Why A 2x BW Deadlift Is Not Enough, Continue To Train Hard
Updated June 19th 2021
When lifters first start deadlift, we always dream to hit a very high and respectable weight.
But what is “respectable”?
I have asked the a similar question for a respectable bench press— for the deadlift, what is that number?
- Maybe 700lbs?
What is the general deadlift standard in the lifting community?
For the casual gym bro at the gym, a 2x bodyweight deadlift may get you some fist bumps and head nods.
If you are a serious strength athlete, no one will look your way.
It is about perspective but one of the most important things that you need to realize is that achieving a double bodyweight deadlift is for yourself.
You should want to achieve this strength milestone because you want to.
2x BW deadlift
A 2x BW deadlift is a great achievement and can take between 6 months to 2 years to achieve. It is not an amazing feat for strength athletes but it is decent for casual lifters.
Lifters want to be accepted and respected.
It is natural for a human being to want admiration since it gives them some purpose behind lifting.
Especially with an alpha exercise like the deadlift, we want to make sure first impressions are done well.
Having a double bodyweight deadlift may get you some nods and handshakes from casual and inexperienced lifters.
However, to really impress yourself and other people, you will need to get at least a 3 times bodyweight deadlift in order to set yourself apart from the average lifter.
But make no mistake about it, you absolutely need to hit a double bodyweight deadlift before even thinking about getting stronger.
It is a great milestone to check off but you need to get back to work after you celebrated for about a few seconds.
Contrast that to a 2x bodyweight squat.
How to get a 2x BW deadlift
There are many ways to get a 2x bw deadlift.
For some lifters, they were already able to deadlift 1.5x their bw for the first time in the gym— without deadlift first time lower back pain too.
This is the making of a deadlift beast with a few years of consistent training.
For other gym-goers, they may start off closer to a 1x bw deadlift since they never picked up anything heavy from the ground.
So, here is how to get a 2x bw deadlift with consistent effort—
- Linear progression program
- Consistent training (to emphasize this point!)
This is by far one of the easiest ways to get to your 2x bw deadlift, possibly even a 2.5x bodyweight deadlift.
There is really no other reason why you should pick any other program unless you are a super heavy lifter (300+lbs).
Then, you may need to be more selective about your programming.
But for almost all of the lifters in the world, a double body weight deadlift is absolutely doable in your novice stage of lifting.
In fact, a triple body weight deadlift should definitely be a goal for all novice lifters.
I find that many lifters fall short of this achievement for various reasons:
- Breath control - Do you take your deadlift breath at the top or bottom?
- Inconsistent form - Are your hips shooting up still?
- Ego lifting - Still shaking while deadlifting by going too heavy too often?
It is up to you to see how bad you want to increase your deadlifts.
The programs and tools you can use are free and available to the public.
How long did it take you to get a 2x bw deadlift?
For me, it took me around 4 years to get to a double bodyweight deadlift.
I deadlifted 365lbs for 4 reps while weighing around 180lbs.
This was back in 2017.
I was using starting strength again since I felt that I needed more consistency in my training.
The reason it took a while for me to hit a 2x bw deadlift was that I was practicing my double overhand grip for the first 3 years of strength training.
I was determined to not let my grip fall behind.
Whenever I failed a deadlift due to grip, I would just stop there.
Even though I had way more reps in the tank because my back and hamstrings were not fatigued, I still did not go for more reps.
It was not until I because frustrated how low my deadlift was compared to my squat that I began to use a mixed grip and to redo linear progression to truly see how far I can get my deadlift to.
For a lot of lifters, they were able to reach a 2x bw deadlift in about 6 months of consistent programming.
There were another set of lifters that achieved a 2x bw deadlift in about 2 years.
These two milestones seem to be two of the most common peaks where lifters reach their double body weight deadlift.
415 lbs deadlift any good?
After you deadlift 4 plates, what is your next goal?
For a majority of lifters asking this question, you probably weigh between 180lbs to 200lbs.
If that is the case, you just barely passed the double body weight deadlift mark.
It is great that the milestone is achieved.
Now, you need to get back to work and hit a 2.5x bw deadlift.
In 2019, I hit a 415lbs deadlift at 170lbs bw.
This would put me at a 2.4x bw deadlift, which is getting my close to another milestone.
Though the bigger milestone is, of course, the 3x bodyweight deadlift, slow and steady will win the race.
Though I do have the urgency to make progress as quickly as I can, I am aware that I need to not stress over everything and to just give my workouts everything I got.
There seems to be a generally accepted rule in the lifting community that if you get older, you can lower your standards.
If you want to use age as an excuse, then be my guest.
If you have a history of injuries and illnesses, then only you can understand how hard you need to push yourself.
The barbell has no emotion.
Old, young, frail, strong— it does not spare anyone.
You lift because you want to.
There seem to be a lot of older lifters that convince themselves that a 2x bw deadlift is “good enough” for their age.
These lifters are usually between the ages of 40-70.
If you are in between that age, you are not that old.
You are not even “old” in any content.
I truly believe that age is a mindset and if you want to atrophy and not make as many gains as someone in your weight class, who is to blame but yourself?
What if you do not want to run a powerlifting style linear progression program?
Can you still hit a 2x bw deadlift?
Yes, you can.
Programs, like Fierce 5, is a bodybuilding program that also focuses on strength.
Maybe your lats won't grow and you need an extra kick in the right direction.
You just need to make sure you are hitting all the right muscle groups:
- Biceps femoris
- External obliques
- Rectus femoris, if you have more knee bend in conventional deadlifts or use sumo deadlifts
- Erector spinae
- Lower traps/middle traps
I hope you get the idea; just your entire posterior chain.
While you will make more progress if you focus on general strength programs that focus on the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press, it is ultimately your decision on whether or not you want to run a program.
Just because a majority of lifters chose to do Starting Strength and Greyskull LP, it does not mean these are the only programs out there.
You can make your own and do strength training 6 days a week...
It does speak to how effective these programs are.
So, just know that you are taking a risk by leaving lbs off your lifts if you do not choose a general strength training program, where the sole purpose is for you to gain strength.
Regardless, progress can be made whether you follow a general strength program or not.
All linear progression programs follow the same sort of strength training principles— progressive overloading, fatigue management, specificity, recovery adaptation, variation, and a few other golden rules for strength training.
Just be aware of the linear progression limits.
If you want to get a bigger deadlift, you will need to do deadlifts.
There is no other bigger secret than what I just revealed to you.
You will get better at the exercise you want by doing the exercise.
And you do the exercise over and over again.
Good deadlift weight
Deadlifting 500lbs would be a good deadlift weight if you weigh less than 200lbs.
At 180lbs bodyweight, this makes you stronger than 93% of the population.
Below I share with you the best deadlift form I have seen and attempted to replicate in my own way.
Here is Richard Hawthorne being a beast and deadlifting 545lbs x3 for his top set:
Everyone will progress at their own rate.
A 405lbs deadlift is a great goal to have as long as you can achieve it and make a plan to strive for it.
Forget world records and all of that.
I was never worried about hitting a certain threshold of strength until my ratios of squat and bench press were not in sync with my deadlift.
Unless you are a super heavy weight (300lbs+), your deadlift will be your strongest lift.
Whether you need to tweak your technique or figure out why your deadlift is not clicking, this is an issue that will only help you to get stronger.
Just make sure that click is not a deadlift back crack.