I know this is total contradiction to this very domain name: fitness.stackexchange, but hear me out. Plenty of people come here asking for advice about foods, routines, muscle types, other neuro-bio stuff, etc.

I am here asking how I can gain strength without increasing fitness. It is my goal to become strong enough to deadlift 600 lbs. at a bodyweight no greater than 200 lbs. for a one-rep max.

While, yes, I do generally want a bit more fitness, what I only real care about is the ability to exert more force: strength. So this is why I want advice on strength-only, power-only routines that are not part of any program like Starting Strength (personal reasons related to Mark Rippetoe). Can someone give me some advice who is out there in the power world? Any programs (besides the latter), any tips, any other info I should know, etc.?

As stated, I can deadlift about 300 lbs. max now (and I'm in no workout routine, program, fixed diet, etc., etc.). I want to one day reach 600 lbs., preferably within 12 years, and will use no enhancements, steroids, h.g.h., etc.

Some information for those who'll make assumptions:

I am not a "noob" here, and I have lots of experience. I have just never stuck with anything and never made results that I wanted. I have lots of neuro-efficiency training (ability to exert myself as hard as possible), some explosive training like with cleans, etc. (although a lot of it has diminished), and I am quite neuro-effective (I can incorporate a lot of strength without any muscle tone/mass). I do not care about mass either, and strength, power, etc. are my goals, not endurance, long lasting, etc.

  • 1
    Why don't you like starting strength? Have you done any kind of linear progression? You might be interested in Texas Method or 5-3-1 if you think you are "beyond" starting strength, but really, if you can progress 15 pounds on the major lifts every week, why not do that for as long as you can? Commented Jul 25, 2014 at 21:56
  • Voted to close as unclear because "fitness" is a very broad term. So much so people consider strength a metric of fitness, so to say "I want to get stronger without increasing my fitness" is confusing and blatantly contradictory.
    – user2861
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 0:34
  • 1
    Yeah, what do you mean by without fitness? Do you mean without muscle increase? Commented Aug 10, 2014 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


The specificity of your goal makes it easy to offer a workout plan here. You want a more powerful deadlift, so deadlifting is going to be your path to this goal. There are plenty of 5-15 week programs out there, pick one that seems right for you, work it through completion, then begin another program. Deadlifting every other day for the long term will be the best way to move towards your goal.

That being said, many muscles are involved in a deadlift, and these muscles may not all progress at the same rate. If you find one part of your deadlift is holding you back, you can take some time in between programs to focus on that particular muscle. In the long run, this will help prevent stalls due to a singular muscle.

As for keeping your weight under 200 pounds, you don't list your current weight, so its hard to say what strategy you should follow. If you're close to 200 now, you're going to need to increase your general fitness, as you'll need to add on muscle in this quest for 600. If you're farther away, then it's less of a concern, but you should still focus on eating well, as it will be a serious barrier if you hit 200 pounds when you still have 100+ pounds to go. After you exhaust the quick gains you'll see from beginning a program, you should see slower, but relatively steady gains as you put on weight - once you hit 200 pounds, however, it will become much more of a battle to increase strength without gaining weight.

The Coan-Phillipi routine has worked well for me in the past; for the first time, go with an increase of 10-15%, if you choose to do it again right after you'll need to go with a much more conservative amount. As Steve Gubkin mentioned, it could be good to start off with one of the linear progression routines, and see where you can get from that.

Overall, the most important thing will be to keep deadlifting often. You'll need to change up your routine as you hit stalls, but make sure to keep going even if you're having a tough time hitting your marks. Best of luck, it's admirable to have such a specific goal.

  • I'd be a little careful about deadlifting so often. I was on the Bill Starr 5x5 for a while with great results (which I'd recommend to the question-asker). But in there they cautioned against deadlifting too much because of the physical demands. Once I got around ~400, it really started to be noticeable.
    – Eric
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 14:54

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