Daily Dose Deadlift Plan

If you know me well, you know that I LOVE strength training. If you’ve ever even had dinner with me, you know I LOVE strength training. But I am not a fan of inefficiency in training. I often scrutinize my training programs, looking for fluff. And in so doing, I will question percentages, frequency, reps, volume, progressions, recovery methods, and other important things (like the phase of the moon).

daily dose of deadlifts
Laura Chamorro deadlifting

If you have ever written a program for a large group of people, you realize that the recovery methods and capabilities of separate individuals are, in fact, very different. Everything from lifestyle to genetics to priorities and much more have an effect on a person’s recovery. So, you have a choice: write a bajillion individual programs or write “one program to rule them all” (my precious).

Now, let’s pretend you have a student/client/athlete who needs to develop multiple skills (both sport and lifting) at once. If you try to push multiple physical attributes too hard at one time, injury or stagnation will almost definitely occur. This article suggests a way to simplify one small facet of training: the deadlift.

Why a Training Plateau Happens

When plateaus present themselves, in general, I suspect insufficient recovery to be the culprit. Said another way: overtraining or training at too high of an intensity often causes plateaus. My strategy for breaking through such a plateau is:

  1. Lower the intensity
  2. Lower the volume
  3. Increase the frequency
  4. Eat more protein

Below is a deadlift program designed around this strategy. If your deadlift MAX is between 1-2 times bodyweight, then this is a great program for you. If you have a physical or tactical job or you are a fighter, this is a great program for you. If you want to develop another skill or lift for while, this is a great program for you.

The Logic Behind the Daily Dose Deadlift Plan

The program is designed around 75% of your one rep max. Training at this level feels easy. It should. Each workout will be 3-5 single reps (3 to 5 sets of 1 rep). Training at such a low volume keeps you fresh for other activities, such as firefighting, MMA, or any other sport — fishing, in my case. The program calls for five days a week of deadlifts.

Training this often does a lot of cool things to your nervous system. Enough cool things that it could be a whole article and probably a book. Long story short, this approach makes your CNS very efficient and adaptive. We want that for strength training.

The Daily Dose Deadlift Plan
The Daily Dose Deadlift Plan

As you can see, only six of your 45 sessions are above 75%. That’s only ~13% of the sessions. The good and the bad thing about high frequency programs is that they reinforce your technique, good or bad. So, use good technique. Some suggestions to aid you along the way are:

  1. Pull explosively (doesn’t mean sloppy)
  2. Maintain your flexibility/mobility
  3. Use some specific variety along the way
  4. Keep your endurance work to a minimum
  5. Eat enough to gain strength

Let me expand on points three and four:

  • Specific variety for your deadlift can be a different stance, grip, or lifting from a deficit. Power to the People Professional by Pavel goes into great detail about specialized variety.
  • When I say “endurance work,” it might be better to say “overall workload.” If you are doing Viking Warrior Conditioning and training for a marathon, I’m very sorry. I think I got a little less strong just typing that. Where’s my steak? At that point, you are probably already overtraining. I’m not trying to conflict with what I said earlier, but don’t expect great gains in strength, if you are carrying that kind of workload.

A few benefits to this type of programming:

  1. Can have your deadlifts done in under fifteen minutes, easy
  2. Increase your body’s preparedness
  3. Increase your work capacity
  4. Gain muscle if fed properly
  5. Lose fat if fed properly
  6. Build a stronger grip
  7. Get to deadlift almost every day
  8. WTH effect is amplified. Watch everything else become easier

How to Follow the Daily Dose Deadlift Plan

Follow the percentages and pull 3-5 single reps, five days a week. You can lift any five days as long as they are within a seven-day week. Try for 5 singles, but if you aren’t feeling strong just do 3.

This program gives you the chance to learn about your body’s recovery rhythm. You will notice some sessions will feel easy and others of the same percentage not so easy. Even when everything else in your lifestyle is the same, you will probably notice some slight variation in your perceived exertion day to day. Learn from what your body tells you. You can use it in later programs.

For warm-up reps, do as little as you feel comfortable with. I’d suggest 2-4 single reps. I recommend resting 1-2 minutes between sets during your working sets.

Key points:

  1. Warm up – 2-4 light singles
  2. 3-5 singles (based on percentages on chart, rest 1-2 min between sets
  3. Shoot for 5 training days out of 7

This plan is going to be easy and that’s okay. More than likely, it will take a couple weeks for your body to acclimate to deadlifting so often. Then, your daily dose should somewhat normalize into a rhythm as I hinted at earlier. Finally, let’s say that you miss five days of deadlifts because you get bit by a black mamba. Simply go back about five days from where you left off and start from there. This is easy strength training at its purest. Perhaps, even easier strength training – but it works. Enjoy!

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Derek Miller
Derek has worked in the fitness since 2000. He has been a certified kettlebell instructor since 2006. During this time, he has had experience with all walks of life. Younger people, older people, bigger people, smaller people, stronger people, weaker people, athletes, non-athletes, beginners, and everything in-between—he has the knowledge and experience to help at any level.

Derek is also certified through the FMS and USA Weightlifting. His view on strength and athletic development is constantly evolving to become more effective and efficient to better serve his students. In 2010, Derek opened the first facility dedicated to kettlebell training, in Arkansas, where he and his family reside.

86 thoughts on “Daily Dose Deadlift Plan

  • Hi there I am planning to start this program pretty soon. Would panache training every other day along with some pushing volume 3 times a week negatively affect my progress? I’m currently eating a at maintenance

  • This is just what I need. My deadlift hasn’t been moving much and I need a new plan. Going too heavy crushes me and I can’t squat heavy that week but too light/infrequent also doesn’t help. I’ll be sure to share my results.

      • Finished the program. I started the program with an estimated 1rm conventional of 365. After a few sessions I began pulling with semi-sumo stance (estimated 1rm at about 345). At the end of the program I pulled 375 without much trouble. I learned a few things from this program- 1- a new stance which is now my go-to deadlift position. 2- Grease the groove works great for deadlifts. 3- Squat needs to take a backseat when doing this much pulling even though it’s submaximal.
        Overall- great program- happy with the result. Now time to get back into the 400 club and beyond.

  • Whata bout running this by itself for someone with very limited recovery?
    Will it still work as good or maybe even better?

  • Hi mate,

    I am going to implement it into my squat bench everyday program, do you think it would be too much? (I believe it is not but just wanna confirm)

    and when you say using variation along the way, do you mean we can use different variation on different days?

    Cheers!

  • I started running this with Aleks Salkin’s 8week shred program where you alternate days of pull-ups and crawling with THUs and swings. I have a shoulder injury and have to be careful with any pressing movements. I am skipping the other exercises on days where I’m above 80% on DL but am loving the combo. My weight seems to be trending up slightly but my back and shoulders are showing clear growth and my waist is shrinking. Combined with a 5-10 minute “flow” to start the session and I’m feeling loose but strong and energized. The key for me is that I’m done in 45 min.

  • Hi D,

    Do you use your current max for the percentages throughout, then see where you are at at the end of the program? Or do you allow your max to climb throughout and adjust from there? Thanks!

    • Use your current Max to set the percentages for the entire program. Then retest your max at the end

  • The DDD Plan works. I started it already having over 2xBW deadlift, but decided to run it anyway. I maxed at 220kg (485lbs) which was a 20kg (44lb) PR from my previous best lift of 200kg (440lbs).

  • Currently on day 16 and really enjoying it.
    Because of an old coccyx trauma I stayed away from squats and deadlifts for more than a year, since my lower back could flare unexpectedly. With this program I get to deadlift in a very pain-free and satisfying way. Thank you, Derek!

  • Hi Derek,
    Today I did a few heavy sets to estimate that my 1RM is 275. Based on that, I am starting the daily dose program this week. But how do I calculate what weight I should lift for my new 1RM at the end of the cycle?

    • Brandon, not trying to be smart or cross with you, but just keep putting weight on there until you can’t lift it anymore.

  • Hi Derek,

    I was wondering if this program would be right for me. My all time max was 545 at 177, which I pulled by running candito’s program. My form was not the best as I ended up pulling with a rounded back. So instead of deloading I reduced my max and started to straighten out my back. Now after several cycles my back stays straight but I can’t even pull 465 at the same BW. Thanks for any help you could offer.

  • “If you are doing Viking Warrior Conditioning and training for a marathon, I’m very sorry. I think I got a little less strong just typing that. Where’s my steak? ”

    I just love this. I am on Day 10 and this is the best fit for me for a deadlift program since I did PTTP a long time ago. Thank you, Derek! There is nothing quite like deadlift almost every day.

  • I just want to be sure I’m reading you right. The program is 45 workouts over 9 weeks? Can I follow the daily dose for deads but continue my regular programming for upper body and front squats?

    • Brandon, that should be okay. Just don’t over do the lat work. Your lats will be getting plenty of work as is.

      • Well I’m 25 workouts deep. I figured it would be easier to just do front squats 5x week along with my sumo deads. I hit incline bench, dips, weighted dips or ring dips 2-3x week along with some chins or horizontal pull-ups and some resistance band face pulls. No recovery issues and I’m feeling great.

  • Awesome routine!
    Im currently running it, but i have a question about the variation you mentioned.
    I based my weights on my 1 rm of the stance and grip, where i can pull
    the most with. If i change for example to snatch grip deadlift for
    variation, it’s way higher than 75% for me….
    Would be nice if you can help me out with this

    • Sorry for the late reply. I’d tell you to use perceived exertion for your specialized variety. So if you snatch grip deadlift, use a weight that feels about 75% of your ability. Keep it easy on other words.

  • Would you recommend any type of accessory work, or should that be omitted? Upper body work? Thanks, and plan on trying this program soon.

    • I wouldn’t go over board with accessory work. A couple sets each day probably wouldn’t hurt. Keep it in the Easy Strength fashion though. A mix of the kettlebell exercises sizes would be a good choice.

  • The Daily Dose worked great for me. I had an all time max of 500lbs, but after having a pretty big surgery I decided to start with a new current max that ended up being 460lbs. I worked the program as written and ended up with a new 545lb Max. Wow, I’m impressed. I’m ready to start with my new current max and run the program again… Thanks Derek Miller for making this available to everyone.

  • Hi Derek,

    because of flew in november it took more than 42 days but it was great: from 110 kg 1RM to 140kg 1RM tested today!

    Thank you!
    Regards
    Sergej
    W-Germany

  • Just finished the cycle. Did OHP, Dead and Squat every day
    Started with light weight to work on form after doing the 5×5 for a while and struggling with squat and deadlift form.
    Body weight: 177lb

    Deadlift: Start: 250lb End: 285lb
    Squat: Start: 135lb End: 200lb
    OHP Start: 100lb End: 120lb

    I’m going to run the cycle again. I did the deadlift and OHP 1 rep max on the same day, so I think I could do more on the OHP if I did it on a separate day.

    I really like this protocol because it’s every day, simple, short and a good “meditative” practice. Thanks.

    • Wow! Good job! I’m glad you posted your results because I haven’t run this program for OHP or Squats! My pleasure, glad you enjoyed it!

      • Ran the cycle for the second time, immediately after the first:
        Deadlift: Start: 285lb End: 325lb
        Squat: Start: 200lb End: 205lb
        OHP Start: 120lb End: 115lb

        I did the 1RM test on separate days for each exercise.
        I attribute the OHP decrease to being sore from the previous days Deadlift.

        The squat didn’t increase as much as I would have liked, but I’m working on the form, and I’m happier with the depth of my squat.

        I am ecstatic with the deadlift. My goal was 315.

        In summary I liked the program. Particularly the results with the deadlift. Perhaps the difficulty in using multiple exercises is that it is not easy doing 3 consecutive days of 1RM on the different exercises.
        Thanks again.

  • Thanks for the great article Derek! This looks very similar to the PTTP Deadlift plan, except with even less volume and intensity. In your experience, what other exercises would this work with? I’ve seen Pavel mention in other articles that presses need high volume, so does that rule out OHP? What about Squats (Front or Back)?

  • Thank you for the plan! I just completed it….my PR was 235# prior to starting the plan. I just pulled 260#…..bodyweight if 137 s.

  • just completed the daily dose and it was awesome!
    I was a new deadlifter when I started… I picked up a barbell and some weight 1 week prior to starting this. I started with a max of 300lb. I felt like I may have been able to do a little more but didn’t want to hurt myself being so new to this lift.
    I know its beginners gains but just maxed after completing the first round and pulled 385lb at a bw of 165lb. I was pretty impressed because all the days it seemed fairly easy. I may be able to hit 400 given a few days rest… guess its time to run the daily dose again with my new PR!!

  • I train with a 5×5 method and getting stuck on my deadlifts and squats. Should I continue with my over head press, bench press and bent over rows and incorporate your program with the dead lifts and squats?

    • Yes. Except, I would just run this program on your deadlifts and keep everything else the same. Squatting once a week works well with this program.

  • Thanks Derek, interesting protocol. After completing the total cycle and doing a “max” what do you suggest…..repeat cycle based on new max, switch to another format, exotic island vacation, ??

    • Let’s say that you gain 30+ pounds when you MAX then I’d adjust the percentages and run the cycle again. If you gain 10 pounds on your MAX, I’d run a different cycle. The exotic vacation is good whenever!

  • Hi, Thank you. This affirms my own training by feel.
    Many years ago I was too busy to follow the first Justa Singles plan (3 singles on day 1, adding 2 singes a day up to 15 singles, add weight and repeat). So I combined Justa with PttP – 3-5 reps every day. The only difference from this was I began at 70% and added very small amounts of weight every day. I have Cerebral Palsy and can’t push intensity too high, but cope better with low volume and highish intensity than “bodybuilding” style training. I added 14% + to my Kettlebell Clean & Press in 14 weeks. (Included an occasional day off, and an occasional busy week with no training.)

  • Great article!

    I was just wondering if this would work on other exercises, such as the bench press.

  • FYI: I’m trying this same protocol for Squat and OHP. Doing it all at the same time.
    Looking forward to more posts. Thanks.

    • Honestly, Im not sure because I’m always trying to get stronger. I’d suggest working with 75%-85% of your MAX.

  • So am I understanding the program, the first week 5day would be 4 days at 75% and the 5th day at 80%, or is it the first week all 5 days at 75, then the first day of the following week at 75, one day at 80, then 3 days at 75. Guess the part that is throwing me is the progarm is 5 days a week, but the daily dose is in 6 day increments.

  • Derek,

    How would you fit in other training to the regime? For example any recommendations on squeezing in any squat sessions, or upper body sessions? Or would it be better to do a 5×5 or 5x3x1 variant if the goal is to increase squat, dead, presses all at once?

    • Basically, pick up a light weight you know you can lift. Set it down. Put some more weight on the bar. Pick it up and set it down. Put more weight on the bar. Pick it up and set it down. Repeat this sequence until you find a comfortable MAX. Make small weight jumps like 10-30 pounds.

  • Great post.!.

    I’ve been doing dead lifts 5-6 days a week for the last while in tandem with training for a marathon and taking S&S from 32kg to 40kg. Five days a week I do 2×5 w/65% starting 1RM, and once a week I do 2×5 with something heavier (75% up to 90% thus far). Really easy approach, it feels like I could keep going like this indefinitely and will be able to do 2×5 at my starting 1RM in the next 6-8 weeks. I was struggling at the start then read a post from Dan John where he suggested doing the bulk of DL volume with much lighter weights than most folks recommend – which made a huge difference. He suggested <50% 1RM, but I find 65% comfortable enough for daily even with a lot of running, swings and snatches in the routine.

  • I am currently doing the 5×5 program, and I’m finding that I am reaching a plateau on all 3 big lifts (deads, squat, bench) I am 190lbs and my 1RM deadlift is 320lbs. I am stuck at 190lbs on the bench and 235 on the squats. Would this approach help? if so, at what % would you suggest I deload to / start the daily DL routine?

    Thank you Derek.

    • A similar program would help your squat, yes. In my experience, pressing takes more volume. I’d tell you to take 10-14 days completely off your powerlifts and then start the program. That might seem like too much rest for you, but it’s not. While this program is low intensity, the cumulative effect of deadlifting so often can be tasking and you may wish you had rested more to start with. Please email me if you have anymore questions.

      • Thanks Derek, I will take your advice and take some time off the powerlifts. Would other things like swings/snatches/presses and HIIT cardio during the break, affect the new program / Is it safe to take that approach? (I can’t take a complete break — I’d go crazy 🙂 )

  • Dear Derek,
    A very simple and nice program! How do you think, would it work also for the bent press? I used to do 10 singles a day but felt it was too much. 5 singles seem to be the right number.
    You have an impressive deadlift. What training program do you use for it?

    • Edgars, I know the program would work for the bent press as well as I have used a similar template for most of the grinds. As for my deadlift, I write all my own programs. I’ve been working on it for several years. At this point, there is no ONE program that I’ve done that represents my MAX. Although, one key focus of mine is recovery. I always try to do the least amount possible and still see gains. All the while doing as much work as I can when I’m “fresh”. Feel free to email me if you have more questions.

  • Great article. One never hears about training the deadlift very often. I did a deadlift routine years back. I put on 100pds to my lift, took almost a year. All I did was deadlift and yoga. I always changed everything, frequency, sets, reps. load, type of deadlift, etc. One adapts like anything else with this program. I would do crazy sets and reps. Mostly staying with singles and ladders. Working the dead with all angles helps from finger deads to lockouts. See how many singles one can do in 15 min, etc. Cycle everything and keeping the spine moble from yoga, huge help:))

    • Phil, depends on your muscle mass, training “age” and recovery methods. I’ve used it with lifters in the 2-2.5 range but it doesn’t yield as much gain. As long as you’re keeping your recovery methods in check, you should see gains.

  • Hey Derek,

    Great article – thanks for posting. Would a similar approach also work for the Squat/Frontsquat ?
    Should the percentages be tweaked?

    Greetings

  • I’m very interested in this as a beginner, and one that wants to deadlift, but also wants to be somewhat fresh for other activities. To clarify, if my 1RM is 240 lbs for example, I would warm up with 2 to 4 sets of light (i.e. 135 lbs). Then for the next 45 days I would work from the same 1RM, using your recommended percentages, only increasing my 1RM when I re-test at the end of that period?

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