Is deadlifting 4x a week too much? The right answer for you
February 7th 2019
Currently, I have been deadlifting twice a week and for most of my strength training journey, I probably at maxed deadlifted three times a week. But I wondered is deadlifting 4x a week too much?
What about deadlifting 5x a week?
What about deadlifting 6x a week?
What about deadlifting every day?
I was curious and decided to do some research on it. I wanted to find out what the community has to say about this deadlifting frequency. If you have not checked out my article about how often you should deadlift, I go over several deadlifting concerns you may have - the impact of speed deadlifts, why your deadlift might be going down, and probably most importantly, how often you should deadlift.
In addition to that article, I would also recommend that you check out my article about the frequency of strength training, where I further expand on the topic of strength training frequency. I do in-depth on whether or not you should strength train 6 times a week. Of course, 6 times a week represents a very high frequency; the lifter will be going to the gym six out of the seven days a week. I touch on many different topics and training restrictions you should consider if you do decide that going to the gym six times a week is a viable and preferred option.
But back to the main topic, is deadlift 4x a week too much for a strength training athlete? What does the community have to say?
The deadlifting frequency does not matter; what is more important is how you manage intensity volume for each workout and each week.
There are many lifters, with a large variety of training differences. For the most part, I found that many beginners and some intermediate lifters ask this question frequently. The deadlift intensity has not reached a point where you wish you could be at home sleeping.
For a majority of beginner strength training athletes, they are able to get away with deadlifting more than once or twice a week. Their body is able to quickly adapt in time before the next workout. Longer rest periods are not required yet since your body does not need the extra rest.
Of course, this observation can vary greatly, depending on how you manage your volume and intensity. For example, if you do 5 sets of 5 reps at 80% of your 1 rep max, you will not feel so great the next day and will probably not be able to repeat the same workout. On the other hand, if you are doing a one set of five reps and are doing 60% of your one rep max, you will be fresh enough to do that same workout for multiple days in a row.
So really, the question becomes how are you programming your deadlift? If you picked a linear progression program like Greyskull LP or Starting Strength, you will find that as you run the program longer and longer, you will be unable to adapt to the progression of increasing intensity.
If you are a casual lifter, you may decide that you just want to be healthy and work on staying in shape. So, the progression of your deadlift max may not be a high priority but being able to stay active is. Deadlifting 4x a week may be a good option for you if you love to pump iron regularly. Of course, you must decide what your goals are and figure out a gameplan to execute.
If you are more competitive and are thinking about breaking deadlift records, you may want to have a more long term plan. Training casually may seem fun but it is unfocused. You will make more efficient progress if you decide on a goal and craft an appropriate plan. For a beginner strength training athlete, training deadlifts 4x a week may be a temporary program for the first couple of months. Once you are unable to make progress every workout, you will need a new plan.
Usually, most lifters will recommend dropping the deadlifting frequency, from 3-4 times a week down to 1-2 times a week. Doing this usually allows the lifter enough time to recover from the previous deadlift workout and at the same time, improve their deadlift. After a few years, most lifters may decide that this is the most optimal frequency since they are making progress more slowly. If you have not noticed, there are some heavyweight lifters, over 220lbs, who deadlift once every two weeks or three weeks. These lifters frequently deadlift over 700+ lbs in training and really crush their deadlift workouts with high intensity and volume pairing.
People of all different weight classes, training experiences and goals will need to figure out what is best for their deadlift progression. Is deadlifting 4x a week too much? Well, it depends on what you want to get out of the deadlift? Are you trying to stay healthy? Then, go for it. Are you training for a competition? Well, it depends on how far away the competition is, your training experience and work capacity. Are you looking for an optimal deadlift frequency for your custom program? Well, it also depends on your work capacity, training experience, and your goals. There are so many pros and cons for why you should deadlift with a high frequency, like 4x a week, versus deadlifting with a low frequency.
How often should you deadlift heavy?
I briefly touched on this topic and it is an important question to address. Generally, this question is answered depending on your training experience. I want you to have the most optimal training experience so that we can all get stronger.
If you are a beginner, you can probably deadlift heavy every single workout since your body can adapt rapidly to the training stress. If you are an intermediate lifter, you can deadlift around 1-2 times a week, depending on your program. If you are an advanced lifter, you would probably deadlift around once a week. If you are an elite lifter, you would probably not be reading this article but instead by analyzing your training and figuring out what your next plan of action is. Elite lifters all have different approaches to their training; some can train their deadlifts as frequently as twice a week while some train their deadlifts as scarce as once every month.
Your next question is how do I know if I am an beginner, intermediate or advanced lifter? There are many different ways to distinguish every lifter but there is no one universal rule. Training experience, your maxes, age, reaction to training stimulus and ratio of your max to bodyweight are some factors that impact your classification. For example, you can determine where your deadlift max stands in the community here. While this is not an absolute way to determine what you should be doing, take that information as a grain of salt and begin to think independently with new information.
Heavy Deadlift Benefits
There is no secret that heavy deadlifts are good for you. In fact, you may have noticed a pattern with how often you should do heavy deadlifts. At least once a week, lifters of all training experiences are doing heavy deadlifts.
As we continue to advance as a species, we slowly become unaware of societal damages. For example, notice how far you are leaning to read this article on your computer screen or phone? Exactly. Doing heavy deadlifts help strengthen your posterior chain, which helps keep you more upright and stable.
Instant muscle builder
Being a full body compound lift has its benefits. Since your whole body is being used throughout the movement, you are able to add more weight, increasing your workload and capacity. As a result, this is one reason why you see so much more muscular development when you include deadlifts in your program.
In the past, farmers worked hard to get as strong. They were forced to because if they did not work, they starved. Heavy deadlifts are a modern version of developing tee ancient farmer’s strength. There is no weakness in becoming farmer strong. However, you will face physical issues if you are weak. So, why not develop a strong future by incorporating heavy deadlifts in your program?
There is no secret that weight training helps your body regulate its hormones, specifically testosterone and growth hormone. This enables you to build more muscle, lose fat and boost your immune system.
It is all about that power
You gain strength. You become more powerful. This will drastically improve your quality of life and spill over to other areas. You will notice changes in productivity and positive changes in your mood.
Did I mention an improvement in your quality of life? It is a common theme. In addition to feeling and looking great, you strengthen your bones, ligaments, and tendons to withstand future injuries. You are building yourself up like a tank while enjoying all the rewards of working hard.