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Magnusson/ Ortmayer Deadlift Routine


Was browsing around last night at read some good stuff about the Magnusson/ Ortmayer DL routine.

Thinking of giving it a whirl. Anyone used it with any success on here before? Could anyone give me any advice on what I should plug in as my projected max? Pulled 364x1 and 315x5 a couple of weeks ago although I haven't been training too well recently due to a couple of illnesses.

Also what sort of other leg accessory work would you recommend doing? A DE squat day later in the week? Or something else?

Really want to pull 405 by the end of June if I can





I know several strongman competitors who have used the routine with great success, including Travis Ortmayers father, Roger when he was already North of 60. I would recommend no more than light/DE squats a couple of days removed and if DL is your focus, I would stick with this routine only until you hit your goal. There is room for heavy squatting every fourth week with this.


Here's the program:

Week 1

Sets Reps Weight
4 4 70%
2 2 80%
1 8+ 70%

If you hit all reps on Week 1 continue to Week 2, if not redo Week 1.

Week 2

Sets Reps Weight
4 4 70%
1 2 80%
1 2 90%
1 8+ 70%

If you hit all reps on week 2 continue to week 3 if not redo week 2.

week 3

Sets Reps Weight
4 4 70% + 10lbs
1 2 80% + 10lbs
1 2 90% + 10lbs
1 8+ 70% + 10lbs

week 4: Rest Week. No deadlifts, upper back only.

week 5

Sets Reps Weight
4 4 70% + 10lbs
1 2 80% + 10lbs
1 2 90% + 10lbs
1 8+ 70% + 10lbs

If you hit all reps on week 5 continue to week 6 if not redo week 5.

week 6

Sets Reps Weight
4 4 70% + 20lbs
1 2 80% + 20lbs
1 2 90% + 20lbs
1 8+ 70% + 20lbs

If you hit all reps on week 6 continue to week 7 if not redo week 6

week 7

Sets Reps Weight
4 4 70% + 30lbs
1 2 80% + 30lbs
1 2 90% + 30lbs
1 8+ 70% + 30lbs

week 8: Rest week. No deadlifts, upper back only.

week 9

Sets Reps Weight
4 4 70% + 30lbs
1 2 80% + 30lbs
1 2 90% + 30lbs
1 8+ 70% + 30lbs

If you hit all reps on week 9 continue to week 10, if not redo week9.

week 10

Sets Reps Weight
4 4 70% + 40lbs
1 2 80% + 40lbs
1 2 90% + 40lbs
1 8+ 70% + 40lbs

If you hit all reps on week 10 continue to week 11, if not redo week 10.

week 11

Sets Reps Weight
4 4 70% + 50lbs
1 2 80% + 50lbs
1 2 90% + 50lbs
1 8+ 70% + 50lbs

week 12: Rest week or test max.

EDIT: Haven't run it but have heard good things.


There is an old audio only interview with Travis Ortmayer where he describes his original routine, where it came from etc... I can't for the life of me remember which site it was on.

The ones floating around the net are often somewhat altered... If I remember right, he actually went up in weight on every set every single week etc (still did the deloads of course)... After a while (12 weeks at the most I think) he'd reboot the cycle with his new max.

I imagine that your current 1RM also influences the additional weight that isn't based off percentages... Similar to Coan's routines (not coan philippi) etc.


Can't remember where but someone else said something similar. Ie that he prefers to only increase the poundage every two weeks - made it sound like your 'meant' to do it weekly as you said.

Interesting point about how much weight to add. For someone with my sort of lifts (165/170KG max) would you recommend smaller or bigger jumps in weight?


Yeah was thinking of alternating between DE Squats and some light volume accessory work weekly. Pretty excited to try this out not done a exercise specific program before


Sort of depends on what you want to get out of one 12 week training cycle... 405 is ~185Kg.

Add weight too fast and you end up stalling early. Too little and you waste potential or take too long to improve your max.

I think that is why that guy came up with the "add weight every second week instead" modification (rather than halving the increments but adding them at regular frequency, I guess).

Most of the strongman I've seen use this were already pulling 600+... Some successfully did it in the 500's I think, even on top of heavy squatting on friday while doing this on mondays (the less of a squat you do while deadlifting, the more additional squat work you can do would be my guess... If you pull full sumo then squatting heavy in the same week for 12 weeks straight is probably a bad idea).

Many also purposefully underestimated their maxes, but I don't recall by how much.

So to answer your question:

Let's count your current max as 165 (the lower number you mentioned... You can get that with no loss in low back arch, right? I would not recommend using an all-out, shitty technique max for this sort of thing).

A 10% gain in strength over a 12 week cycle could be do-able. It's usually what the good trad. western per. programs go for, roughly (i.e. triple your old max, or 2x2x100% or some such) over that time-frame.
May need to gain a few lbs of bodyweight, but then again, the deadlift is not as bw sensitive as the bench for example. Still, the Ortmayer routine is quite demanding, so eat enough or it'll kick your ass.

Ok... 50 lbs (I'm going with the program posted here, not the original as I don't recall what it was like exactly and it may be too aggressive at your strength levels) is 22 point something kg, but let's make it 25Kg for the sake of simplicity.

165 + 25Kg gets you over your 185 goal, but also is more like a 15% gain, perhaps a bit optimistic.

So let's reduce your max to 160... That plus 25 Kg in 12 weeks ought to get you to your goal.

In other words, start with a reduced max of 160, add 5Kg every other week (off weeks count, even if you don't train there) to your sets. If you don't quite make it, you still end up with some additional time for a 5/3/1 3-4 week cycle or something before the end of june to make up the difference.

All that being said, I cannot guarantee you that you will be successful here. The program starts out quite heavy with 90% in the second week already.
I myself prefer programs that start rather light at 50-60%-ish, and I know that Coan's original DL routine (not philippi, don't have much experience with that), Karwoski's DL routine (same but less volume pretty much) or variation of the same theme using all triples for multiple sets (reducing sets as the intensity goes up) instead of 1-2 top sets where reps start at 8 and go down as the weeks go by (coan/Karwoski etc) and so on are all capable of getting a 160-170Kg deadlifter to 180-185 or so within 10-12 weeks if done right, with similarly periodized squats on top of that.

But then again, many people seem to dislike the idea of pulling fairly light weights for several weeks, or pulling for higher reps at first, or doing many light triples before getting to the heavy stuff... I need it that way though, I'm not built for pulling in the first place and going heavy all the time just beats me up and causes me to stall.


It was on the first broadcast of the RX power hour, hosted by Ryan Bracewell.


Thanks, that was it.

Worth a listen for anyone interested in the routine as well as it's origins.


Eh I'm stupid... (well, math was never my strength)... You'll be working with 90% at most, so of course that plus 25Kg for a double ought to only translate into a 177.5-180Kg single or so (depends on the person, plus minus 5Kg I guess). So you may want to work with 165Kg or even 167.5 as a baseline max after all, not 160... If you want to get the ~185 within 12 weeks, that is.

Not certain if the program will even allow you to make it through 12 weeks though, just a warning.


Reminds me of this program Herc contributed to a kid trying to up his DL in 8 weeks while prepping for a comp
Deadlift Singles Success Story

David Whitley, SRKC, CK-FMS

January 25, 2010 03:47 PM

In early November 2009 I moved my Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp classes indoors for the winter, renting a back room at a local gym that looks a lot like the basement from Fight Club. At least, if I could talk about fight club that's what I'd say.

The actual gym area is quite well equipped and on a whim I decided to do a few deadlifts. I was just back from spending a few days in Oklahoma with the Redneck Ninja, SRKC Jeff O'Connor and after spending the majority of the past year outdoors flinging kettlebells around, deadlifting was a fun and exciting idea to me.

I hadn't pulled for some time, so spent most of November playing around with Power to the People-style templates and working on the technique improvements Jeff had given me. By the end of the month I pulled 500lbs again, bringing me within 15lbs of my best ever.

The week of Thanksgiving I spoke with Pavel and he said " I have a routine that I think will work well for you, I'll send it to you." The exact routine is listed below, pulled from that e-mail.

The history of this program

Pavel assembled this odd WSB/PTP hybrid a few years ago and posted it on Dragon Door. Recently the routine resurfaced with the post on our forum by former RKC Nick Fraser:

"Been training with weights since about the age of 13 mainly to compliment martial arts and Rugby. Over the years tried many modalities and systems, most to complicated for their own good. My training started to evolve and my strength increase after reading an article [by Pavel] entitled "Commando PT" on Charles Staley's old site. After a little research I ordered PTP, the volume of training decreased and my strength increased exponentially. Looking back through my old training logs, my first deadlifts were well under 200lbs. Subsequent cycles took me to a 1RM of 450. Two weeks ago I pulled 540 @ 150 bodyweight at age 44 [using the plan laid out in this article]. I attended the Sept 2002 RKC cert and have since switched between KB and powerlifting cycles. I have at times attempted to mix training styles but time in the trenches has taught me to concentrate on 1 thing at a time."

On Nov. 30th I began in earnest with the following program, the primary goal being to see how good I could get at deadlifting and to see how much weight I could pull off the floor. My secondary goal was to up my double kettlebell press weight. Pavel's advice was simply "Just push the volume". The details of the presses are a story for another time.

I began with a 500lb 1 RM in shorts, without a belt, wearing Vibram 5 Fingers. On Jan 14th in the same shorts, same shoes and same lack of a belt, I tested my 1RM and pulled 565lbs, a 65lb gain in 7 weeks and a full 50lbs above my all-time best ever.

Here is what I did, plug your own numbers into the formula. When in doubt, round up.

Lifts based on current 1RM, rest 30 - 45 secs between lifts

Week 1

Day 1 65% 15 Singles
Day 2 70% 12 Singles
Day 3 75% 10 Singles
Day 4 80% 8 Singles
Day 5 85% 6 Singles
Day 6 Off
Day 7 Off

Week 2

Add 10 lbs to each day's lift from Week 1

Week 3

Add 10lbs to each day's lift from Week 2

Week 4

Unload with Steve Wilson DL routine from original RKC book
2-3 sets DL 2-3 times/week @ 26-32% 1RM
2-3 sets 20 kb snatches/swings 2-3 times per week.
(I did the Wilson routine twice and did a bunch of swings and snatches with a single 40kg kettlebell 2 other days that week)

Week 5

Add 5lbs to each day's lift from Week 3

Week 6

Add 5lbs to each day's lift from week 5

Week 7

Day 1 Off
Day 2 Off
Day 3 Off
Day 4 Off
Day 5 Off
Day 6 MAX Day (I actually did my MAX test on Thursday, I had a KB workshop to teach on Saturday)
Day 7 Off

Week 8

Unload as Week 4

Other contributing factors-

Pressing 5 days per week, 2 days relatively light weight with medium volume 30-40reps total), 2 days medium weight and high volume (50-80 total reps), 1 day heavy with moderate volume (20-30reps total).
Movement- I spent 10-20 minutes doing various CKFMS drills and Getups prior to the heavy lifting.
Bending Steel- I find this is a great way to ignite my nervous system and prepare for the tension to come. It's also an excellent gauge for recovery. If my bending is strong, everything else is too. If my bending is down a little, I know I need rest.
Eating everything with arms reach. I put on around 20lbs. The timing of the cycle with the Christmas and New Year holidays was perfect. "C" is for Cookie, that's good enough for me.

That's the story. I highly recommend this routine to anyone who wants to quickly to a peak deadlift, perhaps even driving it into uncharted territory.

both programs look interesting, and tempting but if your recovery is not up to par and diet isnt corect it could be suicide


That is about as good an response as I could have hoped for. Thanks.

I can pull 160 quite easily if I work up to a 1RM properly (which I've only done once recently). Last week I did 140x5 which was a +5kg PR for 5 reps (although it raped me) and then pumped up tried to pull 160 after. I was burnt out and failed. Lesson learnt there.

I'm going to take your advice, start with a 160KG max and then hope to add 20/25 kgs over the 12 weeks. I'm going to eat like a monster as well.

4 plates here I come crosses toes


If the ortmayer routine does not work out for you or you feel that it is simply too heavy nearly off the bat and you burn out, come back here and we can offer you plenty of alternatives. Good luck!