Why Do We Train 1x5 on Deadlift?

I’ve been trying to make a spreadsheet for calculating workload and inol etc, it’s not done yet and the equation I used for calculating 1 rep maxes sucks. but this is it so far http://puu.sh/w5Ybe/5cfe654636.png anyway, with deadlifts I do 1x5, and the inol score for that would be .4, you should be above 1 per week. Deadlifting once a week shouldn’t work or something I guess according to perilipins chart I need to be hitting like 2850lbs of work on deadlift to progress, I’m only doing like 900 by doing 1x5.

This is gray skull btw

So basically, why the hell does gray skull prescribe 1x5 1 time a week? According to everything I see that is impossible to progress on.

I also feel like doing 90% of my max on deadlift 2 times a week to reach an inol of .8 or only 1800 workload would be too tiring to recover from over time, and I still wouldn’t be hitting the workloads recommended by everyone, so I’d have to do it 3 times a week!?!?

I need a new program. I guess at this point I can make my own, but not until I finish this damn spread sheet and I hate finding 1 rep max equations that don’t suck.

Why not ask the creator of the program this question? Surely they will be able to better answer than anyone else.

That being said, I deadlift once every 2 months, and it seems to work for me. When I do it, it’s 1 set of anywhere between 3-12 reps.

Most programs work, as long as you apply the effort to them, regardless of the science. Pick the program you like the most and go do it.


This entire post is the epitome of “majoring in the minors.”

I’ve gone from a 315 deadlift to a 550 deadlift in just under two years, and not one time have I used a 1-rep max calculator, spreadsheet, Prilepin’s chart, or whatever an “inol” score is.

Go to the gym. Lift some weight. Go home eat some meat and vegetables, get a good night’s sleep. Return to the gym next day, lift some weight again. Repeat 2-4 times per week, increase the weight when practical.


You probably followed programs written by people who do base their choices off of prilepins research? Either way this is just mostly about deadlifts, i don’t really pay much attention to my other lifts since they’re not as complex and i just go up 5lbs a week and stay at 3x5.

Listen to this man please!


I didn’t/don’t. Not for the deadlift at least.


This isn’t about getting 10% better gains and optimizing workload by a small amount, everything suggests that im WAY off on my deadlift workload and that i should be doing 2-3x more. I’m just unsure of how it all works if the most common rep range is 1x5, that sounds way too taxing to do 2-3 times a week. But it seems impossible to progress on effectively if you have such little workload at the same time. I’m doing nothing else for my back and hamstrings other than squats.

well just do it then and see if the shit works. At the end of the day it’ll be a hell of a lot more productive use of your time than jerking off to Prilepin’s chart.

If it works then keep doing it, and if it doesn’t then do something else.


I feel that you have a mistaken impression of what is required to make progress.

I did not follow any program. I did stuff based on things I’ve read in Dan John articles and for a few months did something that faintly resembled the StrongFirst “Daily Dose Deadlift” program, but there really was no secret formula or program involved. I went to the gym and deadlifted up to a weight that felt good for a couple singles. Then I did it again. And again. I repeated many times. Early this year, I started working heavy front and back squats as well. My training log has all of this progress from January 2016 (pulled 405 for the first time) to hitting 550 a couple weeks ago. If you feel that my training has anything at all to do with a program written by a person who based their choices off Prilepin’s research, cool. I just called it “lifting weights.”

If you’d like another example with even less structure and frequency, my wife started lifting a barbell for the first time in early February. She has gone from a 135 back squat / 185 deadlift to a 190 back squat / 225 deadlift in four months, lifting 1-2 times per week. How? Every time she comes to the gym with me, she puts in work. There is no program other than “work up to weight that feels good for a solid single, back off to about 80-90% of that and do a handful of reps, call it a day.”


Yes but does deadlifting once a week sound like any amount of work to you? What if you benched 1x5 once a week with 90something %?

Actually im going to stay 1x5. forget 2 times a week, you guys are right and if this is working then theres no reason to change.

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A few thoughts…

First, a disclaimer: if you do want to stick with a particular program, then you should probably ask the person who wrote that program. They probably did it that way for a reason.

With that said, a few other thoughts:

  1. If you’re also squatting heavy at least once per week, then you may not need a lot of deadlift volume to progress. Admittedly, I deadlifted more than once a week for most of 2016, and built my deadlift to about 500; then I started squatting in 2017, cut the deadlift volume to 1-2 times a week (seriously, go read my training log, I usually just work up to a couple heavy singles) while also squatting a couple times per week.

  2. You may be misunderstanding the amount of work that should go into that “deadlift 1x5” - if you are properly warming up and working your way to a true 5RM (or near-max-effort set of 5) then doing that once a week probably takes a lot out of you. And if it doesn’t, you probably are not working hard enough. As I said a moment ago, most of my deadlift sessions are in the general range of 5-6 singles at 90% of my 1RM, and that certainly feels like plenty of work.

Just my two cents…but I’m just a guy banging away at the keyboard on the Internet.


If you want to work with a program that emphasizes Prilepin, conjugate method is the go to. Here’s the caveats on conjugate:

  1. You’re going to probably use too much weight on dynamic effort days. If you don’t have a coach, it happens.
  2. It relies on you being able to program assistance work based on your weakest part of your lifts. This requires either a knowledgeable coach or a lot of knowledgeable and honest self assessment.
  3. You’re going to spend a lot of time learning how to properly use bands and chains as they are integral.
  4. You’re going to have to really study it to understand because it is not a preworked program as much as it is a method.
  5. Unless you’ve actually plateaued on a more traditional program, you’ll go through all of this to get the same gains for a while.

Even on a conjugate system, you’ll only train deadlift heavy once a week and you’ll go weeks without deadlifting heavy because conjugate training is just as much if not more bar speed (as is Prilepin). You will need to have access to people that can diagnose your weak spots in a lift effectively as well as assistance work will make up 80% of your training volume.

That is not to dissuade you from doing a conjugate program, but to tell you the reality of it. Once you’ve got a couple years under your belt, it’s great. I train conjugate and I love it, but I’ve also been in and out of weight rooms since I was 12. I had a 400+ deadlift and squat and was headed to a 400 bench prior to injury. If there’s a certified trainer in your area, this changes the learning curve a good bit and it’s a great program.

A final word of warning: training conjugate, especially if you tend to the heavier side of things, is not about looking jacked. You will not get some of the aesthetic benefits that other systems offer. Look at Chuck Vogelpohl and Louie Simmons. They’re monsters and absolute beasts, but if one of your goals is aesthetics, it’s not your program. If all you care about is straight up horsepower, there’s nothing like it in my opinion.

If you want to learn more, you can download a seminar from Westside Barbell for like $20 and get the information straight from the horse’s mouth. Buy Louie’s Book of Methods and read stuff from the guys at the gym. They post their workouts so it’s not like it’s top secret.

-What is “inol”?

-You have already put more thought into the “Greyskull Program” than “Life Coach Johnny Pain” did! I think you are right about moving on to something else.

-Remember, there are Ranges on Russian Bro’s chart. Around 5 reps, around 90% is just one “intensity zone.” You could also do sessions of around 70% for around 25 total reps. Or 80% for 20 exertions. According to the chart, these sessions are still “good,” just “different.” Lifting different weights is better than lifting the same weights over and over.

-Wendler’s 5/3/1 really helped me understand Volume and Intensity. Going from Rep PR sets into the 5’s Progression with back off sets allowed me to get a feel for how much work was enough vs. too much.

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Here is a successful coach who likes charts.

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I do this when I decide to include the bench in my workout. Not just 5s. Could be a top set of 8 or even a triple. Then I do dumbbell benches and/or machines hitting the muscle from different angles and flyes.

I can probably bench a lot more than what you are deadlifting.

Any light bulbs appearing over your head yet?

but what’s your inol score, bro?

thank Christ for that. I thought I was the only one who didn’t know what the hell it is.


OP, the reason for 1X5 is because many coaches (such as rippetoe) believe 1 set of 5 is adequate to stimulate muscular adaptation, especially since deadlift works the whole body and you have squats, pulls, etc to hit them. Also they believe with good reason that 3X5 or whatever as other exercises get is way too much volume to recover from week to week and will fry your central nervous system and create over training through cumulative fatigue. Form also breaks down and your intensity suffers from pure exhaustion. Also grip strength doesnt get any better on set 2.


The programs I have seen that only dead lift 1x5 once a week also had the people performing squats three times a week. Holding good posture and squatting below parallel is very taxing and hits a lot of the same muscles as dead lifts (in my thirties I only considered my squats low enough if my posterior and hamstrings activated, too). And if you are also doing rows and working on traps, you’re again hitting some of the same muscles as dead lifts do.

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I assumed he was talking about sushi. Rabbit food…