How often should you deadlift every week?
Updated June 24th 2021
In 2019, I was deadlifting twice a week and I was wondering, do you need to deadlift every week?
Now, I run 5/3/1 Forever which has me deadlifting once a week.
Though I did modify my training so that I can at least strength train 6 days a week if I wanted to.
Throughout my years of training, I have varied between once a week to as often as three times a week.
Is this good?
Or this just the inexperience in me trying to do what I want?
Your deadlifting frequency will vary depending on your training goals, lifting experience, age, genetics, recovery potential, and many other factors.
There are many programs that advocate training deadlifts once a week while some programs have you deadlifting twice a week.
You may also notice that there are some individuals that deadlift once every two to three weeks.
So, the deadlifting frequency is really dependent on your ambitions and dedication.
How often should you deadlift heavy?
One of the most common training frequencies for deadlift training is doing deadlifts once a week heavy, at least.
However, if you do decide to deadlift heavy once a week, you may opt to do heavy sets, with high intensity with low to moderate volume.
Many lifters find this deadlift frequency very fitting for their training.
In fact, I deadlift once a week heavy as well, so I can advocate for this style.
Now, you can just stop there and call it a week for your deadlifts.
You may decide to do deadlift accessories or light deadlifts on another day but that solely depends on your training program customization.
Now, there are heavier lifters who claim that their deadlifting success comes from deadlifting once every two weeks, essentially twice a month.
However, that frequency does not tell the entire picture.
These lifters are deadlifting heavy weights, 700+ lbs, sometimes even getting close to 1000+ lbs, depending on how close their meet deadline is.
While deadlift frequencies vary across weight classes and experience levels, most lifters will benefit from deadlifting once or twice a week.
In order to scale your deadlift training to once every two weeks, the time will come and your body will know when it's ready for another programming tweak.
How often should you deadlift per week?
- Twice a week, one heavy and one light session
- Once a week, one heavy session
- Deadlift everyday
If you are looking to try something different, many lifters also deadlift twice a week, one heavy day and one light day.
Other people opt for a once a week deadlift frequency.
Because the deadlift is a very taxing compound movement, training any more than twice a week with moderate intensity and moderate volume will not enjoy the new few days.
Of course, there are ways to train the deadlift more frequently.
Some people will choose to deadlift with lighter intensity, to combat the increased amount of deadlifting days.
Another option people may choose is to only focus on the deadlift and run a deadlift only program to get results.
Others can be a madman.
In October 2018, Chris Duffin from Kabuki Strength accepted a mission to deadlift 400kg/880lbs for a span of 30 days.
You read that right.
880lbs FOR 30 DAYS.
This was a special event as Chris Duffin was doing this challenge to raise money and awareness for Cancer Research.
View this post on Instagram
??DAY 15?? - I am deadlifting 880lbs (400kg) every day for 30 days to raise money and awareness for children?s cancer. - We are partnering with @alexslemonade Alex's Lemonade Stand, a kid's cancer charity that raises money to fund cancer research specifically for children. It was started by a little girl named Alex when she was 4 years old. She raised over 1 million dollars by age 8 when she passed away from a cancer called Neuroblastoma. Our whole team was heartbroken when we heart Alex's story from her mom Liz on a call. You can read more about the story at 880everyday.com or on the ALSF website. - Why are we doing this, and why am I using my platform and my company?s platform to do this? - Because Kabuki Strength's 4th pillar is Charity, and we believe that making the world a better place through strength should involve giving freely and generously of our time, money, attention, resources, and platform. - Rather than simply drawing attention to ourselves, we?ve found that we can use feats of strength like this to create attention and awareness around a specific cause and have a call-to-action that encourages people to support the cause. - My ask of you is simple - please donate whatever you can, if you can, and share one of the daily videos on your platform as a way to reach more people with this cause. - Head over to 880everyday.com and you will be able to follow along as well as donate directly to Alex?s Lemonade Stand on the event page. - 880everyday.com Link in Bio - #880everyday @alexslemonade @marksmellybell @therock @timferriss @joerogan @garyvee @mobilitywod @steficohen @kabukistrengthlab @smith.julian @jujimufu @thorbjornsson @schwarzenegger @danalinnbailey @shawstrength @mikeohearn @realworld_tactical @barbend
Images used from @mad_scientist_duffin on Instagram
Though on Day 16, Chris Duffin proved to us that the human body can push through adversity for a long period of time.
On Day 16, Chris Duffin suffered a minor setback.
And for the sake of his long term health, he did not continue the challenge.
But deadlifting DAILY 880LBS?
For 16 days?
It really sheds some light on the mysteries of deadlifting with high frequencies.
It really shows that anything works if you put your mind, body, and soul into your mission and path.
Deadlifting 3 times a week?
Though this is not a popular deadlifting frequency, it can be manageable to deadlifting 3 times a week.
It really depends on what your goals are.
Usually, people who have less than a 405lbs deadlift would think of this frequency.
Beginners do not understand quite how taxing deadlifts can truly be.
This involves being sick more often after deadlifts and squats.
If you are training for a powerlifting competition, you can make it work.
You may not be pulling the deadlift for a high amount of volume.
Maybe even your intensity might not be high, but it really depends on your recovery and deadlift goals.
In an ideal world, we can recover quickly in time for the next workout.
Maybe you want to think about taking creatine without working out to get maximal benefits.
This means that we should be able to recover from heavy deadlifts in less than a day, which is not realistic for the time being.
If you are deadlifting 3 times a week for general health or to be better at a sport, this can work for you as well.
Again, there are so many different angles you can approach your training from.
- You can do a heavy day, light day, and moderate day.
- You can do three moderate days.
- You can do one heavy day and two light days.
These are some of the more balanced approaches but you can also train to suit your needs.
So, if you want to lift weights on weekends only, this is not the deadlift frequency for you.
What works for you may not work well for someone else.
So, I am very open and curious about other people’s training methods.
This is a perfect opportunity to experience and see if deadlifting 3 times a week works well for you.
In my training history, there were brief moments where I trained deadlifts three times a week.
I was not able to sustain that deadlifting frequency because I wanted to train heavy with moderate volume.
As a result, my body did not recover well in time for the next deadlift workout and I stalled with my training for a couple of months.
Since then, I have learned from that mistakes and am continuing to try new things.
This involved finding the best deadlift stance for short legs.
Adding speed deadlifts into your program has a mixed bag of opinions on the internet.
On one side, there are the speed deadlift advocates.
On the other side, some lifters say it is a waste of time to go to the gym to do light deadlifts when they could be spending more time recovering for the next heavy deadlift session.
Which is right?
Should I do speed deadlifts or not?
Again, these questions revolve around your goals.
What do you want from your training?
And are speed deadlifts helping you get closer to your goals?
Speed deadlifts are used to improve a lifter’s technique and bar speed.
They are also another great way to add in some deadlift work that is not going to make you want to hurl over.
You can practice your technique
Strength training coaches in the industry have trained many athletes and could classify their technique into three categories:
- Great technique - 5% of lifters
- Great technique until the weight gets heavy - 60% of lifters
- Bad technique - 35% of lifters
To paraphrase, 19 out of 20 lifters’ techniques will suffer as a result of doing heavier deadlifts.
So, one way to help mitigate this issue is to start practicing good technique from the start
Great for light deadlift accessories
One of the benefits of doing speed deadlifts is that the intensity is not very high.
For some lifters who train heavy squats on the same day as their deadlifts, this is one alternative to not make you hate yourself when going to the gym!
Squats and deadlifts only for legs program; it works until it does not, am I right?
I have run many programs that forced me to deadlift and squat heavy on the same day and it was brutal.
The first few weeks were tolerable and then it gets to a point where you just dread going to the gym to get beat up.
Currently, my heavy deadlifts and heavy squats are on different days.
For some people, this may not be an option to separate their two exercises so doing speed deadlifts might help reduce your stress.
Speaking of deadlift accessories, Strongman is great as well
If you are thinking about adding an extra day to support your deadlift, why not include some Strongman events?
- Farmer's walks
- yoke walks
- sandbag carries— any difference between a 100lbs sandbag vs a 150lbs sandbag?
- atlas stones— highly recommended looking into Strongman tacky
At first glance, it might not seem like there is much carryover.
However, you can see that all these exercises involve heavy weights.
They involve grip strength.
They involve loading your posterior chain.
Everything that is just perfect for your building a strong back for a potentially great deadlift.
How often you should do them?
Again, tough to say but start out with once a week and work your way from there.
For many beginners, once a week for Strongman events is plenty.
And there is a way to mimic a thick barbell if do not have an axle bar— use fat gripz and gradually, your forearms will be great.
Why is my deadlift going down?
There are many reasons why your deadlift numbers are going down.
Again, it really stems from your lifestyle and training history.
- You are fatigued
- You are not following a program
- Bad days could happen
- You are not eating enough
You are fatigued
Whatever program you are running, you are not recovering enough to deadlift in the next deadlift session.
In fact, your body is so taxed that your performance is hindered because your body needs a chance to recover.
A good way mitigate these effects is to take a deload.
Of course, the best way to prevent this fatigue from overaccumulating is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
You are not following a program
Time to stop messing around. You were able to make some “gains” in your deadlifts but because of the lack of thoughtful planning, your deadlift numbers are plummeting.
There is a reason why many experienced lifters recommend that you follow a program religiously.
It is not to make them money or to feed their ego.
It is really to help you stay on track and to make small improvements over time so that you can continue to get stronger.
And for an advanced movement such as the deadlift, a program is a sure thing to get you on the right track to the gains train.
Bad days could happen
You are on a program.
You are eating enough and sleeping a ton.
Yet, your deadlift numbers are going down?
Sometimes, you will have bad days where you are not able to hit your working set numbers.
These should rarely happen but when they do, it is perfectly okay to acknowledge this event.
It could be your body warning you about your life circumstances or your body condition.
Whatever the case may be, it is your duty to not get too down on missing one or two deadlift working sets.
Make a note of it in your training log and continue to execute your plan.
You are not eating enough
Not fueling your body is a sure way to impact your performance greatly in the gym.
For a complex movement like the deadlift, missing a meal or two will spell trouble for your deadlift gains.
Feeling lightheaded after deadlifts may be some of the precursors of something dangerous.
The last thing we want in the gym is an accident waiting to happen.
Deadlifting once a week will be ideal for most beginners.
It will be good for a lot of experienced lifters as well.
Very few lifters get into powerlifting training where they only deadlift once every two weeks or even once a month.
By the time you reach that point, you will have gained enough training experience to make that determination on your own.
Look at Richard Hawthorne's training philosophy about training frequency and intensity:
For now, just be aware that there is a lot of different training philosophies out there but in the end, every program's main goal is to help you get stronger.