I've seen a ton of variations of the question but never found one that answered my question. I understand why only one set of dead lifts because of the squats. My question is why is the weight on the deadlift so low? I've worked up to 425lb 1RM on my dead lift and now it has me starting out at 190lbs x5 on the first week and by week 12 I'm not even at my 5RM. Now I love deadlifts and want to keep my 425 1RM up but don't think I'll be able to with this program.

But I digress. My question is why such a drop in weight on the DL?

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    If you're deadlifting 425 then maybe off-the-shelf StrongLifts isn't for you. What are your other lifts at? Does StrongLifts explicitly recommend that you drop so much even if you have a pre-existing big deadlift? Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 21:34
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    I've been lifting for about 3-4 years now. First 3 years were mostly "fuck-around-its" As people on other fitness sites have called them. They got my overall fitness up pretty good but I realized I needed a program when I came across 5/3/1 ( which I've been doing the past two months) Someone said 5/3/1 had a really slow progression and suggested 5x5 which I had been doing a variation of in the past. My lifts right now are Squat 225 - 5RM , Bench 275 - 3RM, Press 135 - 5RM, Row 135 - 5RM, Deadlift 425 - 1RM. I got these RMs from doing 5/3/1 and just entering the weight I was doing at the time.
    – Ericrobert
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 22:23

1 Answer 1


Don't Drop Your Deadlift!

Don't listen to StrongLifts' recommendation of dropping your deadlift weight by more than 50%. It's a 5x5 program with deadlifts at 1x5, so you should be dropping the weight a little bit, perhaps 20 or 25%, but definitely not from 425 to 190. You would lose strength or at least leave strength gains on the table.

With your numbers, it looks like your deadlift is great, your squat lags a little behind your bench press, and your press needs to catch up with your bench. That's fine. What I'd do is start the 5x5 progression at something like 75 or 85% of your 5RM numbers across the board. For your deadlift, that might be around 300 pounds (you don't mention your 5RM for that lift, so I'm guessing). That leaves plenty of room to improve while still challenging yourself. The same goes for your bench--it would be absurd to drop a 275 5RM bench press to 150 5x5.

Keep in mind that while you may still be a novice in the sense that you have potential to improve on a linear progression, it's necessary to modify novice programs when you have existing strength.

  • Yeah squat and press lag because I just started taking legs seriously and press was just really added in the last two months on a regular basis so I know I need to catch up there. This is exactly the information I was looking for. Thanks for the help help and ideas.
    – Ericrobert
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 22:48
  • As I'm editing my workouts to account for all this I was thinking. Should I drop it down to 3x5 at this weight or stick with 5x5. With 5/3/1 DL, Squat, Press, and Bench each had their own day.
    – Ericrobert
    Commented Mar 8, 2013 at 23:01
  • @Ericrobert My copy of Stronglifts has deadlifts at 1 set of 5, not 5 or 3 sets. For squats and the rest, doing 3x5 is reasonable. Starting Strength and StrongLifts after the initial period both use 3x5. Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 13:48
  • Yeah I realized that after doing some more research. I appreciate all the help.
    – Ericrobert
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 15:44
  • I might also suggest applying 5x5 to only the lifts you need to bring up, and keep your existing programming for the lifts that you have working well. Commented Apr 23, 2013 at 20:14

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