Is A 600 lbs deadlift possible at 160lbs bodyweight?

March 26th 2019

Is a 600 lbs deadlift possible at 160? Seven-time Mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger once said that the only thing that stands between you and your end goal is your mind. If you believe it, you can do it. Anyway, to cut the long story short, I’ll tell you that you can deadlift 600 pounds at 160 pounds.

Yes, it is possible

Achieving a 600lbs deadlift at 160lbs bodyweight is entirely possible for all healthy individuals. The only caveat is that lifters do not put in the work to achieve this goal.

It’s been done before on plenty of occasions. We’ll look to the IPF Powerlifting Championships to substantiate that with the most recent evidence. American lifter Taylor Atwood deadlifted 293kg (644.8lbs) in June 2018 at the 6th World Classic Championship in Canada. However, Taylor Atwood would smash his old PR with a 305.5kg (672.4lbs) deadlift four months later.

Beyond him though, the IPF archive also entails records of a 73 kg (161 lbs) Russian named Gaishinetc Sergei who, for two consecutive years, was able to deadlift 327.5 kg (722 lb) and 325 kg (716.5 lb) in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

Ukrainian Anatolii Goriachok meanwhile managed 323.6 kg while the world standard is fixed at 320kg or 705 pounds for the weight class which is a testament to the fact that it is very much possible.

How you can do it

Now that we’ve established the possibility to be in the affirmative, the next question surely swirly at the back of your mind right about now is how you can get there. You probably looked up the question above in a bid to finding out if it is possible so as to intensify training to get there. Luckily, we can also help you out with that as we’ll be breaking down what 600 lb plus deadlifters have done to get to where they are:

1) Try out different styles

If you are a conventional deadlifter, you need to pull sumo in your offseason. If you are a sumo deadlifter, you need to pull conventional in your offseason. It is important to keep training all the different techniques and grips for the deadlift so you do not have a lingering weakness. You’ll need to mix things up if you aim to make serious strength progress.

Ever wondered why Ed Coan trained conventional deadlifts during his offseason and then he would switch to his mid-stance sumo deadlift and proceed to set world records. If it worked in the past, why tinker with it?

2) Ensure the bar is always in the middle

Setup is vital in every type of big lift more so in deadlift where you need to ensure a centralized position for maximum effectiveness. The bar needs to go through the shortest distance if you aim to better your best whilst maintaining close proximity to the body. Any deviation from the center line is actually doing you a lot of harm as you are technically lifting less weight than you’re aiming for hence making slow progress.

The common error for most deadlifters with regards to placement is that they do not use the midpoint of the entire foot for finding the halfway position instead they are inclined to using only the forefoot which doesn’t yield accurate perceptions of positioning. Preferably, prop either foot to be at equal distance from the edges of the barbell to find an excellent midpoint.

At higher maximal weights, your technique must be spot on. Any deviation from your perfect form will result in a failed lift.

3) Do Deficit Deadlifts

If you want to be a better deadlifter, you will need to start deadlifting more. In a perfect world, we would always do our main deadlift working sets and we will always improve. Sadly, this is not the case. Lifters must strategically incorporate deadlift accessories like the deficit deadlift improve any sticking points in the deadlift.

If your max is around 405lbs, do deficit deadlifts around the 60%-70% of your 1 rep max for 8-10 reps. As you get stronger, you can treat the deficit deadlift as amain lift and try to progress in it as you would in a regular deadlift.

4) Pin the bar close

Technique is king. While you do not want to hitch the bar, you do want it to travel in a straight line up until you finish the deadlift. For some lifters, a scrape to the knee is bound to occur once in a while as a result but this is the best way of doing things because if the bar strays away from the body your lower back pays the price as the load on it increases significantly.

You could even miss your lift entirely in the case a one rep max with maximal weights. Moreover, there is also excess stress and rounding of the back if you are going for reps. So keep it close and take your time to maintain this proximity. Repetition and perfect form is the only way to learn this skill.

5) Always pause at the bottom

It’s tempting to let the barbell bounce off the floor during reps to avoid going into a completely stationary stance and while that sees you use less effort, it’s actually ill-advised as it is adversely affecting your deadlift in the long run. So take some time to let the weight rest at the bottom and reset your position.

Doing so constantly will get rid of that pre-lifting slack as well as increase body tightness which is crucial for better deadlifting. Learning to get past that resting inertia time and time again is what will help you progressively increase your load.

6) Go barefoot

It’s vital that you get as low to the floor as possible and you can do that by using really slim-sole shoes or by deadlifting barefoot altogether. Soft-soled trainers are undesirable because of the extra three or two centimeters they add to the overall height and while the numbers might seem inconsequential, they matter significantly.

Aside from less weight distance, going barefoot also gets around the tendency of trainers to absorb some of that input force consequently ensuring you are putting the full brunt of your strength into it. These types of shoes are designed to take in force and to best illustrate this, try jumping in a field of sand and you’ll notice you go higher barefoot than with the shoes on. The same concept translates to deadlifts as well and you’ll be able to get more drive without the shoes.

7) Sub-maximal reps are the way to go

You shouldn't be practicing at your rep maximum instead you should be working out at about 70%-75%. For example, if your deadlifting threshold is 150 kg per rep, then to build more strength you should be effecting reps of about 105 kg-112.5kg. The upside to doing this is improved technique as well as the fact that you are going to be able to perform higher reps although it is advised to stick to low reps to prevent technique failure triggered by the onset of fatigue.

Similarly, since you are practicing at capped performance levels, your resting time should also be reduced by the same amount. Typically, you should be able to recover from your working set in 3-5 minutes. If you do find yourself winded more often, taking 10-15minutes of rest is not uncommon.

8) Hold your breath

Try emptying out your lungs completely of air and you’ll realize that your shoulders collapse. Do the opposite though then hold it in during your routine and you'll notice your chest expands and your shoulders pull back while your head comes up. This combination is the very definition of an excellent deadlifting posture.

Learning how to breath during the deadlift is vital for increasing your deadlift max. Avoid feeling lightheaded during the deadlift if you can.

9) How hard can you grab?

Grip work is highly undervalued in many training programs. Yet, it is used constantly throughout our daily lives and in our workouts.

Make sure you do your farmer’s walks and grip training exercises. While you should use straps sometimes, for the most part, ditch them. Be a man and hold onto the bar until your forearms are pumped. You will thank yourself in the future later.

Parting Shot

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, remember to practice constantly. Just like any other skill, strength is an attribute that is only brushed up with frequency. The key to perfection lies not only in constant practice but also in perfect practice which these deadlifting pointers herein will hopefully help you achieve.

That said, be sure to find the right balance between too often and not enough. As a general rule of thumb, separate deadlifting workouts by two or three days although that figure varies from person to person with others benefiting from rests of up two weeks.

It’s not all black and white. Though when it comes to determining ideal rest periods, be strategic and know your limits. You’ll know you're fresh and ready to go when your form feels tighter and when you feel stronger. Though you may have some off-days, do not let them deter you from the ultimate goal, a 600lbs deadlift.



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