How to get a better deadlift in a month
Whether you’re a gym-bro trying to hone your technique or a powerlifter smashing weights ahead of your next competition, one of the best lifts to train for all-over body transformation is the deadlift. We all know it – some love it, some hate it, many fear it – but picking up heavy weights for reps with this compound exercise helps build your entire posterior chain and obliques.
However, deadlifts are notoriously difficult. They’re a lift not for the faint-hearted, and not for the technically inept. If you lift them with bad form, you’ll get hurt. But, if you do them properly and you follow a proper program, you’ll end up lifting heavier than ever before and building some serious mass – as deadlifts increase your central nervous system’s hormone secretions and flood your body with testosterone.
With that in mind, here are some tips for boosting your deadlift PB in a month.
Do more deadlifts
This goes without saying, but you’ll want to focus on your deadlift in order to increase your max. With that in mind, you should aim to deadlift twice a week, with variations worked in. The first day of the week should comprise of high volume deadlifts at a lighter weight, such as a 5×5 block. The second day, which should be a few days after to allow recovery, should be worked up in sets of 3 or 2 up to your max.
Each week, aim to add 2.5-5kg to each workout day. So your week will consist of:
Day A (5×5)
5 x 5 deadlifts at 80% max, increasing by 2.5-5kg each week.
Day C (Volume)
5 deadlifts at 70%
3 deadlifts at 80%
2 deadlifts at 85%
1 deadlift at 90%
1 deadlift at 95%
Max PB attempt
Throughout, you’ll also want to be practicing the following tips, which will help increase your deadlift max.
Deadlift each rep the same way. Get your set-up uniform so that you approach and lift the same way each time.
Practice speed. Once the bar clears the floor try and get upright as fast as possible.
Nail your form. Proper form helps you lift heavier weights without the risk of injury.
Practice different grips to see which is best for you. Most lifters use mixed or hook grip to lift heavier weight.
Work your grip with accessory lifts and activities.
Deadlift each rep from a dead stop on the ground. Don’t drop the weight and don’t pull when the plates are hovering just above ground.
Use accessory lifts
You’ll also want to mix things up by adding in exercises that assist deadlifts. On the day you’re not deadlifting, you should practice grip exercises such as farmer’s walks and pull-ups. These will help develop the grip strength you need to lift heavier weights.
Once you’re midway through the month, you might also want to substitute Day A with deadlift variations to work on your weaknesses – as everyone has an area of the lift they’re worse at. For example:
Deficit deadlifts: standing on a plate or small platform so you’re ‘taller’ over the bar helps people who struggle with the first part of the movement, the actual ‘lift’ that starts the deadlift off.
Block pulls: placing the barbell on blocks so that you’re lifting it from a higher position means you can work with much heavier weights than your standard reps.
Rack pulls: In a similar fashion to block pulls, rack pulls let you lift heavy stuff without the full effort of a deadlift. That makes it good for practicing your lockout.
Sumo deadlifts: if you do conventional deads, try working sumo for a solid month to build squad and hip strength. If you do sumo, try conventional to target the back and hamstrings.
Nail your nutrition
As with any lift, deadlifts demand a good knowledge of pre and post-workout nutrition. If you eat inadequate food before a workout, you won’t lift anywhere near close to your max. Pre-workout, you’ll need to eat plenty of carbohydrates to fuel your body up for some heavy lifts. This means brown rice, quinoa and wholegrains – not French fries.
Post-workout, you’ll need to consume plenty of protein to help your body recover from the stress of the world’s toughest lift. Aiming for 2-3g per kg of bodyweight during your month of increased deadlift intensity should help. It’s times like this that high protein shakes help hit the necessary amount.
In short, if you hit deadlifts consecutively for weeks whilst working on your form, keeping your nutrition in check and practicing variations, you’ll be smashing PB’s in no time. And, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to lift heavy?