Should Athletes Deadlift Part 2

09 May Should Athletes Deadlift Part 2

Should Athletes Deadlift Part 2




In Part 1 I discussed how the deadlift is a great tool for young athletes and those new to the weight room to build good patterns but how it can hurt more than help a stronger athlete’s progress. This time I’m going to talk about programming the deadlift or, variants of the deadlift, for intermediate athletes to continue to reap all of the benefits.





Change It Up

If using a deadlift variation for a more experienced, stronger athlete, I try to make the variation harder than a conventional deadlift. This forces the athlete to use less weight but allows for a different neurological stress that will still induce strength gains.

Examples of this include: pulling from a deficit, using a wider grip (snatch grip), doing a band resisted deadlift and changing to a different style that the athlete is less proficient in (if they normally pull conventionally, have them do a sumo deadlift).



Vary the Volume and Intensity

I’m definitely not a fan of high rep per set training and if you guessed that I would tell you to keep the volume low on the deadlift, you would be correct.

For young athletes with not too much experience lifting weights, I like to keep the sets and reps to 2-3 sets of 5 reps and progress the weight in a wave. So for example:

Week 1 – 2 x 5 (Maybe start with 50% of 5RM)

Week 2 – 2 x 5 (Add 5 pounds from last week)

Week3 – 2 x 5 (Add 5 pounds from last week)

Week 4 – 2 x 5 (Add 5 pounds from last week)

Week 5 – 2 x 5 (Go back to using weight that you used on week 2)

Week 6 – 2 x 5 (Add 5 pounds from week 5)


You get the idea. After a few cycles of this I would increase the volume by adding another set making it 3 sets of 5 instead of 2 sets of 5.


For more experienced athletes the max effort method (ME) can be used if the volume and intensity is controlled. Singles above 90% of 1RM can be used as long as the sets are planned out weeks ahead of time. Once again, I would change the variant of the deadlift used pretty often.

For example:

Week 1 – Snatch grip deadlift – 5 x 1 – 90% of 1RM

Week 2 – Snatch grip deadlift – 5 x 1 – 94% of 1RM

Week 3 – Sumo deadlift from deficit – 7 x 1 – 90%

Week 4 – Sumo Deadlift from deficit – 9 x 1 – 90%

Week 5 – Conventional deadlift from deficit – 5 x 1 – 85% (de-load week)

A cycle like this can be repeated or changed up anyway you like. This is just a rough idea of what it would look like. Just remember the golden rule —only change one variable at a time, meaning that if you add sets keep the intensity (percent 1RM) the same and vice versa. I think that’s the golden rule.

This was short and sweet but I hope it gave you some ideas to think about.



Got an opinion on how to program the deadlift? Let me know in the comments.



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