T Nation

Training to Deadlifting 800lbs


Serious question, sort of. I don't really care about squat or bench all that much, and would like to max out my deadlift as much as possible. I realize there will be some carry over from squat to deadlift, but i'd be totally fine if i was pulling 800 and only squatting 400.

I'm 6'9", 242-248 lbs, 8ish% bodyfat, 24 years old, and have been training (consistently) for 2-2.5 years. I started in 2010. My current deadlift is 495 x 1, and 405 x 8. I realize this will take a long time, and I may not ever accomplish this goal. However, it's a goal I have nonetheless.

My current programming is more on the lines of a bodybuilding style split, but I'm ready to transition back into a program that focuses on hitting bigger numbers. What would you guys suggest? I did 5-3-1 for about 7 months, and had solid success with that, but that's not as "deadlift-centric" as I feel like it could be.


edit - staying natty. also, i feel like i should just go back to 5-3-1, but I'm still interested in hearing what other people have to suggest for maximizing deadlift performance.


surovetsky's deadlift routine is two days a week for 9 weeks. it took me from 295->350, then I stayed there and worked to bring my squat up, and then from 355 (after a two month break from lifting) to 405. I did the volume day on monday and heavy day on friday. The first time I did the program I added light squatting on wednesdays, the second time i added med-heavy squats and rack pulls below the knee for volume after deadlifting on friday and only benched on wednesday. I added the rack pulls because my limiting factor in hitting a PR the first time was my grip and upper back posture. This program is great but my squat suffers or stalls for the duration of it, so I haven't run it since (2 years ago).


Staying natty is gonna be a problem for you if you actually want to deadlift 800.


Agree with Sulli on this alot. Not saying it can't be done but naturally your not pulling 600 or 700 pounds. So to naturally add 300 plus pounds to a natural max when your already well a head of many is not a easy thing to do. With that being said your 6'9" and only 240. Your frame has a massive amount of room to fill out and I think you would benefit greatly from it.


If you want to pull 800, I'd forget about the body fat % and start eating. (Milk and Dbol, lol.)

I don't see why you can't do it though. Keep squatting, but use it as an assistance movement, with the emphasis always being your deadlift.

Edit:For what your talking about, I would do something like

Monday: Deadlift (following 5,3,1), Squat 3x8-12, Zerchers or Dimel deadlift 3 x 20.
Thursday: Deadlift (speed pulls), Front squat 3x8-12, Rows, shrugs


Awesome. Took a look at the deadlift program. Do I just push squats aside? Do I do anything for glutes/hamstrings/back, or is it zero assistance work?

I'm hoping I can use the fact that I DO have quite a bit left to fill out to my advantage. I'm skinny as crap. I feel like I have another 50-60 pounds I could tack on pretty easily, my body just hates gaining weight. I realize it's a lofty goal, but I don't see me being happy until I've at least hit 700 haha.

That makes sense. Is higher rep stuff fine? Like, just rep 3 sets of 225 x 10 after deadlifts? And yeah, I'm not trying to stay sub 10% bf, it's just what my body wants to do. I could probably be a bit more honest with my caloric intake, though. I generally get around 6000-7000 cals a day, but I've been slacking over the past two weeks (probably around 4000), and that just won't do.


I think you should gradually increase your deadlifting frequency and volume over time. A good way to do this would be increasing frequency of speed pulls. If you don't really care about squat or bench, you can deadlift 3-4 times a week over time. I have a 570 raw deadlift @ 18 y/o 217 lbs, just so it doesn't look like I'm talking complete shit. I think you can do it, but you'd have to be willing to gain 100 lbs being that tall.


Yea, the higher rep stuff after is a good way to go about it. Just be careful and listen to your body. I wouldn't recommend deadlifting heavy more than once a week.


Well do you want 700 or 800 lol? There's a big difference.

I've seen a few posts like this before where someone has been training for a couple or three years and has built up to a decent enough lift you know? I mean they're certainly not a weakling, but then they say they have some insane goal like an 800 pull or a 2000 raw total, and they always want to do it natty.

I don't know if you realize the kind of people who can pull that off. It HAS been done, but the people who hit those were already deadlifting 600lbs like halfway through high school. Regardless of height, if you're 245 and are pulling 500 after 2+ years, you're just not one of those people. I'm not one either. They're one in a million, but I just don't see the value in setting a completely unrealistic goal.


I approach lifting with a bit of a different mind set than what i gave off, i guess. I'm kind of like "hope for x, be ecstatic with y, and be really happy with z". As in, i'd be fine dying if i pulled 800. I'd be ecstatic if i got 750, and really, really happy if i ever hit 700. But that doesn't mean i'm not making 800 a goal, you know? I realize it might be impossible, which is why i noted that i may never achieve it in my original post. But that's not going to deter me from trying or hoping.


I think what csulli is saying is make your goals realistic in the meantime. If you want an 800 lifetime deadlift PR, great. But it will take a ton of 20 pound PRs to get there. If your at 500, your next 8 week goal is 520. As you go up, the PRs get smaller. 10 pounds here, 5 pounds there. It may take 10 years to get to that 700, 750, or 800, if you can make it at all. That is a real commitment, don't take it lightly.


I want to squat 1000lbs raw natty in a few years. What should I do guys?


Why don't you just make a normal goal of 585 and another goal once you get there. I'm not sure the type of training matters that much either until you get closer to the goal. Switching from "bodybuilding" style training to strength isn't going to add 300lbs to a lift.


I know that you were exaggerating when you said you would be willing to deadlift 800 while only squatting 400 but keep in mind that Lamar Gant pulled 688 and squatted 550 in the 132 lb weight class. Squatting may be worthwhile for building leg and core strength without over-training the lower back.

Surovetsky's deadlift routine looks pretty good but if you need more volume to progress then you could try the 5/3/1 BBB Challenge where assistance lifts are done at 5x10x50% for the first month and goes up to 5x10x70% in the third month - this high volume should stimulate strength gains. You could then transition to any form of 5/3/1 to peak and then repeat.

Instead of doing low bar squats for the third training day I would instead do paused high bar squats, front squats, zercher squats or anything else that emphasizes core development while not significantly taxing the lower back. The intensity for the third training day should be reduced to a point low enough so that in can never affect your performance for the deadlift session. Doing this will allow you to have a "deadlift-centric" 5/3/1 training routine.


Ya, dogg. 585 is the next goal, and 675 after that. End goal is just 800. I'm not expecting to wake up being able to deadlift 800 lbs tomorrow, or in 5 years for that matter. Or 10. I realize I may never be able to, and that's okay. I'm really just concerned with swapping to a training program that's focused on maximizing my deadlift performance, as I completely agree that "switching from "bodybuilding" style training to strength isn't going to add 300lbs to a lift."

Didn't mean to ruffle any feathers with my post or sound ignorant, arrogant, prideful or w/e. Thanks for the response, though.


Change the word natty to Trened out of my mind. That's what I would start with.


Squats and Milk??


IMO, it's good to have short and long term goals. I have yearly goals as well as lifetime goals. The lifetime goals keep me motivated for the big picture while the short term goals help me assess my training methods. Sometimes the short term goals need to change but the long term goals don't.


top ramen and tuna


Build up over time to lots of volume at moderately heavy weights with a high frequency. Identify where you're weak and throw more volume at your weaknesses. Video every session from multiple angles to help identify issues (weaknesses, form deterioration, etc.) and work on those issues. Put very high priority on diet and recovery. Gain weight. Continue for at least a decade.