Tip: Speed Work for the Deadlift

Pull more weight off the floor... faster. Here are two ways to program speed and technique work.

Categorized under Training

Speed = Technique

A popular approach to improving the deadlift is to use “speed” work. The idea is to work on bar speed – usually using 50-70% of 1-rep max – in an effort to improve rate of force development, which in turn will (likely) allow you to lift heavier loads.

I just call it technique work. The end goal is the same. It allows lifters to use a weight that emphasizes pristine form and to be able to “own” positions to better express strength.

There are two ways I like to program speed/technique work:

Method One

I’ll have an athlete hit 1-3 sets of 1-3 reps (max effort work, 80-95% of 1-rep max) and follow that with 6-10 sets of 1-3 reps of speed work. So it may look something like this:

Week 1

  • A. 1×2 at 80%
  • B. 5×3 at 60%

Week 2

  • A. 1×2 at 82.5 %
  • B. 6×3 at 60%

Week 3

  • A. 1×2 at 85%
  • B. 7×3 at 65%

Week 4

  • A. 1×2 at 90%
  • B. 8×3 at 65%

Method Two

I’ll have him or her perform some technique work after some heavy(ish) squats on a second lower body day:

Week 1

  • A. Heavy Squat Variation
  • B. Deadlift Technique: 10×1 at 70% (30-45 seconds rest)

Week 2

  • A. Heavy Squat Variation
  • B. Deadlift Technique: 12×1 at 70% (30-45 seconds rest)

Week 3

  • A. Heavy Squat Variation
  • B. Deadlift Technique: 15×1 at 70% (30-45 seconds rest)

Week 4

  • A. Heavy Squat Variation (de-load)
  • B. Deadlift Technique: 20×1 at 65% (30-45 seconds rest)