listening to them or elminate them from your life entirely. Don't do the Coan/Philippi program because its too complicated for a young athlete. That program was designed for stupid powerlifters not for people who need to condition for a team sport.

I dont know how old you are but I am assuming you are pretty young by the tone of your question. What young athletes/lifters don't understand is periodization and programming were designed to sell books and fill seats at seminars, not to make people strong. That being said, if you want to get your deadlift up, pull or squat heavy once a week then pull for speed with lighter weight a few days later. Work the hell out of your hamstrings/lower back. Sprint A LOT. Eat until your stomach starts shunting food to your sinuses because there is no where else in your body for all the steak to go. And, for God's sake, lift inseason.