Deadlifting Two Days in a Row: Is it Worth the Risk?

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Last updated on March 9th, 2023 at 02:20 pm

There could be various reasons that you wish to deadlift more than the conventional “once a week”.

Plus, as the deadlift is such a fantastic exercise it makes sense to explore the idea of doing it more often.

So, I’d like to discuss whether you should deadlift two days in a row (or even more for that matter).

There is no problem with deadlifting two days in a row, or even more days, if you wish. However, you should vary the intensity and stick to lower volumes of work. Plus, you should also choose an alternative deadlift variation if you decide to deadlift more than once a week.

Vary Your Deadlift Intensity

A Man Performing Deadlifts

Personally, I see nothing wrong with deadlifting two days in a row.

In fact, at the time of writing, I am actually in the process of deadlifting 5 times a week for the foreseeable future.

I have previously performed squats every single day for a prolonged period and saw some amazing results.

However, due to a previous lower back injury I was somewhat wary about my squat experiment.

And I would’ve been the same with my deadlift experiment, if it wasn’t for my previous awesome results with the squat.

The idea to deadlift for 5 days in a row (as opposed to just two) came from reading a truly superb article by Dave Bonollo.

Dave actually carried out an experiment and performed deadlifts for 125 days in a row.

Now something that Dave learned along the way is that lifting with the same intensity all the time absolutely sucked.

Plus, this could be a precursor to injury.

My recommendation is that it isn’t bad to deadlift two days in a row if you vary your intensity.

So, day one may involve a 5×5 deadlift session at near maximum weight.

However, then you could drop back on day two and perhaps lift 3 sets of 5 reps with 70% of your one-rep max.

The point being is this isn’t about trying to pull as much weight as possible day-after-day.

You can still achieve amazing results by altering the amount of weight you choose to lift.

In fact, Dave Dellanave, considered by many as the “King of Deadlifts” talks about finding your 12-rep max or 20-rep max with the deadlift.

The idea, once again, is that you don’t have to strain every single muscle in the body by trying to hit your one-rep max 2 days in a row.

Use Multiple Deadlift Variations

When it comes down to whether or not deadlifting two days in a row is bad, intensity isn’t the only thing that matters.

There are literally a whole host of deadlift variations to choose from.

So, if you really want to deadlift two days in a row (or 5 days like me), then try to mix things up a little.

I think when most people ask about deadlifting for a couple of days straight, or more than once a week, they are solely focused on the same deadlift.

I would hazard a guess those asking want to do the conventional deadlift using the same amount of weight.

However, as I’ve mentioned above, you don’t need to lift with the same intensity day-after-day to produce some great results.

And you certainly don’t have to stick with the conventional deadlift either.

For my 5 day a week experiment, not only am I going to vary intensity, I’m also going pick-and-choose from 6 deadlift variations that I enjoy.

They are:

  • Conventional Deadlift
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Trap-Bar Deadlift
  • Rack Pulls
  • Sumo Deadlift
  • Snatch-Grip Deadlift

This means that although I am hitting the legs and posterior chain pretty much every day, there is also a great deal of variety.

This will keep things fresh, plus it’s a great way to avoid potential repetitive and overuse injuries.

Reduce Your Workload on “Leg Day”

This is a tip I picked up from Dave Bonollo’s article I’ve mentioned above.

And, in truth, as weird as it sounds, from my experiment with squatting every day.

If you’re planning to deadlift two or more days in a row, then take it easy with the other leg exercises you perform during the week.

I know many of you may follow a “bro routine”, i.e. legs, chest, back, shoulders, arms.

However, when you’re hitting deadlifts more than once a week, especially at 3 times a week or more, your legs are going to get a pretty good going over.

Personally, I’m not one for following this type of routine, but I will definitely be reducing the amount of work I do on legs.

In fact, I can’t see myself maxing out on squats when I’m deadlift 5 times a week.

I will probably stick to 3-4 sets of moderate-weight barbell back squats at 8-12 reps.

Plus, I’ll add some Bulgarian split squats.

But, that’s it.

My deadlift experiment isn’t going to last forever, and it certainly won’t be anywhere near as long as Dave’s 125 days.

So, if you are looking to deadlift two days in a row, just ease off the leg work a bit.

Deadlifts will give the glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors plenty to do, so you really don’t want to overload the legs.

Keep On Top of Nutrition and Sleep

Nutrition - An Array of Food

The main reason that many people view deadlifting more than once a week as a bad thing is because of potential “overtraining”.

Yes, deadlifts are extremely taxing on the central nervous system and the body in general.

And yes, the muscles typically grow and get stronger when we rest, not when we train.

However, to actually “overtrain” and to “over tax the central nervous system” takes a helluva lot more than most of us are capable of.

I can guarantee that if you’re lifting big multiple times a week that good nutrition and plenty of sleep will aid with recovery.

If you deadlift two days or more in a row you’ll definitely start to notice that your appetite soon increases.

So, it’s important to fuel both your workouts and recovery adequately.

And when it comes to sleep, this is essentially one of the most important aspects to recovery, growth, and repetition.

I’ve spoken many times before about how workouts can be badly impacted if you haven’t had enough sleep.

Plus, I’ve also mentioned that it is during the stages of deep sleep that testosterone and Human Growth Hormone are released.

So, if you want to deadlift more often, and if you want to get bigger and stronger, then please ensure you’re getting enough sleep.

Take a Rest Day or Two

Okay, this may come across as slightly hypocritical.

But, even in my “squatting every day” and Dave’s “deadlifting every day” experiments, there were still rest days.

I am looking at my own, current deadlift experiment in exactly the same way.

I will train Monday to Friday.

This will involve a new deadlift variation each day.

I will keep the volume fairly low, i.e. no more than 3-4 working sets a day.

My intensity will also vary from day-to-day.

I will make sure I’m eating plenty and getting enough sleep.

However, I will still be taking complete rest days on Saturday and Sunday.

Well, as it’s me, I am walking 4-5 miles each day at the weekend, but view this as low-intensity, active-recovery.

So, if you want to deadlift more often you still need to take some rest at some point during the week.

I know I’ve said that it’s extremely difficult to overtrain or overtax the Central Nervous System.

However, without taking ample rest, fatigue and stress can set in.

This will simply increase your levels or cortisol and hamper your workouts.

So, even though you won’t be “overtrained”, your workouts will definitely suffer.

Key Learning Points

  • It’s absolutely fine to deadlift two days (or more) in a row.
  • Ensure you switch up the intensity levels one day to the next, e.g. heavy load with low reps one day, light load with moderate-to-high reps the next day.
  • Use different deadlift variations day-to-day, e.g. conventional, sumo, Romanian, snatch-grip, trap-bar, rack pulls, etc.
  • Make recovery a priority, e.g. rest days, great nutrition, good sleep habits, etc.

Next, on a similar subject (and something that will help), discover what I had to say about performing deadlifts with light weight for high reps.

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