Workout Routines

How to Increase Your Deadlift Strength

Old-school strength coach, Steve Pulcinella will get you to a new deadlift max in 12 weeks.

How to Increase Your Deadlift Strength

Steve Pulcinella is the face of weightlifting—literally. He sells T-shirts sporting a photo of his face above the now infamous question: “Do you even lift?” No one would have to ask him; his road to becoming a fitness-industry personality started 34 years ago in powerlifting, then veered into strongman and the Highland Games. Pulcinella’s gym, Iron Sport Gym in Glenolden, PA, is a haven for lifters looking to take their gains into competition. Make some colossal gains of your own using Pulcinella’s deadlift program and hopefully no one will ever ask you those four dreaded words that Pulcinella helped make famous.

Pulcinella’s Deadlift Workout

Pulcinella recommends this workout once a week for 12 weeks. Stick to the math and you’ll obliterate your old max.

EXERCISE                         SETS            REPS

Front Squat                         6*              8,6,6,3,3,3

Deadlift                                7**            8,8,5,5,3,3,1

Snatch-grip Deadlift          4***                   5

Bentover Row                    6              12,12,8,8,8,8

*Sets 1–3: warmups; 4–6: 80% 1RM
**Sets 1–2: warmups; 3–4: 75% 1RM; 5–6: 85%
***All sets: 70% of weight from last set of deadlifts

Straight Sets for Strength

Don’t Superset Heavy, Multi-joint Lifts

Save any supersets for the end of the workout—keep them far away from the lifts you’re trying to strengthen. Squat day should never suffer because your quads are toast from leg extensions.



Pulcinella is an EliteFTS-sponsored athlete and contributing writer for Check out Steve’s “Selfie Strength Tips” at

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