Workout Tips

The Lift Doctor: Split Routines & Deadlift Rep Ranges

Our Lift Doctor answers your questions about who should use a split routine, and optimal rep ranges for your deadlifts.

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The Lift Doctor: Split Routines & Deadlift Rep Ranges

Question 1: "I have seen great results with the full body routine but have always wondered if I could get better results doing a split routine.  Could you please help me decide on what’s better for overall muscle growth. Thanks” - Jason Pratt

Jason, I think you answered part of the question already.  You said that you attained great results with full body training.  That may be what works best for you.  As a general rule, full body routines work amazing for beginners and for people who have very limited time to train.  You get a high impact, highly efficient workout in a very short amount of time.  You can target the entire body by focusing on basic compound movements like; squats, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups, and clean & press. 

Split routines come in once you have a solid training foundation and you want to start incorporating more volume for your upper and lower body muscle building goals.  You will typically increase the number of days you’re in the gym to 4 days a week, as opposed to, full body workouts where 3 days a week is the standard.  For more advanced lifters, split training workouts will be needed to avoid training slumps and continue your progress in the gym. 

Question 2: “What is the best rep range for deadlifts high or low?” - Richard Kavanagh

Richard, because the deadlift is such an intensive full body lift, high repetition work is typically avoided.  For every lift that you take to failure, or that you perform for a high number of repetitions, good form is always the priority.  Unfortunately, it is hard to maintain form, a good straight (neutral) back and keeping the hips in the proper starting position, when you get near the end of a high rep deadlift set. 

You’ve probably seen a bad starting position on the deadlift many times in your gym or on YouTube videos.  This is the best way to get your spine to shoot out of your back and smash into the back wall. 

To build more strength, and to add more muscle to your entire body, stick to a 6-8 rep range on the deadlift and save the high rep work for your supplemental exercises that build your deadlift. 

Meet the Lift Doctor

Jim Smith is a highly respected, world-renowned strength and conditioning coach. A member of the LIVESTRONG.com Fitness Advisory Board, Jim has been called one of the most "innovative strength coaches" in the fitness industry. Training athletes, fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors, Jim has dedicated himself to helping them reach "beyond their potential". He is also the owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning in Elmira, NY.

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