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The Workout Plan to Help You Master the Deadlift

Use this routine to perfect the deadlift and become big, strong, and athletic—and stay that way your entire life.

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  • 30-45 min.

  • 6

  • Yes

Heavy Barbell Deadlift
HadelProductions / Getty
Heavy Barbell Deadlift
HadelProductions / Getty

Most people who lift weights never deadlift—and if they do, they rarely put in the time to become strong deadlifters.

But if they do, a funny thing happens: They add muscle to places they’ve never seen develop before, such as their glutes, hamstrings, and traps. Their lower back gets stronger, too, reducing the risk of injury when they bend over to pick something up. They may also find they can run faster, hit golf balls farther, or even dunk a basketball for the first time.

For these reasons, the deadlift is not only a cornerstone of CrossFit training but also possibly the best barbell exercise of all time—so it’s high time you master it. This program aims to build your deadlift—and, consequently, nearly every muscle in your body in just four weeks.

How it works

To get better at anything, you need to practice it often. But because the deadlift works the body so hard, it isn’t usually done more than once per week. This program, however, cycles the intensity, allowing you to train the deadlift in different rep ranges three days a week without wearing out your lower back or compromising your recovery. As your technique improves, so will your gains—and in four weeks, you won’t look like “most people” anymore. You’ll look like a deadlifter.

Directions

Perform each workout (Days 1, 2, and 3) once per week, resting at least a day between sessions. Exercises marked A and B are alternated, so you’ll do one set of A, rest, then B, rest again, and repeat until all sets are complete for the pair.

Routine

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Day 1

The Better Deadlift Workout Plan: Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 6

Barbell Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
4
Reps
10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
Rest
--
Exercise 2 of 6

Goblet Squat

Equipment
Dumbbells, Kettlebells
Sets
5
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 3 of 6

One-arm Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
4
Reps
12-15
Rest
--
*each side
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
--
*each arm
Exercise 6 of 6

Face Pull

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
20
Rest
--
Exercise 7 of 6

Pallof Press

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Resistance Band
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
--
How to
*each side

Day 2

The Better Deadlift Workout Plan: Day 2

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 8 of 6

Barbell Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
8
Reps
2
Rest
--
Exercise 9 of 6

Romanian Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
6-8
Rest
--
Exercise 10 of 6

General Pushup

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
AMRAP
Rest
--
Exercise 12 of 6

Bulgarian Split Squat

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
--
*each leg
Exercise 13 of 6

Chinup

Equipment
Pullup Bar
Sets
5
Reps
5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Rest
--

Day 3

The Better Deadlift Workout Plan: Day 3

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 15 of 6

Barbell Glute Bridge

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 16 of 6

Barbell Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
5
Rest
--
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
3
Reps
5
Rest
--
Exercise 18 of 6

One-arm Dumbbell Row

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
15
Rest
--
*each side
Exercise 19 of 6

Farmer’s Walk

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
30-50 yards
Rest
--
Exercise 20 of 6

Goblet Squat

Equipment
Dumbbells, Kettlebells
Sets
3
Reps
10
Rest
--
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