Are you using deadlifts in your bodybuilding routine?
You should be because as you’ll hear top amateur bodybuilder and former training partner of Lee Priest mention in the video below, that deadlifts (or “EDlifts”) are one of the best exercises besides squats for putting size on your back, traps, and hamstrings. Ed has been using a special deadlift routine that only requires a total of 40 reps spread out over 6 sets – including the warm up sets. Ed is capable of deadlifting well over 600lbs and in the video below you’ll see him pull 600lbs for 1 rep.
It shouldn’t be surprising that bodybuilders train with heavy weights. John Grimek, Franco Columbu, and Chuck Sipes were all top bodybuilders and threw around impressive poundages regularly. Franco competed in the Worlds Strongest Man competition in 1977 and was Amateur Boxing Champion of Italy. Grimek was a top weightlifter who had amazing athletic ability.
In Ed’s deadlift routine, after a thorough warm up, he does 6 sets.
- Set 1 consists of 10 reps with 135lbs. The idea is to explode the weight up, pulling in a fast, controlled manner. Ed refers to it as a hybrid lifting or power building.
- Set 2 consists of 8 reps with 225lbs. Rest around 90 seconds or so in between sets.
- Set 3 consists of 6 reps with 315lbs.
- Set 4 is the first working set and is performed for 1 rep. With 600lbs.
- Set 5 is 5 reps of 545lbs.
- Set 6 is 10 reps of 495lbs.
Chalk is used on set 3 in order to get a better grip on the bar. Wrist straps are used on Sets 5 & 6 in order to FEEL the muscles working as opposed to just lifting the weight. As Ed points out in the video below, Dorian Yates, 5 x Mr Olympia, used wrist straps for back movements and he had some of the biggest forearms of all bodybuilding. Straps are just a tool to help you feel the muscle working – not a tool for cheating.
You can do this deadlift routine once a week for about 4-6 weeks before implementing a deload week or two before continuing on. Keep your protein high, eat 5-7 smaller meals a day for optimal digestion and macronutrient utilization. All of the heavy, hard training in the world won’t put on the size that you’re looking for without a high quality diet. Sleep 7-9 hours a night. And if you’re struggling to bulk up:
- Don’t run when you can walk
- Don’t walk when you can sit
- Don’t sit when you can lie down
Conserve your body energy as much as possible in order that you don’t burn too many calories outside of your workouts. In future articles, Ed will be sharing his current nutrition plan as he counts down to the Mr. Universe competition in 13 weeks. We’ll also take a look at his Front Squat technique. Front squats are all but forgotten in most gyms unfortunately.
To put on muscle, you must become stronger for reps. You must be able to perform quality reps in the deadlift, the barbell squat (back and front) and you must become a stronger presser. This along with a top notch nutritional program and quality rest will have you building the muscle that you’re after in the shortest time possible.