Deadlift Program For Massive Gains!


Deadlift Program

You hit the gym and lift. You target muscle groups and make sure to spend time on both the upper body and lower body. Today we will look into an awesome deadlift program.

But what can you do when you just don’t have the free time to spend hours at the gym, pumping the iron?

With the right deadlift workout, you can torch the major muscle groups in less time than ever before, all while maximizing your results. If you’re looking for massive gains, we have the deadlift workout program for you.

What is a Deadlift?

A deadlift requires nothing more than a barbell with weight.

Today we will explain how to deadlift and much much more..

While it is possible to perform the deadlift with a Smith machine, this is not recommended at all (more on this later). The barbell, with equal amounts of weight on both ends, is placed directly in front of you on the floor. Using an overhand grip, you beet at the knees, keeping your back straight. After grasping the barbell you pull your shoulders backward (again, always keep your back straight and avoid rounding it).

At the conclusion of the lift, your should have a perfectly erect back, standing straight at 90 degrees. Depending on whether you are training for competitive purposes or simply for your own strength gains, hold in this position for a few moments before performing the move in reverse.

This is the basic deadlift, also known as a conventional deadlift. 

Performing the Lift Safely

As you are using a considerable amount of weight while using your spine, maintaining correct posture is vital.

Poor posture can result in serious muscle tears and injuries within the spinal column itself.

When beginning the lift, you want to hinge at the hips and knees while keeping flat feet. Do not go on toes or your heels. Your spine needs to be locked in with your hips. Do not try to flex either away from the other.

This is one of the major causes of injuries.

When performing the lift, it may seem like most of the power comes from your back and shoulders. While these muscle groups do help, the majority of the power comes from the lower body. Push down with your heels into the ground while thrusting up and out with your hips.

This maintains a tense spine, which reduces possible injuries.

Likewise, you need to keep your back muscles tight as this helps maintain correct posture in your back. When your back is fully erect, let out a deep breath. This will help correct any wobbling that may occur. While the lift itself is an explosive move, you need to hold at the peak.

Failure to do so increases the chance of injuring your back or losing your balance.

Deadlift Variations

Realistically you only need to perform a single deadlift.

However, you may feel more comfortable performing one over the other. If you find one particular area of your body is weaker, or you want to direct more of the weight to a specific area of the body, consider one of these alternative lift options:

  • Stiff Legged Deadlift
  • Sumo Deadlift
  • Romanian Deadlift

The stiff legged deadlift reduces the amount of pressure placed on your knees and puts more on your back. This may be a desirable lift if you suffer from knee pain. With the lift, your knees are only slightly bent and do not move at all. Essentially, there is enough bend to prevent the knees from locking and that is about it.

Doing this places more pressure on your back and upper body.

One of the major benefits of the deadlift is how it targets both the upper and lower body, so generally, you should only perform the stiff legged deadlift due to issues with your knees (such as chronic pain or if you’ve recently injured the area of your body).

With the sumo deadlift, you want to approach the entire lift as if you are a sumo wrestler. To do this, you want your feet further out than your shoulders. To maintain balance, your bar grip should be on the inside of your legs rather than the outside.

This is an excellent lift if you want to work your lower body further.

The wider stance puts more of the weight on your butt, hamstrings, and hips. This is also an excellent move if you suffer from back pain or have had issues with your back in the past.

The Romanian deadlift is similar to that of the stiff legged deadlift. Some in the lifting community also refer to it as an undead lift. Essentially, you start with the barbell already off of the ground and do not return the bar to the ground until you have finished your set. With your legs slightly bent, start at the top of the lift, then work downwards, but never rest the barbell on the ground.

The purpose of this lift is never to stop (outside of being at the top of the lift). This ensures all of your muscles are always engaged, without any rest time (Deadlift Workouts, 2017).

Equipment Alternatives For Deads

The traditional deadlift is performed with a barbell. Typically, this means you’ll need to be at the gym to perform the lift.

However, there are some alternative options for this.

If you are already at the gym but do not want to set up a barbell you can consider using a Smith machine. When using the Smith machine you’ll perform a variation closer to that of the stiff legged or Romanian deadlift. The problem with using a supported weight system is the stabilizing muscles throughout your body are not used.

This, in turn, may leave the muscles underdeveloped.

The barbell lift is significantly more difficult, but for maximum gain, you want this, so avoid the Smith machine when possible.

Another option is to use dumbbells or kettlebells. The lift can be performed essentially the same way and some may prefer this lift as it does not require such a large barbell, not to mention one side of the body is not able to compensate for a lack of strength in the other.

Using the dumbbells or kettlebells opens you up to different variant options. You can still use the basic weight in front of you approach. You can also perform a side deadlift. Using the same motion, the weights are on each side of your body instead of in front.

This is a great move where you can go up with a side deadlift and go down in a squat.

Different Deadlift Grips

There are two kinds of grips for the standard deadlift.

The first is the standard overhand grip.

The second option is a mixed grip, where one hand is overhand and the other is underhand. The reason why both underhand grips is not an option because the amount of tension placed on the forearms and fingers increases the chance of the weight slipping out of your grip. If you want to strengthen your forearms during the move, the mixed grip is used and then switch the mixed grip sides to hit the other forearm.

The overhand grip does have a variant of its own.

You may find the tension placed around your thumb while performing a standard deadlift to be especially uncomfortable. When this is the case, you may want to take advantage of something known as a hook grip. This is where instead of your thumb curving around, behind the barbell you keep your thumbs in line with your fingers, hooking around the front. This reduces the amount of weight placed on the curvature of your thumb.

It is also what many Olympian weightlifters do as it allows for more weight to be lifted.

What Muscles Do The Dead Lift Target?

This is why you should take advantage of the deadlift. Due to the number of muscles targeted, it is basically the swimming of weightlifting as it hits just about everywhere.

Starting in the lower body, the move hits the gluteal muscles, piriformis and the superior gemellus, all of the hamstrings and the quadriceps in the legs.

Regarding the torso, you’ll feel it in your internal and external obliques, plus the rectus abdominals. Nearly a dozen muscle groups are hit in your back, including the trapezius, teres Major, levator scapulae and the Liocostalis. It also hits your biceps and forearms.

With the single lift, you hit much of your back, arms, legs, butt and abs.

Dead Lifts For Mass Gains

When you want to gain massive amounts of muscle, you want to lift heavy weights. When you want massive strength gains, shoot for 1-5 reps. This forces your muscles to engage and pushes the muscle groups to the limit. If you’ want size, you need to aim for both heavyweights and reps (usually 8-12). Anything more and you’re going for endurance as you will burn more calories while not pushing the muscles enough for size gains.

For starters, you want to begin your workout with a deadlift.

Yes, everyone wants to hit the bench press first, because what guy doesn’t want a bigger chest?

However, with the sheer number of muscles you hit with this lift, if you decide to hit the bench first, you won’t be able to deadlift as much, which takes away from your lower body. Always do the lift that affects the most area of your body and work your way down (this way, if you have to leave the gym early, you’ll miss less important lifts). Just make sure to at least warm up first.

Whether this is five minutes on a treadmill or a few light curls, don’t go into any major lifts cold.

Deadlift Program For Massive Gains

First, determine your one rep max. You’ll need this before moving forward.

Month 1:

-The first week, you want to perform five sets of 5-12 reps. If you’re going for strength gains, rep 70% of your max 5 times. If you’re going for mass muscle gains, shoot for 50-55% and 12 reps each set.

-The second week go five sets of 3-10 reps (again, low reps for strength gains, high reps for muscle gains).

-The third week do five sets of 1-8 reps. Strength gains should be 80% of your 1 rep max and muscle gains should be about 65-70%

-On the fourth week of the first month, take a break from the deadlift to give your body time to rest.

Month 2:

-Week one-three, follow the same sets and reps suggested, but start with 75% 1 rep max for strength gains and 55-60% for size gains in week one, 80%/60-65% week two, and 85%/70-75% week three.

-Rest on week four.

Month 3:

-Week one, you want four sets of five-12 reps. Shoot for 80% your 1 rep max for strength gains and 65-70% for size gains.

-Week two, go for four sets of 3-10 reps. 85% of max for strength gains and 70-75% for size gains.

-Week three: go for four sets of 1-8 reps. Go for 90% of max for strength gains and 75-80% for size gains.

Perform this lift either with the upper or lower body portions of your routine (but keep at least one day off in between). If you perform the sumo style, pack it in with the lower body. If you use the stiff leg or Romanian lift, slide it in with the upper body workout.

Diet Advice To Always Remember

While this isn’t a diet post (check out some of the other helpful posts regarding muscle gain), if you want to see massive gains, you need to increase your protein intake.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein when you want to put on muscle weight and you’re weight training is 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. It’s best to start out at the 1.6 mark and work your way up so your body has time to adjust.

You don’t have to hit the weights and lift for hours a day as long as you lift smart. By using this deadlift program you’ll hit the major muscle groups, touching many of the groups at the same time. This way, you can see massive gains in less time and while spending fewer hours at the gym.


After all, you’re a busy person.

Who has time to spend an entire day lifting weights?

Stick to this program with both the weights and the diet and you’ll begin to see major improvements in your overall physique in no time.

-Terry Asher

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Terry Asher

Owner & Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!
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  1. Hey Terry,

    Great guide! I do have a question though – as a runner who’s looking to get stronger, would you recommend starting out with this deadlift program or is there a better option for those new to lifting?



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  4. The article is very easy to understand, detailed and meticulous! I had a lot of harvest after watching this article from you! I find it interesting, your article gave me a new perspective! I have read many other articles on the same topic, but your article convinced me!

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