Because of time problems due to school, I only go to the gym once a week. On that day I do heavy deadlifts to get stronger (one of my goals), triceps, and calves.

I'm small, and am wondering if this training method will help me gain some size in my arms and calves.

  • Deadlifts are great, but whey aren't you doing other big compound lifts which maximize the amount of muscles targeted? Squats, standing overhead press, barbell rows, weighted pullups, etc.
    – Eric
    Apr 15, 2015 at 20:46
  • 1
    @EricKaufman makes a valid point about multi-joint/compound exercises. You can of course tarbet your triceps, but why wouldn't you include chest and shoulder in addition by doing Bench Presses? If you really want to keep training once a week, though, I suggest you read up on HIT (High Intensity Training, not HIIT), PITT and the likes. Those are optimized for low frequency by providing more intensity.
    – user8119
    Apr 16, 2015 at 12:33

4 Answers 4


Yes, deadlifting once a week is better than not deadlifting once a week.

It won't, however, work very well at making your arms or legs bigger. Maybe look into making a makeshift dip station at home for some quick tricep workouts that don't interfere with studying.


This is what the American College of Sports Medicine published as their Position Stand on workout programs designed for Hypertrophy (mass):

Evidence from well-designed Randomized Control Trials that provide a consistent pattern of findings in the population for which the recommendation is made.


It is recommended that single- and multiple-joint free-weight and machine exercises be included in an Resistance Training program in novice, intermediate, and advanced individuals.

Dead lift is probably the most multi-jointed exercise. As such you cannot target any specific muscle group. The deadlift is considered an exercise for the back muscle group.

To target triceps:

  • Extensions
  • Kickbacks
  • Pushdowns


Calf Muscles would be Medial and Lateral Gastrocnemius muscles. The exercises that target the Calf are:

  • Standing Calf Raises
  • Leg Curls

Leg Curls also work the Biceps Femoris. Standing Calf Raises would be the best choice.

Gastrocnemius muscles

Biceps Femoris


Exercising only once a week is always going to be hard to make any change to your body. Especially quickly! It is common for routines to expect 3-4 or more sessions a week.

If I could only go for a single session a week I would probably keep to a split and do one week

Squats Overhead Press Deadlifts

Then the next week Squats Bench Dumbbell bent over row.

This is what I do (as a basic core to my strength routine) but I go three times a week.


Deadlifts on their own would not add muscle even though they are often attributed to it.

In order for you to pack on muscle, you would have to eat more to sustain enough energy to warrant muscle group.

If you deadlift and your nutrition is off point and your not eating enough, you won't build muscle.

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