Technique to help you add 15-20 pounds to your deadlift in 2 months

Posted On July 7, 2023

Technique to help you add 15-20 pounds to your deadlift in 2 months

Many of us find improving our deadlift above a long established 1 rep max is very difficult. Often we are stuck at the same top weight for a few years.

Increasing our own personal limit can be very frustrating and often not very successful.

Thus, I offer a programming technique that can help an experienced lifter move past a long-standing personal limit.

This is a variation of a program designed by the legendary strong man Paul Anderson back in the dark ages of weightlifting (1950s).


Rack program with a variation

Paul Andersons rack training technique was designed to help him build a powerful pull for the clean and jerk. The basic idea was to place a super heavy weight at a position on the rack where you could pull it a few inches, but never seriously think of doing a full clean or snatch.

Gradually the position of the weight was lowered either by moving the rack settings down or standing on a slightly raised floor.

The idea was that over time the body would adapt to the heavy weight and the lifter would be able to clean or snatch the super heavy weight.

Powerlifters have been doing heavy lockouts for decades. Lifting a huge weight an inch or two that you could never think of deadlifting builds great strength in the spine, shoulders, and arms. Holding a huge weight in a lockout position can make a full deadlift seem light by comparison.

Andersons approach can be modified as discussed below to make progress in the full deadlift.


The Deadlift pull

When doing a competition deadlift, the lifter moves the bar a total of 12-14 inches from start to finish. The purpose of the Anderson rack program described here is to build greater strength through the entire 1214-inch pull.

In the current program lifters use a weight they are trying to reach by the end of the cycle.

For example, if the goal weight is 400 pounds and the lifters current best is 380 pounds, the bar would be loaded to 400 pounds.

This weight will remain the same for all reps for the entire 8 week cycle. At the end of the cycle, the lifter should be able to do a full deadlift with the goal weight they have been using in practice.

The first workout of the program begins with setting the bar on rack supports at a position 1-2 inches below where the lifter would do a full lock out.

This short pull should seem relatively light as the lifter is moving a weight 1-2 inches that is not much heavier than what they pull in a full deadlift.

Progression begins when the lifter extends the length of the pull by standing on a barbell plate or other solid object for the second pull. This lift is now about an inch longer than the first.

It may still seem comparatively easy, but not as easy as the first because the length of the pull is longer.

The lifter continues to stack plates (or other solid footing) and continues to pull the weight from a dead stop.

Standing on three large plates will increase the distance of the pull by 5-6 inches.

Recall that the total distance of a full deadlift is roughly 12-14 inches.

The object of the progression is to gradually lengthen the distance of the pull over eight weeks by a combination of standing on more barbell plates and lowering the support pins of the power rack.

The objective is to incrementally condition the body to pull the target weight (400 pounds) through the full 12-14 inches of the deadlift.


Sets, reps, and timing

This workout is very intense and will tire you quickly. I suggest that you plan on doing no more than five pulls in a session. You can do as few as three. The key is quality over quantity.

You should do this work out on your deadlift day, and after you have finished your other deadlift training. Once a week is plenty.

Be well warmed up when you begin.

In your first session, begin just below the full lockout position.

Establish your body tension the way you would with a regular maximum lift. Take a deep breath and hold it before you pull. Put about 200 pounds of tension on the bar before you try to move it off the rack.

Stand fully erect in a lockout position and count to 5. Then lower the bar back to the starting position.

Next position a barbell plate (or block) on the floor so you can stand on it during the pull.

Repeat the set up and pull. Only single reps!

Add another plate on the floor, and do another rep.

Stop when you have done five singles.

The following week, begin pulling while standing on one plate. Then add another and another.

When you have managed to stack enough plates to equal the next lower support setting on the power rack, lower the support and begin from there.

You should probably never be standing on more than four barbell plates.

The idea is to gradually make the pulls longer and longer.

Dont go all out on any one rep. The key to progressing will be to make your most intense effort be at about 90%.

Remember: the goal is to win the competition, not the workout.



The weight will stay the same (your target weight) through all 8 weeks of the cycle. The only thing that will change is the length of the pull.

IMHO it is a good idea to select a target weight that is a modest but real improvement in your PR. Being too aggressive is likely to cause hitting a plateau or not being able to get much progress once the lift is done below the knees.

Each lifter will have to determine how rapidly they are adjusting to pulling the target weight through different ranges.

Some will adapt quickly to the top part of the lift and slow down as they near the starting point off the floor. Others will stall at one point and then suddenly shoot ahead.

Each of us is a bit different.

Be persistent but dont try to force your progress. Your body will tell you when you are ready to add more inches to your pulls.

Lift Big!



Written by Richard

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