Quality Volume Deadlifts

Posted on 25 Apr 2014 18:01

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By Ashiem Matthn

I've been following a "volume" oriented approach to Deadlifts for many months now. This blog post is meant to explain this quality based volume approach to training heavy on Deadlifts.


I've just finished reading a few "strength training" books and I see that all authors spend a lot of time going over their background and schools of thought and they waste pages and pages detailing all the issues they've faced. I know I'm not the only one who just breezes through this section because it's actually quite boring. So I won't get into this in detail. If you want details: ask and I'll respond to your questions.

So what is the basic gist here? I got hurt because I kept foam rolling my lower and training heavy. Something had to give. I felt a lot of pain and spent all of 2013 trying to get out of being in pain.

In November 2013, my coach and mentor Eric Troy told me to do something not many coaches would ever have the balls to make their athletes ever do:

He told me to stop worrying about a "plan" and to just go in and Deadlift with my heart and to fall in love with the exercise again.

Did it help? Yes. I went from barely being able to pull 475 for a single to being able to do 505 for reps. Add to that my workload capacity went straight through the roof and I was able to overcome the pain.

That's it: Introduction over. It's time to get to the plan.

The First Plan

The thing about training plans and progression schemes is that they have to evolve with performance in the gym. That's why I absolutely hate cookie cutter routines where all you get is "do X/Y/Z and then repeat with 5% more weight of a theoretical max once you're done with the 4 week cycle".

So this is a plan in evolution. What I am about to list right now is what I started with in November 2013. Eric asked me to go to the gym and just train because I love Deadlifting: to have no "plan" playing in the back of my mind.

This was workout 1:
405 x 3
405 x 4
405 x 3
425 x 2
435 x 2
455 x 3
405 x 3

20 reps using all weights in the 400+ range. Over time, over many weeks I was able to bring it up to:

425 x 2
455 x 2
475 x 4
475 x 4
475 x 2
465 x 3
425 x 3

Sometime along the way I added in more stuff. I did these 20 reps and then I followed them with a Cluster Set: 405 x (1 x 5). 405 for 5 singles done cluster style. I added something else too: 225 x 7 as a Back-off Set.

So in total, I was doing 32 reps.

At this point we realized a few important things. One: I was not fit to do Eric and Joe Weir's Singles Scene program just yet because for the singles I'd end up using similar weights to what I was using for "Quality Volume".

Eric had me do something I'd never done before: Clusters and Dropsets for Deadlifts using Maximal End weights. I'm talking 485 pounds with a working max of 505. We did 2 weeks of this and I finished with:

425 x 2
455 x 2
485 x 2 + 1 Cluster
485 x 2 + 1 Cluster
485 x 1, 475 x 2 Drop
475 x 2, 465 x 2 Drop
425 x 3
405 x (1 x 5) Cluster
225 x 7

After this workout I did a deload workout that's contrary to what a lot of new gurus recommend: I worked up to heavy Relative Max of 505 and called it a day.

So right now we're at this juncture: going forwards from this point. I am still not fit to do heavy singles so I am approaching Deadlifts a little differently. There is a mini-goal within this goal of increasing workload capacity.

The New Plan

It is time to dial everything back down and work on a new ability: being able to hit a relative max week in and week out and then proceed from there to doing volume work. There will be plenty of deloads thrown in and every 3rd or 4th week will be a deload week and by deload week I mean ala Eric Troy style which is reducing volume drastically and upping the intensity a little bit. So, for example, a deload workout might look like this:
warm-ups, etc
425 x 2
455 x 2
475 x 1
505 x 1
Go home
That's only 6 reps vs. the usual 20 we do around this same weight range. That's less than 1/3rd the volume.

I need to keep pushing on the volume for now because if I switch to Eric and Joe's Singles Scene I'll be using similar weights for singles that I'm using for volume and that serves no purpose. So it's time to keep grinding through volume work for now.

The image below will help hone in the details of the plan but before you scroll to that, I want to mention that there are 3 Deadlift Variations I will be using: Snatch Grip Deadlifts, Rack Deadlifts and Deficit Deadlifts. I will be rotating through these on a 2 week basis meaning each variation will be used for 2 weeks then rotated to the next.

Here's the actual plan:


I am not sure how this will unfold. Maybe my lower back will give way in which case I will be shutting down the plan immediately. At the end of the day though these are just guidelines. The reality of lifting heavy weights, as Eric has taught me, is to learn to think on my feet.

Whatever happens, I will be keeping you guys updated on the progress.


The program failed! I am unable to do Deficits without being in pain. This has caused a shift in gears and we have a new plan and it's very self explanatory: Click HERE

Y'all can check out my YouTube channel out HERE

Thanks for reading!


This page created 25 Apr 2014 18:01
Last updated 18 Jul 2016 00:58

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