What I Am Doing To Get To A 2.5x Bodyweight Deadlift

April 26th 2019

Here is what you need to do in order to reach a 2.5x bw deadlift. The deadlift is one of the most staple exercises in all strength training programs. As a beginner, you may start off at 135lbs. Depending on your leverages and training history, you may already deadlift more than just your bodyweight. For me, my first time deadlift was 135lbs on a trap bar. I was able to do 8-10 reps, with the last few reps being relatively difficult. Fast forward six years, here I am just 10lbs shy of a 2.5x bodyweight deadlift. So, here are some of the training strategies I used in order to reach this deadlift.

How to improve your deadlift

To continue improving your deadlift, I have followed these basic training strategies:


  • Working on my weakness
  • Doing better than before
  • Stay focused on a program
  • Have patience


I will list some of the training strategies I used to help me continue to improve my strength. As stated before, at a 425lbs deadlift at 170lbs bodyweight, I will have reached a 2.5x bodyweight deadlift. Not record breaking but a PR for me nevertheless.

1. Working on my weakness

From very early on in strength training, I knew that breaking the deadlift off the floor was difficult for me. It was just one of those things that kept on getting worse as I continued to add weight on my deadlift. It would cause my grip to fail. Eventually, it was not even a grip issue at all. I was just too weak to get the weight off the ground.

Deficit deadlifts

For the past 6 months, I incorporated deficit deadlifts as my main deadlift accessory. I knew that it would help me get to a stronger off the floor. In the past, I would always shy away from doing any deadlift accessories, especially deficit deadlifts. I knew it made me feel extremely fatigued. The movement never felt easy and it drained me all the time.

Now, I know that in order to further succeed, I will need to continue to do hard work. This means I will need to ignore those mental complaints and suck it up. I will need to continue doing deficit deadlifts in order to make progress.

In the first few months, I did deficit deadlifts twice a week, one day was heavy and the other day was light. In the last month or two, I am currently only doing deficit deadlifts as a light movement. I am doing 225lbs for 1 set of 12 reps. I have increased it from 10 reps, which was what I was doing for the past 6 months.

Barbell rows

Damn, another exercise that is difficult for me. And this is exactly the reason why it is going to be one of the staples of my program. I am not sure whether or not my back is another weak part of my deadlift. However, since I have not hit a 600+lbs deadlift, it will need to be trained regardless.

Plus, it is already a difficult movement for me. Just like the deficit deadlift, I will enjoy the challenge these two exercises give me.

2. Do better than before

I have currently implemented a slow pyramid program where I am doing 2 sets of 8 for my deadlift. Currently, I am at 265lbs. I will increase the weight until I am no longer able to do so. I will then switch over to 2 sets of 5 reps. Then, eventually, I will do 2 sets of 3 reps. Then, 2 sets of 2 reps. Finally, I will test my max at the end of this progression.

In terms of doing better than I did before, I will try to do better than my previous deadlift PRs. At the moment, one of my rep PRs for the deficit deadlift is 325lbs for 2 sets of 7 reps. I believe I am standing on a 3” barbell plate.

Look forward to the challenge

There was something I read that really spoke to me; it was the way of the ancient spartans. I read about their warriors and how they were engulfed into becoming the strongest and most elite fighters they can be. Anything less would not be tolerated. This is part of the Spartan mentality.

It may be harder for some people. For others, getting a 2.5x bodyweight deadlift may be a big deal. For instance, if you weigh 300lbs, a 2.5x deadlift will put you art 750lbs. This absolute deadlift number is very impressive for many people. However, if you only weigh 150lbs, a 2.5x bodyweight deadlift is only 375lbs. For both men and women, world record holders deadlift at a much greater multiple than that.

So, regardless of your weight class, look forward to the challenge. Understand that you have tremendous potential to gain by continuing to train hard. You have very little resistance to stop you; it is the inner demons that really hold you back.

3. Stay focused with a program

Throughout my 6 years of training, I have always been organized. Even if I did not have an official program to train by, I still made sure I did something. Something is always doing to be better than nothing.

I asked a training partner a while back on how he was able to deadlift 495lbs around 160lbs. This puts him at a 3x bodyweight deadlift. What he told me was very interesting at the time. He said that he never really thought about the weight. He listened to his program and his coach. Even though he felt anxious about lifting new deadlift PRs, he said that he just believed in his workout program. He said that if he was getting antsy about his deadlift attempt, he would recall on all the hard training sessions that were leading up to the present moment. He would trust that all his hard training has prepared him to hit this PR. And boom, it was done in a matter of seconds.

A training program is not only a routine to help you stay organized and committed. It is your blueprint to a better life, a stronger life. The exact steps on how to get a bigger deadlift are found in your training program. This is one reason why I place so much emphasis on picking a program that suits your fitness goals. Nobody wants to do a program they hate; doing a program you despise is an injustice for you. If you do not want to workout, then do not. But understand you will live and breathe with the consequences of your actions in the future.

4. Have patience

If I am doing everything right inside the gym, I will need to make sure I am doing everything right outside as well. This means that I get enough sleep and high-quality food. Since I am not actively looking to gain weight, I am willing to accept and add in the time constraint of improving my deadlift.

For a lot of people, they reached a 405lbs deadlift in 1-2 years. For me, it took 6 years. And it was worth every training day and night I invested into myself. A lot of people will say that strength training takes too long or it is not working. For me, I enjoyed the process regardless. I had fun with my training and it has changed my body tremendously. I am willing to accept the delayed gratification of becoming a student of strength training. I put in the hard work now, while it accumulates for years to result in a very strong and powerful deadlift PR.

Final Thoughts

Making progress in the deadlift is not rocket science. If something is working, why change it? If you have been following the basic strength training principles, do not fix what is not broken. Continue to train and allow your body to adapt. At the same time, you will know when the time comes where you will need to adapt your training beliefs and invite other world-class ideas to become a part of your training habits.

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