Good deadlift program for a aspiring powerlifter

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    Good deadlift program for a aspiring powerlifter


    Hey guys so I'm looking to possibly get into the powerlifting world, and was wondering what program worked best for everyone specifically in improving there deadlift. My bench and squat numbers are quite a ways behind my deadlift so while I bring those up I thought I could atleast dip my foot in the water and try to compete in a deadlift only event. I had good progress last year in my deadlift from May 2013 to the January 2014 brought my deadlift from 385 to 535 mostly from technique and the fact that I started to do them more regularly had never really done them much before that. My deadlift is by far my strongest lift probably due to poor technique in my squat that I'm working on.

    Some stats
    Age 21
    6'3 215 lbs
    11.5% BF

    Current max with belt and chalk- 515

    Haven't used straps in quite some time, but will probably give those a shot tomorrow and see if I can get a few extra pounds to that max right now. I'd be looking to compete in the Raw Juniors (20-23) in probably the 100kg weight class and I figure I'd need around 550lbs (250kg) to atleast put up a decent showing.

    So any advice or routines that have worked for you guys? Very new to the powerlifting scene so any tips or advice is welcome. And do I have some hope with my deadlift number right now? Or should I focus on training for another couple years before I jump into it.

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    Jump into the next meet you can and do deadlift only. You never know who is going to show up. You could win by 50lbs or lose by 100 with your numbers.

    While you're at it, keep working on your squat and bench and do a full meet after you get your feet wet in deadlift only. I'll tell you what will benefit your squat and bench, it's all about the bodyweight. You're very tall for a 220. Most 220s are 5'8" to 5'11". Your leverages for squat and bench will improve dramatically when you weigh 250-270.

    Not that tall lifters can't do well at the lower weights. Matt Disbrowvis a good example being ranked in the top 10 with a near 2000 pound total at well over six foot and 242. Though he walks around at 260 and damn lean.
    Training log:
    http://anabolicminds.com/forum/workout-logs/230377-13-weeks-rps.html
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    As far as good programs go for the deadlift, I like Cube Kingpin. You can find it in Brandon Lilly's ebook 365 Strong.
    Training log:
    http://anabolicminds.com/forum/workout-logs/230377-13-weeks-rps.html
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    Well, a few points to ponder...
    I might guess your squat is behind, since you just might be built much better for pulling and taller guys are not always elite squatters if they are elite pullers. See Chris Hickson
    I might also suggest routines more based around guys with your kind of build. ie; I am tall too, so I don't really copy much of what Ed Coan did, but more say Tom Martin or Brad Gillingham if you know what I mean.
    What were you doing to get your DL where it is now? That is not bad progress in a year so congrats.
    There are lots of routines and many work, but itr may also depend on how you react to volume, intensity, frequency etc. ie: some guys can pull lots of heavy singles thru the weeks and gain, where others guys have to do lower max type work with some volume.
    You could look into Bob Gaynor's 3x3 set up, Bob Peoples older pyramid stuff, ME/DE WSB stuff for raw lifters too maybe, (if you are BTW!?)
    I also assume with your build you are pulling conventional!?
    Being tall, I utilize pulling from various heights (below knees) to allow more loads, but yet less overall ROM beating and strain.
    Where are your strengths? ie: are you strong off the floor and weak near knees or vice versa? Might help to know or learn.
    Might help to know how you respond to assistance work as well and what exercises could benefit you there too.
    But remember, pulling or basic deadlifts have absolutely been my best venue. Assistance woirk is okay, but at one time I got caught up in thinking it was as good or better than plain old heavy deadlifting. I was wrong.
    Other great tall pullers, David Hansen, (the thin guy) Orlando Green, (high hips)
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    Thanks guys, will look into some of the programs and people you mentioned and see which one I feel fits best for me. Great info from both of you guys and really appreciate it. I agree I'd probably be better off trying to up to the 240 range but I'm going to hopefully do that gradually.

    I do feel that being tall has put me in a better position to deadlift but not squat or bench. My squat at best was around 365 and my bench at best was 285 It's not so much that my legs aren't strong enough to squat more, but leverage wise and technique wise I still haven't found a place where I can effectively utilize my strengths. I've tried going a bit wider powerlifting stance but found my hips aren't flexible enough and I've tried going relatively close Olympic stance but find I get a butt wink when at heavier weight.

    As for my strengths on deadlifts, I'm good off the floor but sometimes struggle right around the knees and locking out. Tried to pull 525 today after hitting 495 pretty easily and grip didn't fail just got stuck around the knees I think I got a little above the knee and tried to grind it out but failed.

    I haven't really incorporated any deadlift work other than conventional deadlift, I think my biggest thing the past year was getting technique down which caused me too go up in weight quite a bit. My training before usually consisted of working up to a set of 1 at about 90-95% than on the way down hitting some reps and than also on a separate day mixing in some speed work at about 60% of 1RM. My deadlift stance is conventional around shoulder width apart maybe a bit wider.

    Pretty much I've just been heavy deadlifting past year without much assistance work (rack pulls, deficit deads, etc) and saw good progress but stalling out around 515. So would it be beneficial to start incorporating rack pulls, deficit deads, and speed pulls?

    Anyways I'll go look through some of those programs, and look into some of the guys you mentioned and see what I can come up with.
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    That's what Cube Kingpin is all about. Pulls from the floor, then from blocks, then from a deficit. It will give you even better technique and work slightly different muscles with each variation. I put 50lbs on my deadlift in four months while on it.
    Training log:
    http://anabolicminds.com/forum/workout-logs/230377-13-weeks-rps.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by herderdude View Post
    That's what Cube Kingpin is all about. Pulls from the floor, then from blocks, then from a deficit. It will give you even better technique and work slightly different muscles with each variation. I put 50lbs on my deadlift in four months while on it.
    I think that is my best bet right now, haven't ever done either of those so hopefully doing those for a couple months supplemented with some heavy work will allow me to add some good LBs. I think It'd also be best if I try to get up to around 225-230 since when I was pulling 525-535 in winter I was walking around at about 225-227 which certainly has something to do with it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpshot903 View Post
    I think that is my best bet right now, haven't ever done either of those so hopefully doing those for a couple months supplemented with some heavy work will allow me to add some good LBs. I think It'd also be best if I try to get up to around 225-230 since when I was pulling 525-535 in winter I was walking around at about 225-227 which certainly has something to do with it.
    Well, that could be a factor too. I know when I hit my highest pull, I added some BW (about #10) without really knowing or trying as the energy I was expending had me eating like a horse.
    Also, (from my experience) if I hit a PR, I have to get away from what got me there for a few weeks/month, because I get beat up and notice I stale out then start to lose interest. Learning to gauge your percents, so you can work with some reps/sets without whacking the CNS can be a key too.
    I think Bob Gaynor's DL program sounds like what Herder was mentioning too. I like x3's but that is just me.
    If you do pick something, start back inside your means and work up over a little time. IMO you gain good momentum and get some supercompensation that way. ie: If you pulled a 100% max, use about 90% of that to start a run at say 75% and work up over a few months maybe.
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    Thanks for advice guys I kinda like the looks of the Cube program, and I might do a little modified version of that since I don't have access to gyms on the weekend. I think I gained a good amount just lifting heavy and doing a lot of singles and doubles, but I've gotten to the point where I'm probably not gonna progress a lot more unless I break it down and focus on lifting at certain intensities and in a 10 week cycle rather than a weekly search for PR thing.
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    One last question, I used to deadlift twice a week usually a heavy day then a speed day/lighter day. Most programs focus on once a week, is that best? and what I should probably do?
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    I'd go once a week if I were you. Put more focus on squatting and pressing to get those numbers in line.
    Training log:
    http://anabolicminds.com/forum/workout-logs/230377-13-weeks-rps.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpshot903 View Post
    One last question, I used to deadlift twice a week usually a heavy day then a speed day/lighter day. Most programs focus on once a week, is that best? and what I should probably do?
    Yeah agree with Herder. I think 1x per if you are squatting another day during is fine. If I pull heavy one day, I might squat med/heav on another and then do some light speed pulls that 2nd day for volume and working the technique.
    Again too, I think it depends on some guys builds. I find I can pull heavy at times 2x 3x per week for short stints, but again I am built for pulling and not pushing.
    It is most likely something you will have to experiment with and gauge for your own recovery and gains.
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    Yea looking over everything I think I'm going to go with a routine something along the lines up Cube where I have my Dead, Bench, and Squat days at varying intensities during the week so I'd do Monday-Deadlift, Tuesday- Bench, Wednesday-Squat and then Thursday and Friday fill in with some assistance, weak point, and hypertrophy work. I've been a big volume guy in the past, so switching up to a little less volume hopefully makes a change, as I seem to have plateaued here a bit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpshot903 View Post
    so I'd do Monday-Deadlift, Tuesday- Bench, Wednesday-Squat
    Well, up to you, but I might try a few more days between pulls/squats than 24 hours!? Just sayin'

    ie: Monday Deads/Assistances/

    Tuesday BP's/OHP's/assistances

    Wed: Off or active rest

    Thursday: Squats/Assistances

    Friday: OHP's/BP's/ assistances

    Or maybe something along those lines for some optimum recovery.
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    Agree with Paul. Also, there is an insane amount of volume in Cube Kingpin. Especially in a higher %1RM. You won't be disappointed.
    Training log:
    http://anabolicminds.com/forum/workout-logs/230377-13-weeks-rps.html
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    That sounds a lot better, forgot to take into account the time off between squats and deads. Thanks guys gonna start this on monday!
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    One last question I think I'm going to do basically the 4 day split you mentioned PaulBlack using the basis of the Cube Kingpin program aswell, as far as rest times go is it dependent on how long you feel you need between sets or does it vary on the heavy and explosive days?

    Also when calculating I read somewhere it is based off 95% of your 1rm max is this true or should I base off 100% of 1rm, and also when reverting back after the 3 week cycle is finished do you up the percentages?

    Also should I try to jump into the next Powerlifting meet I can? Next one would be August right around end of my 10 week cycle. I was doing some browsing on USAPL National Rankings and my 515 deadlift would put me at 52nd in the 100kg weight class for Juniors. Is this accurate? If so I'd probably fair pretty well in Massachusetts even if I just do Push/Pull for my first one.
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    the cube did well for me as well on my deads and squats. i have watched training partners add 25-75lbs to their dead in the last year with the cube. one of our guys won a contest and got a custom cube program that he of course shared with us for more awesome ideas and variations on the cube.

    i have also done the coan/phillipi program. that was when i first got started in powerlifting. it wrecked me part way through but then pulled a near 50lb PR at my next meet. i have a friend that has been using it for around 18 months and has gone from 630 to 745.

    i am using the cube layout right now. one difference is i pull a daily max deadlift before speed pulls. got the idea from the coan program. i feel its been doing me even better. i found i do well with more singles and less overall volume and frequency with deads. but then deads are my bread and butter. all my other lifts are struggling to keep up.
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpshot903 View Post
    One last question I think I'm going to do basically the 4 day split you mentioned PaulBlack using the basis of the Cube Kingpin program aswell, as far as rest times go is it dependent on how long you feel you need between sets or does it vary on the heavy and explosive days?
    If I am doing max work, I rest as long as I need. Sometimes this might be as long as 4-6 mins between a set. I don't make it a point to really count. I don't want a failed rep. As far as speed work, it is usually always easier or lighter so I try to move a bit quicker between sets.

    Also when calculating I read somewhere it is based off 95% of your 1rm max is this true or should I base off 100% of 1rm, and also when reverting back after the 3 week cycle is finished do you up the percentages?
    Well, I don't use the cube specifically, (Used Gaynor's) but feel that DL max set ups work pretty well with 90%-95% to set up w/o strategies. (a good hard rep, that you could go in and get most anytime without much grinding)
    One would be working hard getting multiples of 90%-95% loads IMO, with say a few reps and a few sets, so at the end of the cycle, you are most likely going to be stronger without burning out to soon. Which for me is a very important point.
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    You and I sound fairly similar. I'm also 6'3, and when I was deadlifting 515 I was also squatting about 365 and benching 285. I haven't actually trained lower body in a while due to an injury likely from poor squat form and poor posture, but I managed to hit a 605 deadlift and was well on my way to a 625.

    I never gained anything from doing deadlifts with more than 5 reps. Not even one top, all out set of over 5 reps did anything for me. It was always about 1-5 rep range, usually 1-4 reps. Lastly, you also have the same weaknesses I do, which is at lockout/past knees.

    I developed a program to address my knees picking things from different programs I saw that I liked. I would rotate between a 2" block pull, a 2" deficit pull, and a pull from the floor in a 4 week cycle, the 4th week being a deload (deadlift from the floor). My first 4 week cycle focused on hitting a top set of triples, the second week a top set of doubles, and my last week would be a top set of singles. That would be the first exercise. The second would be either speed deadlifts (starting at around 60%) or CAT deadlifts at a medium intensity and medium volume (4 rep sets). After that, I would follow up with a compound exercise for the glutes and a narrow squat variation to maintain strength from the floor.
    Check your form: http://anabolicminds.com/forum/exercise-science/190675-proper-techniques.html
    Log: http://anabolicminds.com/forum/workout-logs/235436-tossing-weight-torobestia.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torobestia View Post
    You and I sound fairly similar. I'm also 6'3, and when I was deadlifting 515 I was also squatting about 365 and benching 285. I haven't actually trained lower body in a while due to an injury likely from poor squat form and poor posture, but I managed to hit a 605 deadlift and was well on my way to a 625.

    I never gained anything from doing deadlifts with more than 5 reps. Not even one top, all out set of over 5 reps did anything for me. It was always about 1-5 rep range, usually 1-4 reps. Lastly, you also have the same weaknesses I do, which is at lockout/past knees.

    I developed a program to address my knees picking things from different programs I saw that I liked. I would rotate between a 2" block pull, a 2" deficit pull, and a pull from the floor in a 4 week cycle, the 4th week being a deload (deadlift from the floor). My first 4 week cycle focused on hitting a top set of triples, the second week a top set of doubles, and my last week would be a top set of singles. That would be the first exercise. The second would be either speed deadlifts (starting at around 60%) or CAT deadlifts at a medium intensity and medium volume (4 rep sets). After that, I would follow up with a compound exercise for the glutes and a narrow squat variation to maintain strength from the floor.

    Sound very similar indeed, also training styles I've worked up to 515 by really never going more than 5 reps either and sticking with heavy single, doubles, and triples. I think I might hold off on the Cube program for a few more weeks, since I think I'm going to jump into a meet in August won't be able to get a full 10 week cycle in anyways. But hopefully taking points from what all you guys have showed me and shared with me will help, I think just incorporating some Deficit Pulls, Block pulls, and more speed pulls at different percentages will really help me and then once I stall out with that after either a official meet in August or a mock meet I'll jump into the Cube program. S
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torobestia View Post
    I would rotate between a 2" block pull, a 2" deficit pull, and a pull from the floor in a 4 week cycle, the 4th week being a deload (deadlift from the floor). My first 4 week cycle focused on hitting a top set of triples, the second week a top set of doubles, and my last week would be a top set of singles. That would be the first exercise. The second would be either speed deadlifts (starting at around 60%) or CAT deadlifts at a medium intensity and medium volume (4 rep sets). After that, I would follow up with a compound exercise for the glutes and a narrow squat variation to maintain strength from the floor.
    This sounds damn close to stuff I pretty much follow too.
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