How often should you deadlift?

Deadlifts are a common exercise in strength training, which targets multiple muscle groups. Incorporating deadlifts into your workout routine can increase strength, improve your posture and balance, and increase your metabolism.

However, the question of how often you should deadlift depends on various factors, including fitness goals, fitness level, age, experience, and recovery time. 

woman working gluteus medius with single leg deadift

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What are deadlifts?

Deadlifts are a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making them a great exercise for improving strength and functional fitness.

The compound movement primarily targets the muscles in the lower back, glutes, and legs, while also engaging the core, arms and upper back muscles – your entire posterior chain.

A deadlift can improve your posture, balance and body composition.

Multiple variations can be done with a weighted barbell or dumbbells

Benefits of Deadlifts

Increased strength: Regularly incorporating deadlifts into your workout routine and using progressive overload can continue challenging your muscles and promote continued strength gains, leading to increased physical performance.

Improved posture and balance: Deadlifts can improve posture by strengthening the muscles of the lower back, glutes and legs, which are responsible for maintaining proper posture.

Build core strength: Deadlifts engage your core muscles, which help stabilize the spine during lifting.

Boosts metabolism: Deadlifts can promote the afterburn effect, causing the body to burn calories at an elevated rate even after the workout is done.

Improved grip strength: Deadlifts require a strong grip to hold onto the weight. By regularly performing deadlifts, you can increase your grip strength as the muscles in your hands and forearms adapt to the increased demand.

Factors to Consider

Fitness Goals

If your goal is to increase strength or muscle mass, you may benefit from performing deadlifts more frequently. However, deadlifting once or twice a week may be enough if your goal is to improve overall fitness or maintain strength.

Fitness Level

Beginners may benefit from performing deadlifts once or twice a week, while more advanced lifters may be able to perform deadlifts more frequently.

Recovery Time

Getting enough rest and recovery time between workouts is essential to prevent fatigue and reduce the risk of injury. If you haven’t fully recovered from your last workout, it could be good to wait before deadlifting again.

How Often Should You Deadlift?

Beginners: If you are a new lifter, starting with one or two deadlift workouts per week is recommended. This will allow your body to adapt to the movement and prevent excessive fatigue or injury.

Intermediate: As you become more experienced and comfortable with deadlifting, you can increase the frequency to two or three workouts per week. However, it is still important to prioritize recovery time and listen to your body to avoid overtraining.

Advanced: Advanced or experienced lifters who have been deadlifting for a long time and have built up a strong foundation of strength may be able to perform deadlifts more frequently.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Lifting too heavy: Lifting too heavy can cause havoc on your entire body and cause you to use poor form and increase your chance of injury.

Rounding of the back: One of the most common mistakes in deadlifting is rounding the back during the lift which can place excessive stress on the lower back and increase the risk of injury. Keep your back straight and engage your core muscles throughout the lift to avoid this.

Overtraining: Overtraining or performing too many deadlift workouts in a week can increase the risk of injury and prevent proper recovery.

Neglecting recovery: Not allowing your body enough time to rest and recover from the last set of deadlifts or compound exercises targeting the same muscle group. 

Deadlift variation

There is more than one way to do deadlifts. The traditional deadlift is not the only way to perform the exercise. Deadlift variations allow you to switch up your routine.

Sumo deadlift

woman in sumo sdeadlift
woman standing at top of sumo deadlift
  • Place a barbell in front of your on the floor
  • Position your feet wider than your shoulders in a traditional deadlift with your toes pointing outwards, allowing a narrow grip so that both hands will be placed on the inside of your legs and feet on the bar.
  • Perform the movement by hinging at the hips, keeping your weight in your heels.
  • Guide the bar down your legs to the floor, while keeping your head in a neutral position. 
  • Press back up, pushing through your heels and squeeze your glutes.

Romanian deadlift

woman doing conventional deadlift exercise
  • Place a barbell in front of you on the floor.
  • Step close to the barbell with it in front of you. Your feet are hip-width apart.
  • With your hands about shoulder width apart, just outside your feet, hinge your hips, bend your knees and grab the barbell with both bands in an overhand grip.
  • Keeping your back straight and your core tight, lift the bar off the ground and pull it up.
  • Once the bar reaches knee height, thrust your hips forward to a standing position. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the lift.
  • Reverse the movement and return to the starting position.

Trap bar deadlift

hex bar straight leg deadlift
hex bar dealift
  • Load the trap bar with the desired weight.
  • Stand in the middle of the trap bar so your legs are equal distance from the handles.
  • Bend down to grab the handles. You should grab the handle so that your hands are in line with your feet.
  • Sit your butt back until your shoulders are directly over your feet. Be sure to keep a tight back and load the legs.
  • Keep your shins vertical to hit the muscles in a more similar way to the barbell deadlift. This will require more hip flexion and more hamstring.
  • Stand up with the load similarly to the barbell. Be sure to “tighten” your body before standing up.
  • Lower your body remembering to add hip flexion and control the weight on the way down.

Deadlift accessory lifts

If your goal is to be able to deadlift a heavy weight, you should add deadlift assistance exercises rather than just increasing your deadlift frequency including pull ups, row variations and squats.

FAQs about deadlifting

There’s no good reason to deadlift every day. You need to allow your body time to rest and recover for your muscles to grow.

You can include it in either your back or leg routine. You can include them as part of one muscle group workout for a while. Then, change up your training and make them part of your other workout.

Lifting heavy weights for low reps can be an effective way to build both muscle and strength.

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