How To Get A 600 Pound Deadlift

Create: 04/20/2006 - 06:44
An Elite Fitness poster is looking for help getting his deadlift to 600. The ensuing thread gives solid advice on how to go about getting that deadlift. It also provies a good example of generally designing a training program for a more advanced lifter which analyzes weak points and prescribes a course of action to overcome them.

I'd like some help from the pull monkeys on this board. I have an idea of what I want to do, so I'll post a rough draft that is open to modification. As I see it, it's my lower back that's my weak point. I base this estimation on the fact that I get stuck at my shins when I fail, and the fact that I can box squat more than I can deadlift (which, to me, would indicate that my hips are plenty strong, relatively speaking)... Here's what I'm thinking so far for exercises/sets/reps: Monday -GMs for some heavy triples -Power shrugs for eight triples - not ballbusters; this would be along the lines of a five-rep weight done with shorter rest, a la some of Waterbury's stuff -Front squats, probably schemed like the shrugs -some sort of press Wednesday -DE box squats, 8 doubles, waved loading -4 DE deadlift singles, possibly off of a 100 lb. plate (I would have to be very careful with these as last time I did them I hurt my back) -this would be a more upper-body intensive day; would probably include bench press and chins Friday -Oly squat, 5x5 -some sort of lighter pull, like snatch grip low pulls or something, schemed like the power shrugs -a press of some sort

Do you think 4 single pulls are enough DE? This is the one area were I'm not too keen on the Westside idea of not actually performing the lift you want to max on. Before I go on, it's best to say that this is a subject that varies a great deal from lifter to lifter. When I first started though, I followed the rule of staying away from the competition lift while training and suffered for it. I've found it more useful to keep an actual deadlift in the picture by pulling a dead at a higher % than one would normally use for DE but not close to ME- (75 to 90) and then lower the weight for your speed drill afterwards. Even here I'd up the number of sets to 6-8 and possibly reps as well to as many as 3 ( I find it harder to establish a good rhythm for speed with a single). I'm a big believer in doing these on the wave method as well. You can build up to an approximation of your target (about 90%) mid way through your training cycle so you get a good idea as to how you're progressing, and then begin the wave again, working up to your actual max. In any case, IMHO, you'll probably find only 4 pulls won't present much of a workout. The other thing is that I didn't see any hamstring work besides indirectly through the GMs and squats. You may want to add some GHRs or SLDLs. They don't need to be heavy-a moderate rep range will keep them in ready condition and hopefully add some mass.

The only thing I see as a potential problem is the ammount of low back work you will be getting. Good mornings, deadlifts, squats, and front squats. All those lifts require the low back and will build a cumulative fatigue over the week of training, and therfore could put a stop to your progress with the deadlifts. You also mentioned "some sort of press" If that is overhead press then you have even more low back work there. I would replace one of your exercises that involves the low back with something else so that your deadlifts do not suffer. You can always cycle that one exercise back in later on.

I also think that's overworking the back - some people could bounce back from that punishing schedule, but with the weights you're lifting it might not be do-able.

I too tend to disagree with the WSB idea of avoiding Deadlift to get stronger at Deadlift. Not to start a firestorm, but I'm pretty sure they have far more lifters with mindblowing Squats & BP's, than DL's. That can't be coincidence. I'm striving for 600 too, so what do I know. Anyway, I M.E Squat once a week, and M.E. Deadlift once a week, different days. I use JumpStretch Bands to do Reverse Deadlifts, which are like Rack Partials except the bands de-load the weight all the way from the floor, so you're pulling some weight all the way from the floor, instead of starting cold from some arbitrary point above the floor. I discovered these recently, and perhaps the progress is due to the newness, but I've already added over 25 lbs. to my regular DL in a couple months. After getting a max single or two, I do a deep deadlift or a slightly partial deadlift, again working up to a max single or two. Then, D.E. Squats with bands for variable resistance, or, alternate weeks, D.E. Deadlifts with bands for variable resistance. D.E. Squats are 10 X 3 at about 50-55%, D.E. Deads are 10 X 1 at about 67%. On M.E. Squat day, I work up to max singles or triples (paused Box Squats), then do Good Mornings for triples, or Keystone Deadlift. That's pretty much it for squat & DL work for me. Also, other days I do some olympic lifts, mostly snatches. Also, Hypers, Reverse Hypers (use a Back Hyper bench backwards if you have to, with bands or ankles straps strapped to plates for resistance), and Glute Ham Raises (with assistance if necessary -- JumpStretch Bands, or even a Lat Pulldown machine, with the lat bar on your shoulders as you bow down, kneeling on the bench, so the weight helps pull you back up). Even some leg curls occasionally

I think I read Goggins likes those rack pulls with a band as his favorite deadlift assistance. Can't remember if those were reverse or regular.

how about alternating in something like pullthroughs or reverse hypers with the barbell work, that might give your cns a wee breather and let you keep the frequency up. (although I used to do pullthroughs after deads more as a 'finisher' so I'm not speaking from first hand experience with them)

You've got some excellent advice here. The thing is, I find with deadlift advice (beyond the intermediate stages), what is excellent for one is useless for another. I'll give you my thoughts and tell you what I do, and you can pick and choose things 9if you like anything, lol). When I am not focusing on the DL, I just work it in, like you'll see in my journal.....when I want to make it a priority, I do a loading cycle where I power clean 3 times a week and power snatch twice a week, each clean or snatch workout is followed by clean or snatch pulls. I work jump shrugs and barbell rows heavy, and I train GM's progressively, usually for 5's. The frequent pulling from the floor (which I could tolerate because I snatch and clean much less than I DL), the GMs, and the heavy upper back and lat work get me loaded up, then I deload for a week or two and do an intensity phase where I train the DL weekly, just old fashioned progressive overload, with 1 or 2 work sets of 3's. I never personally liked speed deads....I think doing low reps at 60% of a max does nothing for me, and plus once you know how to pull for your body type, I just don't think the DL is that technically demanding of a lift.....Again, this is JUST me, I know many a great puller who love them. I can't comment on accomodating resistance, as I've never used it. But, anyway, that's what I do. For the low back, frequent pulling from the floor in the form of the olympic lifts does strengthen the area.

paused fullsquats and frontsquats, powercleans/cleanpulls, snatch grip deads, heavy deadlifts to drill the form hypertrophy work from RDLs, reverse hypers and back extensions, etc special work - single arm deadlifts, split leg deadlifts, seated pulls, ISO hold deads and supported rows, grip work that's what I'd do if I was attacking it myself

The concerns I had about workload on my back when I first started doing cleans and snatches turned out to be unfounded.You acquire useful strength in your upper back and a better sense of balance. As BiggT pointed out, the amount you pull from the floor isn't taxing and is done explosively. Also, it keeps your mindset totally on the movement you have to do. Eat, breathe, and live the game as they say.

buy the bands. you may think the price is a bit much, but once you start using them, and see the benefits of their useage, the only thought that will be left in your head will be "Why didn't I get these when I first heard about them." they are well worth the price that you will pay for them

Deadlift as the true measure of stength, it goes without saying that they can't make a suit to help you with it (at least not yet). Great advice here throughout. I definately agree with the band work - pulling against the bands when you perform the DL is a huge difference. Just remember to cycle on and off the bands as they can give your CNS a beating. Something else I learned while talking with a (Westsider) while I worked the Arnold Classic this year was the 'Spongebob Squats'... Many of them have begun box squatting off a piece of dense foam on top of the box. You squat to sit on the box, hit the foam and then compress slowly down. They started doing these with the intention of increasing the squat, but lo and behold their DL's shot through the roof. Something to try. The box squat itself generally does more for the DL than the squat. I read a bit about the biomechanics of the DL and by box squatting with a pause, you can get carryover from your starting strength to your sumo pull. The biomechanical position is almost identical, and the pause on the box mimics the isometric you perform right before the bar leaves the ground when pulling. Also, try to think about both your body type and you DL weaknesses (poor starting strength, hips too high, weight drift, poor lockout) and perform exercises specific to those areas. Poor start - box squats (high or low), concentric GM's (spinal erectors) Hips high - glute hams Lockout - pull thrus, romanian DL's

No one said this but I throw in heavy barbell rows. It's not a direct thing but you need to develop your whole back to DL big.


Submitted by Jenny (not verified) on
This is something simple and may not sound to make that much of a difference-but when I was in a rut-getting my deadlift up (up in weight) I started to do more hyperextensions-I was finding also that my lower back was really my weakest point and then I found myself gettting it up in #s. Also-how you were saying your stuck at shins-I had a pretty wide stance-or so I thought-and one of my "Coaches" told me to get wider-it still makes it hard, but if you stick your tail down-even more-I found the pull up being easier- I realize that this is simple-and a beginners understanding-but even though I already knew this-I better and improved these two areas and my lifts went up. Hope this is some help.

Submitted by Hoss (not verified) on
Do Ed Coans Deadlift routine and modify it to your needs. I did a modification of it pulled 600 recently - no suit, no belt. Do deadlifts off of plates or boards to give you a good starting pull.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
read Marc Bartley's article on Elite - excellent article. (My goal is a more modest 500 in 2006)

Submitted by Big PC (not verified) on
Gosh some of the comments in the blog section are just mind boggling dumb. This guy wrote........
paused fullsquats and frontsquats, powercleans/cleanpulls, snatch grip deads, heavy deadlifts to drill the form hypertrophy work from RDLs, reverse hypers and back extensions, etc special work - single arm deadlifts, split leg deadlifts, seated pulls, ISO hold deads and supported rows, grip work that's what I'd do if I was attacking it myself
WHAT?????????? What in the hell happened to just doing the actual lifts you want to improve on? You want a big dead? Deadlift. Then do some barbell rows and call it a day. The next time pull heavy out of the rack and do some heavy shrugs or chins. Do 6 sets of 3 or do 10 singles. Whatever. 5 x 5. What in the hell is wrong with some of the WSB cronies? If you want a big bench or a big squat or a big deadlift, uhhhh DO THOSE LIFTS! Sheesh.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I jst got my deadlift up to 500 and did it before my 15th birthday I am so excited HELL YEAH

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
if you want to getyour dealiftup then devoe 1 hour each day to a different component of t such as grip,traps,legs,then at the end of each workout do set of deadlift to failure using 90 or above % of your 1 rep max at th end ofevery month take a week off and test yor 1 rep max