Build up to a new 1RM in just 8-9 weeks! This program is designed to strip away the complexity and hone in on the essential elements of a world-class deadlift program.
Workout Summary

Workout Description

In the realm of strength training, no exercise carries the same weight of respect and admiration as the deadlift. This foundational movement isn't just about lifting a heavy barbell off the ground—it's a test of grit, technique, and sheer power.

Whether you're a seasoned lifter aiming to shatter personal records or a newcomer looking to build a solid foundation of strength, the deadlift remains a cornerstone of any effective training program.

Unfortunately, a myriad of deadlift programs saturate the fitness landscape. Finding the one that aligns perfectly with your goals and abilities can be daunting, but fear not!

In this guide, I'll strip away the complexity and hone in on the essential elements of a world-class deadlift program. I’ll also share one of the programs I’ve used time and time again to quickly add pounds to my pull.

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3 Secrets for Stronger Pulls

Here are my three main takeaways to building the deadlift, whether you pull sumo or conventional.

1. Understand weekly progression

Pacing yourself through a training program is critical to sustainable progress and injury prevention. Pushing too hard too soon can lead to burnout, overtraining, and even setbacks in performance—but with the deadlift, the number of muscle groups involved makes the possibility of injury much higher.

By gradually increasing intensity and volume over time, you give your body the opportunity to adapt and grow stronger while minimizing the risk of overuse injuries and dreaded plateaus. Moreover, pacing and smart weekly progression allow for better recovery between workouts so you can consistently train at your best.

Remember, strength is a journey, not a sprint! I’ve been lifting for over ten years and I’m still able to hit personal bests by pacing myself and not rushing the process.

2. Technique is everything

Mastering proper technique in the deadlift is not just about aesthetics; it's a crucial factor in preventing injury and maximizing your rate of strength gain.

The deadlift places significant stress on almost all areas of the body, making solid form essential for recovery and general strength progression. Two athletes with similar genetics can run the same program and lift the same weight weekly, but the one with better technique will gain more strength.

Whether you're a novice lifter or a seasoned veteran, checking your ego and prioritizing technique in the deadlift is paramount for long-term success and longevity in strength training pursuits.

3. Don’t neglect your accessories

Accessory exercises, on the whole, play a vital role in strength training by addressing weaknesses, enhancing muscle balance, and preventing injuries. Compound lifts like the deadlift are foundational, while accessory exercises target specific muscle groups and movement patterns.

Ultimately, it’s accessories that fill in gaps and promote overall the strength gain you’re looking for. The saying is true: the best way to deadlift more is to deadlift more—but far too often, lifters either don’t take accessories seriously or just flat out skip them and wonder why they aren’t making progress.

Whether it's back extensions, paused deadlifts, opposite stance deadlifts, or even pull-ups, hitting personal bests on these movements will positively impact your deadlift. They're indispensable tools for any lifter looking at achieving strong pull.

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The Program

The goal is to build up to a new 1RM on the deadlift in 8-9 weeks! If you don’t know your max on the deadlift, max out to see where you’re at so you can use this program effectively.

I’ve divided this training program into two phases. Each phase includes two days: Day 1 should be done on a Monday, and Day 2 should be done on a Friday. These days aren’t fixed, but the rest between both days should be!

The program specifies what you should do after your regular warm-up routine.

Phase 1/Week 1:

Day 1 (Monday)
Exercise Sets Reps   Notes
Paused Deadlift 1 3 75% Technique-focused
Paused Deadlift 3 6 60%  
Leg Extensions 3 10-12 3 RIR  
Hamstring Curls 3 10-12 3 RIR  
Core Work 4 see notes   Any of your choice
Day 2 (Friday)
Exercise Sets Reps   Notes
Deadlift 1 2 85%  
Deadlift 2 3 77.5%  
Deadlift 2 4 70%  
Romanian Deadlift 3 8-10 3 RIR  
Core Work 3 see notes   Any of your choice

Recommended: 15-Minute Core Conditioning Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Build on each set over 4-5 weeks using the progression mindset we discussed earlier. You’ll increase by roughly 2.5- 5% weekly on each set while adding weight to the accessories - approaching failure.

We build the weight over 4-5 weeks because some lifters get fatigued faster than others; some people can push for four weeks while some benefit more with five. Expect each week to get harder, but trust yourself! The strength is there, based on your previous weeks of training.

Finished those 4-5 weeks of Phase 1? Move on to Phase 2.

Watch Jamal Demonstrate a Paused Deadlift


Phase 2/Week 1:

Day 1 (Monday)
Exercise Sets Reps   Notes
Paused Deadlift 1 2 80% Technique-focused
Paused Deadlift 3 5 65%  
Leg Extensions 3 8-10 3 RIR  
Hamstring Curls 3 8-10 3 RIR  
Core Work 4 see notes   Any of your choice
Day 2 (Friday)
Exercise Sets Reps   Notes
Deadlift 1 1 87.5%  
Deadlift 2 2 80%  
Deadlift 2 3 72.5%  
Romanian Deadlift 3 6-8 3 RIR  
Core Work 3 see notes   Any of your choice

Again, the goal here is to push the progression for 4-5 weeks as you did with Phase 1. Build up to a new 1RM on week 4 or week 5 - your body should be primed and ready by then.

Just pace yourself and take smart jumps, again using 2.5-5% of your previous max as a guide for how much you should jump weekly.

Expect each week to get harder, but as long as your technique is good, progress will come.

Posted on: Sat, 06/15/2024 - 02:16

This looks great.

Would adding additional days for other muscle groups impact recovery?

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Posted on: Tue, 06/18/2024 - 08:23

Hi Andy, apologies. I had thought I was answering this on another article. For this program, you can train the other muscle groups, but don't add anything that would challenge the muscles for the deadlift if that makes sense. Also, keep volume low so your recovery is still beneficial. I will leave this up for Jamal to answer as well if he likes since it is his program.

Posted on: Mon, 06/10/2024 - 19:02

i don't get it. so how much should i add weekly to my deadlifts? if i were to add 2.5% of my 1rm every week i would increase my max by 20% which is unreal. Could someone explain me how the progression works here?

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Posted on: Mon, 06/17/2024 - 06:58

Hi Marceli, I will leave this up for Jamal to clarify if he sees this. My interpretation is that yes, you try to go for 2.5 percent every week. If you are not able to do it, just repeat that weight the following week.

Eli Davis
Posted on: Thu, 07/04/2024 - 18:13

He's not saying add 2.5%-5% to your 1RM each week, he's saying add 2.5%-5% OF YOUR 1RM to your working sets each week. So if you did 75% this week, do 77.5-80%% next week and so on.