This 8 week peaking cycle is for experienced pullers who want to beef up their lagging deadlift. Feature includes a sample workout with recommended assistance exercises.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Increase Strength
  • Workout Type
    Single Muscle Group
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration8 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout30-45 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Machines
  • Target Gender Male & Female
  • Recommended Supps
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

If you’re like me, you find the deadlift to be the most thrilling powerlifting exercise to perform. There’s something extra cathartic about walking up to a heavy barbell and picking it up off the ground.

Whether you’re looking to add weight to a lagging deadlift, or just need some new programming, give this 8-week cycle a try.

This cycle is intended for more advanced lifters that are used to handling heavy weight with a good amount of volume. If you have to tone down some of your other lifts to get in the prescribed sets and reps, do it. After all, the focus of this cycle is to improve your deadlift.

  • Week 1 - 4x5 at 80-85%
  • Week 2 - 5x5 at 80-85%
  • Week 3 - 5x5 at 80-85%
  • Week 4 - 2-3x5 at 80-85%
  • Week 5 - 5x3 at 88-90%
  • Week 6 - 5x3 at 88-90%
  • Week 7 - 5-6x2 at 90-92%
  • Week 8 - Work up to 1RM

Barbell deadlift

If you have to tone down some of your other lifts to get in the prescribed sets and reps, do it. After all, the focus of this cycle is to improve your deadlift.

The first three weeks will be familiar to anyone who has been through a 5x5 program. Use intensities between 80 and 85% of your max. I recommend starting at the lower end of the range and working your way up. You can do all of your sets at the same intensity or you can switch intensities from set to set. Try to get as many sets as you can at the higher end of the range, but don’t force yourself if it’s not there.

The fourth week is a deload week. Don’t push the weight here.

Weeks five and six will increase the intensity while bringing the volume down a bit. Like the first three weeks, start with the lower intensity and try to build up to the higher end. Again, you can either switch percentages from set to set or keep it the same for each set.

Week seven continues to ramp up the intensity while decreasing the total amount of reps.

Week eight is the time to let loose and go for a new max. In the words of weightlifter Donny Shankle, “Pull on that bar like you’re ripping the head off a lion.”

Be sure to rest as long as needed in between sets. Take your time and make sure you’re fully ready to attack each one.

A sample workout for week 2 could look like this:

Deadlift Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift * See above
Romanian Deadlift 3-4 6-8
Glute Ham Raise 2-3 8-10

Hopefully this cycle can help you add some new weight to your deadlift. Give it a run and let me know how it goes!

Mike K
Posted on: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 16:58

I'm gonna try this program, are you only supposed to do it 1 day a week?

Posted on: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 18:15

Yep, it's 1 day per week. I am on week 6 and the program is great! Breaking my own PRs every week.... I honestly didn't think it would work quite this well! Good luck man.

Mike K
Posted on: Sat, 05/09/2015 - 18:30

Thanks for the help!

Posted on: Sat, 09/27/2014 - 12:47

Hello my name is Michael ?I'm using a product called waximaize complex carb supplement can I use anything else to lose weight/gain muscle can u please give me a good product to go with this please I need something that will energize me .thank you

Subramanian Iyer
Posted on: Tue, 09/23/2014 - 03:56

That is a good Article. I am not sure I have understood one aspect, which is, whether this training for deadlift is once a week or every day in the week. I started weight training last year ( at the age of 49 ) and now I can deadlift 1.1 times my bodyweight. I am an Asthamatic and have a damaged left arm. Any recommendations on how to overcome these weakness ?

bob johnson
Posted on: Thu, 10/02/2014 - 10:44

you should absolutely not under any circumstances be deadlifting every day, this would absolutely destroy your body especially at your older age and provide no real benefit other than wearing you down.

Posted on: Sun, 09/14/2014 - 21:21

great routine on week 6 now feeling the strenght increase already. thanks alot

Posted on: Mon, 09/01/2014 - 15:51


I'm glad you enjoyed it! I agree that it's good to look at the different set/rep protocols and assistance exercises to help build it up in a smart way. Thanks for reading!

Posted on: Sat, 08/30/2014 - 13:43

Danny, that was a good article. I am 56, and the DL is my favorite exercise. My only worry is too many young lifters will do the DL to prove how strong they are on a 1 RM... which is fine, if you really want to know, but, I think they will be missing the big picture. (This isn't for you brother, as I know you already know this!!) The back needs to be "worked," and the only way to do that is to provide different routines in order to confuse the muscles. One of my favorite " 'tween routines," is to block multiple sets (8 - 10) with a 10 RM, or else drop the weight and do 100 reps. I have been training for over 40 years (neither a body builder nor power lifter), and while there is no secret to it, there is a method to the madness. Thanks for a great article.

Posted on: Tue, 03/22/2022 - 16:11

Hi Matt Curious if you have worked much on 18 in deadlift ?
Looking for information for 65 yr plus records.