“Simple Man” the Shinedown version (sorry Lynyrd Skynyrd) is one of my favorite songs.  I have seen Shinedown live twice and the way Brent Smith puts his soul into that song is amazing.  It has already been determined by my wife that this song will be my son’s mother/son dance at his wedding.  He is 3, by the way lol.

What does music have to do with the mighty deadlift?  Well, not much.  However, the deadlift is often overly complicated when it comes to programming.  I have found my deadlift responds best when I keep it simple.

In my opinion the best way to get better at something is to do it.  If you want to raise your deadlift, you have to actually deadlift.  Rack pulls, Romanian deadlifts, deficit deadlifts, etc. all are helpful at times, but this program does not want or need them.


If you deadlift with a conventional stance, you are going to use that stance.  If you deadlift sumo, you will use that stance.  You are going to do as many warm-up sets as you need to do to reach one hard set of 3.  That is it!  Once, you reach one work set of 3….STOP!


You are going to pick one assistance lift.  Just one!  You can choose back extensions, good mornings, sandbag lifts, box squats, or a moving exercise such as farmer’s walks.  Just make sure it is a big movement that puts enough strain on your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and lower back).

Do three sets of 5-10 reps.


The final piece of this simple kind of man’s deadlift workout is the six-pack muscles.  To deadlift big weight you need strong abs.  You are going to pick two exercises here.  I highly suggest hanging leg raises and barbell rollouts.  You can choose other variations, but you need a lower ab exercise and a core stability exercise.  I like the hanging leg raise, because it is hard.  I like barbell rollouts, because it is a moving plank.


  1. General warm-up:  5-10 minutes of easy cardio
  2. Mobility/Activation:  Get loose with it
  3. Deadlift: Warm-up until you hit one hard set of 3
  4. Back Extensions: 3 sets of 10
  5. Hanging Leg Raise: 3 sets of 10
  6. Barbell Rollout: 3 sets of 10
  7. Stretch and enjoy the gains


Each week you will add 10 lbs to your deadlift.  If week one you deadlift 350×3, in week two you will hit 360×3, in week 3 you will hit 370×3.

As for your assistance and ab work you should be adding 5 lbs or one rep to each set.


The deadlift responds to lower volume and heavy weights.  This program includes both.  For a newer lifter you could easily increase your deadlift weights by 10 lbs for 8-10 weeks without backing off.  A more advanced lifter may go 3-4 weeks before they need to adjust.

You are only doing this program once a week.  That is enough stimulation for the deadlift.  You can train how you see fit on the other days.  I would include a bench day, squat day, and overhead press day so you balance out the body.

My recommendation is to milk this until the gains stop.   When you get to a week where you can’t increase the weight by 10 lbs shut the program down for the week and back off.  The following week you can restart the program (20-30 lbs lighter than you left off)and change to a different assistance exercise and rotate ab exercises.  This will reignite the gains, because you will move the weight faster than you were once capable of doing before.


Most people do way too many exercises in the gym.  How can you be good at anything when you do everything?  The deadlift is a simple man’s lift and should be treated as such.  No need to overcomplicate bending over and picking a barbell up.

The deadlift responds well to two things.  Heavy weights and low reps!  This program includes both.  While it may fun to challenge yourself with an exhausting set of 20 reps, it does little for max strength.

Remember Goldilocks and the three bears?  The first bowl of porridge was too hot.  The second bowl of porridge was too cold.  The third bowl was just right.  Well, too many reps of deadlifts will leave you overtrained and exhausted.  Too little reps (think singles) will leave you understimulated.  One hard set of three is just right!

This program will give you confidence.  Think about it…if you had some crazy workout with five different variations of deadlifts you would be exhausted before you got done reading it.  Believe me, I have tried some of those programs.  They just left me beaten up and weaker than when I started.  But, with this program you walk into the gym knowing all you have to do is crush one set of three and do some assistance and ab work.  You can focus on what matters.





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