High Rep Deadlifts for Growth [Increase Strength & Stamina]

Written
Daniel Fisher
Medically reviewed
Andrea Nardi
4

 min

Published on 

June 26, 2024

Explore the benefits of high-rep deadlifts for building muscle endurance and strength. Learn how to incorporate them into your workout routine safely.

High Rep Deadlifts for Growth [Increase Strength & Stamina]
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Key takeaways

  • High-rep deadlifts involve performing 8+ rep sets at 50-70% of your one-rep max.
  • Benefits include improved endurance, cardio, and calorie burn.
  • Proper form and technique are crucial to avoid injury and maximize the effectiveness of high-rep deadlifts.
  • Integrating high-rep deadlifts into your routine requires careful planning to balance intensity and recovery.
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High-rep deadlifts are a practical and versatile exercise that can significantly enhance your strength, stamina, and overall fitness. Add high-rep deadlifts to your lifting plan to increase your strength, stamina, fat-burning, and more. Let's explore the specifics of high-rep deadlifts, including how to perform them, their benefits, and how to integrate them into your workout regimen safely.

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What Is a High-Rep Deadlift?

High-rep deadlifts are deadlifts performed in sets of 8 reps or more. Instead of focusing on lifting the heaviest weight possible for fewer reps, high-rep deadlifts prioritize volume. Typically, you will lift 50-70% of your one-rep max weight, allowing you to complete more reps and stimulate muscle hypertrophy and endurance. You can make any deadlift into a high-rep, from conventional to more out-there variations like behind-the-back deadlifts. What matters most here is that high reps suit your lifting goals.

Who Should Do High-Rep Deadlifts

Performing high reps for deadlift sets challenges your muscles to perform prolonged physical activity. This approach is great for anyone who wants to improve their overall endurance and stamina, from athletes looking to improve their conditioning to recreational lifters interested in burning calories and losing fat. It can be convenient for at-home exercises since you don’t need as many weight plates. You can also use high-rep deadlifts to get back into deadlifts after an injury, using a much lower weight – or even just the bar – and focusing on proper form.

How to Perform the High-Rep Deadlift

A common issue with high-rep deadlifts is that your form worsens as you become fatigued. This can lead to injuries, particularly in the lower back. Assuming you go with a conventional deadlift, here are a few basic rules for your setup, drive, and lockout that you can follow to keep your form safe and effective:

Setup

  1. Start feet shoulder-width apart and the straight barbell on the floor in front of you. 
  2. The bar should be directly above the middle of your feet.
  3. Your shins should be almost touching the bar.
  4. Bend at the hips and knees to lower your upper body towards the bar, maintaining a straight back. 
  5. Grip the bar with hands shoulder-width apart in an overhand or mixed grip.

Drive

  1. Inhale and expand your abdomen outwards to brace.
  2. Keep your neck and head neutral throughout the lift.
  3. Drive through your heels and extend your knees and hips to lift the bar. 
  4. Keep your chest upright and your arms straight and tense.
  5. The bar should stay close to your body, even grazing your shins.

Lockout

  1. Stand straight with the bar in front of your thighs. 
  2. Squeeze your glutes to extend your hips fully.
  3. Pull your shoulders back.
  4. After a moment, reverse the movement to lower the bar to the ground. 
  5. Bend the knees slightly to place the bar gently on the ground in the starting position.

How to do high-rep deadlifts depends on the deadlift variation you want to use. Besides the conventional deadlift, here are a few variations that work well with high-rep ranges:

  1. Trap Bar Deadlift: This variation allows for a more upright torso position, reducing lower back strain and making it easier to maintain proper form during high-rep sets.
  2. Sumo Deadlift: With a wider stance and a more upright torso, variations in sumo stance like the deficit sumo deadlift reduce the range of motion and can be easier on the lower back. If you’ve tested your flexibility and know you have good hip mobility, it's an excellent option for high-rep training.
  3. Romanian Deadlift: This exercise focuses on the hamstrings and glutes, making it a good accessory lift for building strength and endurance in the posterior chain. It's also beneficial for improving hip hinge mechanics.

Benefits of High-Rep Deadlifts

High-volume deadlifts are great for pushing through strength plateaus, burning calories, and improving your body composition. Here’s a breakdown of their benefits:

Endurance

Performing high-rep deadlifts stimulates muscle hypertrophy by engaging multiple muscle groups, including the legs, hips, and back. This type of training helps build muscular endurance and muscle growth more effectively than lower-rep, high-weight deadlifts.

Cardio

High-rep deadlifts place extra demand on your anaerobic energy systems, improving cardio and transforming your fitness. So, if you’re involved in sports requiring high-intensity activity, such as soccer and basketball, but you want to keep getting stronger, this may be a good exercise for you.

Calorie Burn

Deadlifts engage several muscle groups simultaneously, leading to significant calorie burn. This exercise helps in weight loss and boosts metabolism, contributing to long-term fat loss.

Grip Strength

High-rep deadlifts are hard on your grip, but they increase your grip strength enormously.

Mental Toughness

Don’t get us wrong: high-rep deadlifts are a challenge, physically AND mentally. Fighting through the pain to finish longer sets will help you build resilience and show you it’s possible to push through mental barriers.

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Drawbacks of High-Rep Deadlifts

Risk of Injury

High-rep deadlifts can be risky if performed with poor form. Fatigue can lead to loss of concentration, increasing the likelihood of injury. Focus on maintaining proper technique, and don’t push yourself too hard – push your limits, but don’t break your body.

Fatigue

These exercises are taxing and can leave you feeling tired for days. Ensure adequate recovery time between sessions to avoid prolonged fatigue and overtraining.

Not Ideal for Maximum Strength

While beneficial for hypertrophy and endurance, high-rep deadlifts are not the best for building maximum strength. For serious strength gains, lower-rep, higher-weight training is more effective.

Cortisol Production

High-intensity workouts, like high-rep deadlifts, can increase cortisol production, which can negatively affect the body if not managed properly.

High-Rep Deadlift Recovery

High-rep deadlifts are very demanding on your muscles and nervous system, which makes effective recovery essential to gaining the most from them.

Rest

Allow 3-5 minutes between sets and at least 48 hours between sessions.

Cool-Down

Use a foam roller and stretches after your high-rep deadlift session to reduce muscle soreness and help you recover more quickly.

Warm-Up

Although it’s not technically recovery, a proper warm-up can dramatically decrease your recovery time. Spend 10-15 minutes on a dynamic warm-up that includes deadlift accessory exercises like bodyweight squats and lunges to prepare your muscles and joints for the workout.

Tips on Integrating High-Rep Deadlifts Into Your Training Program

You want to create a deadlift rep scheme that balances intensity and volume to help you hit your lifting goals. That’s why integrating high-rep deadlifts into your training program requires careful planning. Here are some things to consider:

Reps

After all of this, your main question is probably, “How many reps of deadlifts should I do?” It's important to find the best deadlift rep range for your goals. 

  • Hypertrophy: the best rep range for deadlifts is typically 6-12 reps, with a heavy enough weight that you’re hitting failure by the last rep. You’ll stimulate muscle growth while allowing enough volume to create metabolic stress and fatigue.
  • Endurance: higher rep ranges like 15-20 reps (at a lower weight) will help you build endurance and help with fat-burning.

Sets

Start with 2-3 sets and gradually increase to 4-6 sets as your conditioning improves. You can also experiment with cluster sets and drop sets to help you maintain form and manage fatigue while still getting that sweet, sweet hypertrophy. For cluster sets, instead of performing 15 reps in one continuous set, you can do three clusters of 5 reps with 10-15 seconds of rest between clusters. For drop sets, start heavy, lift to failure, then reduce the weight and continue lifting.

Frequency

Incorporate high-rep deadlifts into your hypertrophy phase. Perform high-rep deadlifts 2-3 times/week, allowing 48 hours of rest between sessions. 

Weight

Ego lifting and high-rep ranges don’t mix. Stick to 50-70% of your one-rep max to ensure you can hit all your reps with good technique. When you first start trying high-rep deadlifts, make them the focus of your workout to avoid overloading your lower back.

Tempo Training

Incorporating tempo variations into your high-rep deadlifts can increase the time under tension. Try a 3-1-3 tempo (three seconds to lift, one-second hold, three seconds lower) or a pause deadlift variation to get even more muscle hypertrophy.

Final Thoughts

High-rep deadlifts are a powerful addition to any strength and conditioning program. By incorporating them thoughtfully into your routine, you can see big results in your strength and stamina. It might seem counterintuitive, but remember always to take it slow when trying new lifting approaches and make safety your #1 priority. Listen to your body, and adjust your training based on how you’re feeling. Want to track your lifting progress accurately? Try Zing Coach, the AI-powered lifting partner that gives you personalized training plans and advice and tracks your progress with Body Scans, assessments, and more! Take the quiz and embark on your journey with Zing Coach today.

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FAQ

How many sets are enough for high rep deadlifts?

Are high-rep deadlifts a good exercise for fat loss?

When are high-rep deadlifts considered dangerous?

How heavy should I go for high-rep deadlifts?

What can I do instead of high-rep deadlifts?

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