If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’ve struggled with the deadlift. It’s taken a lot of time and focus to get better, and I’ve run into lots of snags along the way. Perhaps my biggest challenge has been finding the right blend of volume, intensity and frequency.
To get better at something, you have to do it a lot. But if you deadlift a lot, sometimes you hurt a lot. Deadlifts beat you up, even if your technique is spot on. There’s something about taking a heavy-ass weight from a dead stop and hoisting it to waist height. Sounds simple, but it’s anything but.
One technique I’ve used to sneak in extra volume without feeling like I got hit by a bus is using deadlift complexes: three deadlift exercises back-to-back-to-back for three reps each. Normally, I might not even do nine working reps during a workout, but complexes let me get in extra work while targeting specific weak points, like speed off the floor or upper back tightness. Here’s an example:
My latest article on Stack shows you how to use deadlift complexes to increase deadlift volume without killing your recovery. Check it out: