Deadlifts: they’re efficient, easy to scale, and some of the most available workouts at your local gym. If you’ve been looking to increase your lifting routine, focusing on your deadlifts is a great place to start.
Looking for big results?
Follow these 5 simple tips to increase your deadlift by MORE than 100 lbs. in 10 months.
Focus on Form First
Compound exercises, like the deadlift, are usually more difficult to master than other lifts. Remember: the deadlift takes study, repetition, practice, and time to master.
No matter how much weight you’re lifting, a deadlift done wrong is no deadlift at all! What’s more, it could be dangerous. Skimp on form and you could ruin your back for good, so take this tip very seriously.
To build strength and add on the plates, start by significantly reducing your deadlift weight. Try lifting the bar alone correctly. Then add 25 lb. plates on either side.
If you ever feel your back arching, drop the weights and reset. If you’re unable to deadlift with proper form, don’t deadlift at all.
Once you’re feeling comfortable with your form, then you can move on and start lifting heavier.
Need an example? Check out this Buff Dudes Video to learn how to execute the deadlift properly:
Deadlift Heavy and then Heavier
If you want to lift heavier weights, you need to lift heavier weights.
Seem obvious? It is!
Follow the deadlift workout routine below to increase your deadlift by 100 pounds in the coming months.
Deadlift Workout Routine
Performing 10-12 reps is not lifting heavy.
Your rep range should be 4-6 with 3 sets.
If you find you’re doing more than 7 reps, then congratulations—that means you can add more weight.
Once you increase your weight and get back to 7 reps, then increase your weight again.
By increasing your lifts like this, you ensure proper form while still adding more weight.
If you add weight and find you can only do 2-3 reps, then it’s too heavy for you right now, so decrease the weight until you’re back in the 4-6 rep range.
Mike Matthew’s Bigger Leaner Stronger book goes into all the scientific research behind why this is the ideal rep range. To learn more about why lifting heavier will help you lift heavier weights more quickly, check out Mike’s blog post How to Build Muscle and scroll down to the How Heavy is “Heavy”? section.
Eat to Lift and Build
Nutrition plays a vital role in your deadlift.
Get your nutrition wrong, and you can lift every day for years with only minimal results.
Get your nutrition right, and you will build lean muscle mass week by week.
Eat too little and you won’t have enough energy to lift heavy.
It’s obviously a delicate balance, which begs the question – how should you eat to increase your deadlift?
The Answer: Bulking
Bulking is when you eat additional calories to give your body increased energy to build.
Protein helps with muscle synthesis, but to get more protein into your body you’re going to need to eat more food (protein, carbs, fats).
By strategically increasing your daily calories, you’ll give your body extra nutrients to help feed your growth. If you try to eat just the right amount of calories to prevent fat but gain muscle, you run the narrow risk of eating too little and giving your body insufficient nutrients and energy to build muscle.
Bulking is not about going buck wild and eating everything in sight! Do that and you’ll gain a significant amount of fat that will require you to cut for a longer period of time, reducing your muscle mass as well (more on that later).
Increasing your healthy food intake means increasing the amounts of the foods you’re already eating.
This is the simplest way to bulk.
For example, if you eat a cup of oatmeal to maintain your weight, eat a cup and half to bulk. This is a much better choice for getting your additional calories rather than loading up on pizza or doughnuts.
A little fat gain is commonly associated with bulking, but it’s necessary to increase your lifts quickly. If you don’t bulk, you’ll spend twice as much time to see similar results.
But is lifting heavier weights worth the fat gain? Are you only increasing your deadlift to inevitably hide your muscles behind a horrible layer of fat?
The Answer: Cutting
Cutting is when you reduce your caloric intake so you can burn fat quickly.
As you reduce your calories, your body will begin to burn fat for energy.
You will lose some muscle as well, but this is part of the bulking/cutting cycle.
When you’re cutting, you won’t see many gains at all. After all, it’s hard to increase your lifts when your body doesn’t have surplus energy.
But that’s what the cycle is all about!
You build massive muscles and strength with bulking. Then you cut the fat (and a little of the muscle, unfortunately) with cutting.
To increase my deadlift by 100 lbs., I started with bulking to build my strength.
Remember, everyone is different, and your body will adapt differently to different things. With this in mind, build a plan that works for you! If you need some help, check out this step-by-step guide for building your own personal workout plan.
Rest and Let Your Muscles Heal
To increase your deadlift and other lifts, rest will need play an important role.
The most important resting opportunities to increase your muscle growth will be between sets, workout sessions, post-workout periods, weeklong breaks, and bedtime.
To lift heavy, you’re going to need to take longer breaks.
You’re not going to be able to lift as heavy as you can if you’re supersetting or shortening your breaks.
To recover your strength, you should wait 2-3 minutes between each set.
This will give your muscles enough time to recharge for the next lift!
You also need to regulate your workout intensity.
If you’re mixing back day and leg day together, one of your workouts is going to suffer.
Dedicate your strength, energy and focus to one muscle group a day.
For example, Monday is chest day—Tuesday is back day—Wednesday is shoulders day—etc.
Abs are the exception. You can incorporate ab workouts into your routine, but make sure you end with core workouts.
In addition, make sure you rest your muscles 5-7 days between each muscle workout.
This will give your body adequate time to repair and build.
Working the same muscles in quick succession will deny your body the opportunity to grow—the #1 reason you’re working your butt off!
Additionally, be sure to avoid working out excessively. 45-60 minutes per session is long enough.
More than that and your body is likely to release cortisol which will break down your muscle tissue and increase your body fat. So don’t think more time in the gym will correlate to more gains. Often, the opposite is true!
Sufficient sleep is also vital to increasing your muscle strength.
People vary, but on average you should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you are killing yourself in the gym, then you need to allow your body to rest and build.
Take a weeklong break every 8-10 week—and more if necessary.
Consistently lifting heavy begins to take a toll on the body.
When you start to feel your energy levels dropping, your motivation dying and your body aching, then it’s time to take a break. Weeklong breaks allow your body to recover completely so you can come back and hit the gym hard.
It’s better for you to have one great workout than three average workouts. So get the rest you need, then come back and make those gains!
Develop Other Muscle Groups
This might sound strange, but you’ll increase your deadlift when you increase your other lifts.
If you follow the same deadlift building methods we’ve discussed here with your other compound lifts, you’ll see massive results.
Compound exercises incorporate multiple muscles—this is especially true with the deadlift.
You use practically every muscle in your body when performing the deadlift, but a few are more activated than others:
- Lower Back – Deadlifts primarily target the back muscles. The lower back is contracted throughout the exercise, especially at the top of the movement.
- Legs – Your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps all aid in the deadlift execution. The legs initiate most of the movement and then transfer the weight more to the back as the movement rises.
- Core – Your abdominal muscles squeeze to stabilize your spine and keep your back from rounding.
The shoulders, arms, and traps are also used in the deadlift.
Because the deadlift workout routine involves so many muscles, you’ll build deadlifting strength as you increase your strength in other compound exercises.
How to Increase Deadlift by 100 Pounds | Conclusion
We’ve gone over quite a lot of tips to help you dramatically increase your deadlift, so let’s wrap it all up:
- Focus on improving your form before increasing your weight.
- Deadlift heavy amounts of weight for low reps and low sets. Deadlift Workout Routine: shoot for 4-6 reps and aim for 3 sets.
- Cycle between bulking and cutting to maximize muscle growth while maintaining a lean physique.
- Rest your body sufficiently to allow your muscles to heal and grow.
- Workout all the muscles in your body to build your overall muscle strength, thereby increasing your deadlift.
Well, there you have it! Follow these 5 simple tips and the deadlift workout routine and in 10 months you’ll be deadlifting 100 lbs. heavier!
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