You know that the deadlift is one of the major lifts and is a staple to any quality weightlifting or powerlifting routine. But, you can’t expect to go to the gym every single day and knock out some heavy deadlifts.
So, let’s go over everything you need to know about the deadlift and how often you should do it!
Table of Contents
What is the Deadlift?
The deadlift is a full-body exercise that requires a weighted barbell of some sort. But, you can also do a deadlift with a set of dumbbells or a trap bar.
You’ll start with the barbell in front of you with your back flat in somewhat of a squat position. It’s then your job to grab on to the barbell and extend your legs and back until you’re standing upright.
After your first successful deadlift, you’ll feel exactly which muscle groups are targeted by this exercise. The deadlift mainly targets the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and your quads.
But, you might just feel the effects of the deadlift all over your body the next morning!
The deadlift is so important because it helps you to build core strength. This can be quite useful in your daily life, helping you to keep your balance, maintain good posture, and avoid the development of lower back injuries.
3 Quick Deadlift Tips
1. Keep Your Back Straight
Maintaining somewhat of stiffness in your back is the most important thing you need to remember about doing the deadlift. When you curve your upper back forward, that’s more work your back muscles and spine have to do to straighten out your posture at the end of the exercise.
This can be especially dangerous if you’re using a heavier weight. And, the last thing you want to do is pull something in your back or slip a disc, which can leave you sidelined for several weeks or months.
If you can’t perform a deadlift with good form, either drop to a lower weight or do other exercises to help build the strength in your lower back and legs.
2. Focus On Form First
So, you think you’re pretty strong and want to set a new PR on the deadlift. After all, the deadlift doesn’t seem all that difficult to do and the world record is well over 1,000 pounds.
Surely you can do 300, right?
As dedicated as you might be, the last thing you should do is load up the barbell with a weight you’ve never even come close to.
Like bodybuilder and fitness expert, Jeff Nippard recommends for the deadlift – you need to first work on perfecting your form and building up the muscles that your body uses during the movement.
Once you can perform a proper deadlift with good form for a certain number of reps, bump up the weight a little bit during your next workout. Don’t just assume you can add 50 or 100 pounds from one workout to the next.
It’s all about slow and steady progress when it comes to lifting.
3. Focus on Strength, Not Momentum
When it comes to heavy lifts like the deadlift, you want to focus on doing the exercise slowly and with great form. If you attempt the deadlift too quickly, you might be opening yourself up to a severe back injury.
Let’s say you have a 600-pound barbell on the floor in front of you for your next deadlift. You then muster up all of the power in your lower body and back to shoot your upper body upward in order to put the weight up.
But, your body isn’t strong enough.
The extra momentum you applied to try to lift this insane amount of weight has now put a ton of excess stress on nearly every joint, bone, and muscle in your body.
You’re definitely going to injure yourself if you’re purely relying on momentum (like most of the Planet Fitness guys doing deadlifts in the smith machines).
So, form always comes first.
And one comment about belts… you should be able to deadlift WITHOUT a belt. A weightlifting belt is not a crutch that you lean on to get the bar up.
After you’ve proven that you can pull considerable weight without a belt, then it’s OK to experiment wearing one.
What should you get? Maybe something like this – a powerlifting belt by Quest.
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Recommended Recovery Time Between Workouts
You might wake up the morning after a deadlift session and feel like you’re in tip-top shape. You might even be able to convince yourself that you’re ready to get back into the gym for another deadlift session.
But, not so quick!
Even if your muscles feel fine, they’re still working to repair themselves from your intense deadlift session yesterday. Working the same muscle groups again too soon will only further tear the muscles and extend your recovery period.
You might even be doing more harm than good.
So, you should be leaving yourself between 48 and 72 hours of rest before hitting the same muscle group again
And, never train the same muscle group during consecutive days! Ever.
Considering Your Fitness Goals
If you’re looking to do deadlifts several times per week, it’s probably because you’re looking to build strength, power, and, most importantly, muscle mass. Unfortunately, more isn’t always better when it comes to resistance training.
The number of days you hit a specific muscle group per week will vary based on your goals.
For the most part, training muscle groups twice per week will help you to guarantee the greatest muscle and strength gains. But, that doesn’t mean you should be training at your max intensity twice a week.
If you normally do 50 reps per workout once a week, break it down to 25 reps per workout twice a week. This allows you to boost the frequency without draining your muscles and strength levels in the process.
How Often Should You Deadlift?
Just how often you work on your deadlift depends on how many days you plan to hit the gym. If you’re looking at 5 or 6 days a week, you can do two shorter deadlift sessions every week without about 48 to 72 hours of rest in between.
When time is limited and you can only get to the gym a few times a week, you want to make sure that you’re getting your deadlifts in. Once a week isn’t ideal, but it will work in a pinch.
If you’re only doing them once a week, make sure you’re increasing your deadlift sets, reps, and intensity.
And it might surprise you, but you don’t have to deadlift to build strong glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and your quads. That’s why we cultivated this list of 7 Safe Deadlift Alternatives if you want to try something different.
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