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What is More Important in Deadlift Training, Volume or Intensity?


Is volume with submax weight (60-75%) with a Total of over 50reps x session?
Or High intensity 85-95% of doubles?
I did in the past sheiko 29/37 and the volume was super High, but was not used to grinding reps anymore.


Well both are obviously important but the ratio really depends on your goals. This being the powerlifting section, I’m assuming your goals are in developing your 1RM. Periodization (adjusting volume and intensity over time) usually works well. It reduces the risk of overtraining and often yields better results. Basically higher volume training at the start of the cycle which is followed by a higher intensity (less volume) phase which in turn is followed by a max strength phase (high intensity low volume). Training %'s can vary from person to person according to their abilities but 65–80%, 80–90% and 90–95% for each phase might work. I’d also do some higher % reps during the lightest phase too, but keeping them fairly low RPE (like singles with 3–4RM’s or doubles with 5RM’s).

But that’s just my opinion, some people might have a different approach and it might work for them.


As locomotor said, there is an inverse relationship between volume and intensity, and you can’t separate them. There are some guys out there who pull one heavy set a week (or maybe even two weeks) and make progress, but if they were pulling 60% for a triple it wouldn’t work. Higher intensity is better for building strength, but your potential for strength is limited by muscle mass. If you need more muscle then you definitely need more volume. You still need some volume for strength but the threshold is lower. You could say that enough volume to maintain muscle mass and still make progress is sufficient, but then the question is would you make more progress with slightly more volume? It’s a bit of a balancing act because if you do too much then you will not recover. This applies to all lifts, just there are a lot of people who do well with lot deadlift volume.

As for Sheiko, the sample programs are all for lower level lifters. There used to be a sample of one of Yuri Fedorenko’s training cycles, there were lots of singles at 90% and the intensity was much higher than in the sample programs. Sheiko has said that you need to progressively increase volume until you reach you optimal weight (based on your height, he has a chart for that) and then focus on working with heavier weights.


I meant to say " there are a lot of people who do well with LOW deadlift volume".


Volume and intensity are both important.

If you focus on one, and don’t practice the other, the undertrained range will suffer.

Many routines include both heavy work and lighter work together.


Like others have said - these are connected and people train with both ways and everything in between.

Keeping these things in mind, I will say this statement which is based on my experiences and opinions of some more stronger guys:

  • Submaximal volume seems to be very good way to approach DL. It does not wreck you, your form and speed is top notch and you’ll build muscle.


The reality is that it varies depend on so many factors that its impossible to nail down a concrete answer.


As far as I can tell it totally depends on the individual and even that changes over time. I think, generally speaking, that stronger you get the better you do with submaximal moderate volume provided you train the muscles involved with stuff like squat variations, rows and the like. I’m very skeptical about any load of DL for high volume, but that’s based on my personal bias.


I like to use between 70-85% for singles and varying the total volume based on the percentage, I primarily stay within 75,80, and 85% range and follow prilepin’s chart. If it feels fast I may go a little heavier but more often than not, I use the “optimal” amount of reps. That way I am able to work on my bar speed and technique at a relatively heavier weight.


To improve my 1 RM for DL, I have successfully used low volume DL with higher intensity singles, resetting after each rep. To a top triple, double or single. Then usng a second movement , GM works for me , at a lower intensity higher volume, like 3-5x8-10. Followed with a row type exercise.
So the session is
DL- low volume increase intensity, then GM following with a row. Shower,eat,sleep.


I’m very interested in this topic as I’ve really struggled finding the right combination for my deadlift. I can progress all my other lifts fine but it’s like I just cannot hone in deadlifting. At my last meet I hit a 524 pull and missed a 551, and honestly at 215 pounds I should be pulling waaay more. The problem is it seems like when I train deadlifts hard I almost like regress week to week. I tend to be someone that trains maybe too intensely (think RPE’s around 9 to 9.5). Has anyone had any luck training deadlifts at more moderate RPE’s for more sets or maybe more frequently? Like Sheiko type sets perhaps?


I use a conjugate/concurrent approach to lifting and I don’t use rpe… I understand what it is and the premise behind it but the way my brain works I find using percentages of a 1rm to be the only real way to understand intensity. Sorry :pensive: Having said that try taking that 524/5 and using 75-85% for 18 singles at 75, 15 singles at 80, 15 singles at 85 with the intent of moving them fast as can be and see how that works and figuring out what your weak point may be in terms of your deadlift. And try different things like snatch grip deadlifts or block pulls, banded deadlifts, high bar full squats, quad work or a good morning to help overcome that weakness by making it stronger.


Kind of impossible to answer. I guess it depends how close you are to competition. The closer you get, the more important intensity is obviously going to become, whilst sacrificing volume.