Can Deadlifts Be Done Every Day?

Create: 06/21/2006 - 07:09
A T-Nation poster wonder if it's possible to deadlift every day and make gains. Responses:

I'm sure if you rotated your rep scheme's and had a back off day every 2nd or 3rd day you'd get some good benefits out of it.

It can work. There are training techniques the experts will say "dont work", but just what one migt need to pull out of a rut or break a plateau. I believe we all agree that you won't do sqaut, deads everyday forever, that that def won't work. But every day for 2-4 weeks, sure. Maybe go hardest 2-3 sessions instead of every single one.

That'd be a good way to "learn" the lift, and you could probably get some good strength gains out of doing that. I think Steve Justa advocates lifting pretty much every day out of the year. Of course, to do such a thing, intensity needs to be balanced, blah blah blah. Never done it though. I, personally, would probably get bored outta my mind, but on the other hand, I'd be occupied because I'd be able to workout every day.

Unless you're "learning" the lift and are also new to lifting, I wouldn't do it. There's no way you can go heavy enough every day (whether on sets of 10 or of singles) to benefit you. At most I'd say twice a week, once heavy and once light. But even that is pushing it, IMO. What's your purpose for thinking of trying this?

I recently finished doing the Smolov squat program. Obviously, it involved doing squats and not deadlifts. It also called for four days a week, not 7, with different loading (4x9, 5x7, 7x5, 10x3). I was considering trying to do this with the deadlift. The Smolov program was good for strength and I imagine the protocol would work well for deadlifts if you're itnerested.

At some point, you'd be doing it just to do it so that you could say you deadlift every day. Because, there just is really no conceivable benefit to doing any compound exercise with an appreciable amount of weight every day. And if you're not using an appreciable amount of weight to deadlift, then it isn't really worth doing. Slow and steady wins the race. You can find plenty of programs that have you benching or something 400 days/week. In all likelihood, you'll get hurt and/or your other lifts will go down. It is much better to work on improving multiple lifts/strength qualities instead of hammering one and trying to maintain others.

The smolov routine used for the deadlift may very well KILL somebody!!! Don't try it even if you think you are a hard ass. You will overtrain terribly and probably injure your lower back. I did the smolov squat cycle and it was tough. There's a chance it could work for the bench but never DL!!!

It seems like you'd be more likely to injure yourself benching too much rather than deadlifting too much. I guess if I had to deadlift frequently, I would choose 4 types of deadlift, and cycle 3 rep ranges, so that you don't repeat a workout for 12 workouts. Day 1- conventional deadlift Day 2- hack squat (technically a deadlift) Day 3- off Day 4- sumo deadlift Day 5- off Day 6- snatch grip deadlift Day 7- off Rep ranges: 1- 4x4 2- 3x5 3- 5x3 I think a program like this would be do-able, and good for those without squat racks... not really necessary but possible.

Even competitive lifters rarely deadlift more than once a week and most do not go all out every week. The deadlift is very taxing on the body and easily overtrained.

Read "Power to the People" by Pavel Tsatsouline(yes the kettlebell guy). If you PM me I can get you the contact information, although I have seen the book at Barnes & Noble and Borders Books occassionally. Anyway...this is what he talks about in his book (actually all his books are excellent), training sub-maximally at least 5 days a week with the same movements.

Pavel in "Power to the People" advocates DLing 5x a week straight, with two consecutive days off. Do one set of five, rest 3-5 minutes and do another set of five with 90% (or was it 80%?) of the weight you used on your first set. This simple protocol worked wonders for me, but that was before I could move any semi-respectable amount of weight. Once you get stronger and the weight moves up considerably, it is a bitch to recover from. Your whole body hurts, with only two sets of five. If you're a beginner, give it a shot. I would also recommend buying the book (although I know Pavel is widely hated/ridiculed on this site). Try it out until it stops working, then move on to something else.

for another example, Bob Peoples deadlifted every day, and far from burning out, he became the first american to lift over 700 lb in competition. What's important to note is that if you deadlift high frequency, your volume of other lifts MUST be small enough to let you recover.

Dan John has (somewhere) talked about "greasing the goove." Basically, training a movement every day for a period of time -- a couple of weeks -- varying the load and volumn. He has also said, quoting someone else of high esteem, "if it is worth doing, it is worth doing every day." Keep in mind that weightlifters perform some kind of pull and some kind of squat pretty much every day. They don't often worry about overtraining.

Louie Simmons of westside barbell related a story to me once of how he missed a deadlift at a meet which cost him an elite total, he was so mad at himself he deadlifted every day ten days straight to punish himself, and who and behold, after a short back off period he hit a pr. not sure of how he structured the reps and sets and loads though. i do remember him saying that during this period of time all other work was pretty minimal.

What you're proposing is doable, but maybe not optimal. You would be probably be better off taking at least one, preferably two days a week off as recommended by Pavel. Will you get strong on this regime? Yes. Will you get big? No. Will you have a completely balanced physique? Probably not, but who is to say what a balanced physique is. This is the sort of training the old time strongmen used to do. It worked for them. No squat racks and bench presses in those days. The only thing you haven't mentioned is your loading parameters. If you are doing sets of 5, probably start with around 70% 1RM, work up in small increments (5 lbs) and be prepared to drop a rep or two when the second or third set gets really tough. Then back off to your original starting weight plus 5-10 lbs and repeat. Let us know how it's going in six months.


Submitted by Ryan from Idaho on
Go to There's an oldtime lifter in there that trained deadlift 6 days a week deadlifted somewhere over 700 and made a huge improvement in a short time. I couldn't find the link, but I think it's somewhere in the 1960s era. So I think it is possible. Also in a lot of the oldtime lifters routines it seemed pretty commonly to deadlift 2-3 times a week.

Submitted by Hoss (not verified) on
I would think that in order not to over train and leave yourself open to injury, you'd have to keep the volume and intensity pretty low most of the time - like no more than 50% of your max. Then you have to take into account the effects of diminishing returns - is spending an extra 30 minute a day doing low volume deadlifts really worth all that much? Now if you were training for the olympic lifts, where form is everything in the Clean & Jerk and Snatch, then it would make sense to train the lift more often to sharpen your form and technique.