Training

How Long To Deadlift 4 Plates | Programming Tips

May 16th 2020

How impressive is a 4-plate deadlift really?

How does it compare to a 5-plate deadlift?

6 plates?

Most people know how impressive it is to watch someone be able to deadlift 6 plates.

But the strength requirements for anything below 6-plates is harder to conceive.

Most people like to think they are stronger than they actually are, but when they start training and try to deadlift, they will quickly find that they are much weaker than they thought.

So why is this and what makes the deadlift such a difficult to accurately gauge someone’s strength?

For those who are just getting started lifting, you know that the deadlift is most likely your heaviest lift.

It is not uncommon for people to be able to deadlift over 100 lbs. the first time they pick up the bar.

But imagine when you weren’t lifting. How impressive did you think it was to lift 100 lbs.? 200 lbs.? 300 lbs.?

To the average person, 100 lbs. might seem impressive. But in reality, 100 lbs. is not even deadlifting 1 plate.

Once you start training and realize this, you might realize 200 lbs. is nothing. It’s not even 2 plates. 

What about 315? 3 plates. 405? 

4 plates. It seems like until you reach an absurdly high number like 500 lbs. that beginners start to recognize a deadlift as impressive.

So, because of how difficult it is to gauge the requirements in order to lift certain weights, it is easy to underestimate the amount of work and strength required in order to lift anything under 6 plates.

Especially in this day and age, when people are constantly comparing themselves to professional athletes who have been training for years and are able to lift 6-plates.

As someone who has witnessed these feats, and is able to deadlift 4 plates, this is my opinion on how impressive the different stages of the deadlift are when compared to the bench press.

Those who are new typically have a better idea of strength standards regarding the bench press so to keep things simple:

I would say that a 3-plate deadlift (for men specifically) is the equivalent of being able to bench press 185 lbs. 

That is, you are stronger than the average lifter (who may only be able to bench 1 plate max) but you are not quite there yet. 

Going by the same metric, a 4-plate deadlift is the equivalent of being able to bench 2 plates.

To most people, this is impressive. To long-term lifters, this places you somewhere near the high-intermediate level.

So how long does it take exactly to get to this level?

How long does it take to be able to deadlift 4 plates?

All those questions will be answered in today’s article.

How long does it take on average?

Looking at the best-case scenario which is a 20-year old lifter with above-average genetics, eats a healthy diet, sleeps well, and trains hard, on average it will take between half a year, to a year in order to progress from a 3 plate deadlift to a 4 plate deadlift.

But keep in mind, this is a very broad range and your progress will depend on many factors such as genetics, diet, sleep, workout routine, height, weight, age, work schedule, etc.

Those who are young, get plenty of sleep, have plenty of free time in the gym, and don’t miss workouts are able to progress much faster than those who are currently working, are slightly older, and who have all sorts of different stressors in their life.

So, keep in mind that if you do not fit the category of the ideal circumstances in order to deadlift 4 plates in a year, it does not mean that you are a weak or a failure.

As long as you continue to get stronger over time, you will still eventually reach 4-plates.

What training style will get you to this the quickest?

There isn’t a specific routine that is fit for everybody that everyone can follow in order to increase their deadlift.

You need to find whatever routine works best for you and your schedule.

But in general, the most optimal training style to follow if you wish to increase your deadlift is a powerlifting routine.

Powerlifters train in order to increase their 1 rep max to superhuman levels.

No matter which powerlifting program you follow, most are decent enough to elevate you to the next level and achieve a 4-plate deadlift.

These programs will typically involve you lifting heavy weights in a low rep range (between 1 to 5) in order to build strength as well as incorporating accessory lifts such as paused deadlifts, rack pulls, or block pulls, that work to help train your form and any sticking points you might have at any time during the lift.

How impressive is a 4-plate deadlift?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask.

Ask anybody straight out of high school, or college, and chances are, 4 plates is something they have not yet achieved.

However, ask someone who just came out of a powerlifting competition, you’ll find out that 4-plates is the minimum amount people pull on the platform and usually they pull a lot more.

But truth is, it doesn’t really matter what other people think is impressive or not.

What matters is what you believe and how you feel.

If you think a 4-plate deadlift is something that requires a lot of time and effort in order for you to achieve, you should continue thinking that way.

It does no good for you to work hard, accomplish a feat such as deadlifting 4-plates, only to be told by a Redditor that 4-plates isn’t impressive and treating this as a fact.

4-plates is impressive. It is something that most lifters are not able to achieve.

So be proud of your accomplishment, and no matter where you are, keep working your way up to the next level.

It does not matter whether or not others recognize your achievement. 

And even if they don’t think it is impressive, soon enough, you will become even stronger and 4-plates will feel like cake to you.

Does that make it any less impressive? Absolutely not. You worked hard to achieve it.

How long does it take to get from 4 plates to 5 plates?

Now that we established how long to deadlift 4 plates, how long does it take to deadlift 5 plates?

This is a much harder question to answer as staying consistent with your diet/training/sleep becomes even more important.

As stated before, most lifters will not be able to deadlift 3 plates, let alone 4 plates.

To get from 4 plates to 5 plates, I would say it is the equivalent of going from a 2-plate bench to a 3-plate bench.

You will encounter a lot of plateauing, form fixes, stalling, and you will find the need to consistently switch up your routine incorporating different accessory lifts in order to keep making progress.

Overall, as you get stronger, lifting becomes more of a grind where you can only make minuscule progress but over time, it adds up.

I personally have not yet been able to deadlift 5 plates, but from my experience speaking with other lifters and with friends who have, I would say best-case scenario, it will take most people around 2 years of consistent training. 

Don’t let that deter you, focus on the climb rather than the destination.

Conclusion

This article should give you a higher level idea of what you need to do in order to crush your old PRs.

If you are looking for deadlift accessories or alternatives to further strengthen your weakest links, that would be a very good idea to explore.

Just remember to give it some time before you switch to a different strategy to boost up your lifts.

Just because you see people doing crazy feats on the internet does not mean you should be either.

Work at your own pace.

And keep on training.


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