I am a 44 yr old male. I have been lifting weights for 3 ~ 4 yr now. The beginning was difficult, but in the last 2 ~ 3 years I have made progress without injuries.

I hit the gym twice a week and, after much trial and error, I am positive that it is the right frequency for me at this stage of my life, and I am not willing to discuss this point.

I have recently inserted deadlifts once a week in my routine.

I wonder if that is enough or if I should do twice a week (I train twice a week, so it is either once or twice a week).

I am not interested in "optimal" progress, but rather in "any" progress at all, no matter how slow. Deadlift may be a risky exercise and I am happy with the least amount of it that still produces results. If each time I become deconditioned because a week is too much, then it is useless.

Remark: I am currently doing full body twice a week, but with different exercises. Day B has bench press where day A has push ups. Day B has barbell row where day A has inverted row, and so on. The goblet squat is the only exercise that repeats.

  • 3
    This depends tremendously on particulars of your situation, such as your general strength, best deadlift, estimated best deadlift possibly today, and what weight and rep ranges you plan to work in. May 8 '17 at 16:07
  • @DaveLiepmann My situation: To me, 99% advice in internet is useless and seems to be directed to a race of superhumans with Kevlar joints and tendons of steel. General strength: I do 10 pushups on the floor but hardly any more. Best deadlift: I've started with the olympic bar and two 45 lb disks (=134 lb) for 6 reps and it feels I could do perhaps 2 or 3 additional reps. Rep ranges I plan to work in: always above 6 reps and below 10. In the upper body exercises I usually stay in the range 6 to 12.
    – Mephisto
    May 10 '17 at 19:07
  • @DaveLiepmann (Continues) The formula that has worked for me is avoiding failure, being happy with a suboptimal load and range, and once every two weeks or so trying a small volume increase and, when it feels everything is OK, trying a new increase a couple of weeks later. Also, randomly inserting weeks off has proved to be benefitial, and swimming also has been helping progress (don't ask me why) since I introduced it because I was craving exercise but I was getting injuries if I did resistance more often than twice a week. So now is 4 days a week exercising: 2 gym and 2 pool days.
    – Mephisto
    May 10 '17 at 19:13
  • IF you are getting injured doing deadlifts then your form is breaking down, maybe post a form-check video in your question to help?
    – John
    May 11 '17 at 10:12
  • 1
    I'd follow a solid program, and make sure it includes deadlifts. But generally speaking if you're deadlifting heavy then you'll be doing a lot of damage. The programs I'm familiar with (madcow, texas method, bill starr, etc) call for deadlifting once a week.
    – Eric
    May 16 '17 at 23:25

Once a week, provided you are going heavy enough and build up to a heavy set of 1-5 gradually.

I would recommend the following progression for you:

Starting at a working weight 40kg for 5 reps, increase by 5kg each week once you have completed all sets successfully in the previous week. Complete at least 3 warm-up sets at below your current working set weight. Once you cannot do 5 reps at that weight then reduce to 3 reps, reduce weight by 20% and repeat progress. Once 3 rep max has been established, deload by 20% of that weight and go for a 1 rep maximum.

If at any point you reach 100kg then subsequent increases should only be by 2.5kg per week.

Here is an example log of a first run of this program might go ('Weight[kg] x Sets x Reps' notation is for the working-set only, remember to warm up as well). Remember, you could do this program 2 times or even 3 times a week if your nutrition support it.

Week # | Weight(kg) x Sets x Reps 
Week 1: 40x1x5
Week 11: 90x1x5
Week 12: 95x1x5 fail, try again next week
Week 14: 95x1x5 fail, deload 20% to 1x3
Week 15: 75x1x3
Week 16: 80x1x3
Week 17: 85x1x3
Week 20: 100x1x3 lower weight increase to 2.5 per week
Week 21: 102.5x1x3
Week 22: 105x1x3
Week 25: 112.5x1x3
Week 26: 115x1x3 fail, try again next week
Week 27: 115x1x3 success
Week 28: 117.5x1x3 fail, try again next week
Week 29: 117.5x1x3 fail, deload 20% to 1x3
Week 30: 95x1x1
Week 31: 100x1x1 lower weight increase to 2.5 per week
Week 32: 102.5x1x1
Week 43: 130x1x1
Week 44: 132.5x1x1 fail, try again next week
Week 44: 132.5x1x1 fail
Finishing Data:
5RM 90kg
3RM 115kg
1RM 130kg

After completing all of this you can choose a new program or repeat the same one but start at 40% of your 1RM instead of 40kg.

  • Oops. I have started with 2 sets of 6 reps with 60 kg (90 lb + the olympic bar). Already for 3 training sessions. Is that too much and I should deload? - I am not an experienced athlete, just a guy that started weak at 41
    – Mephisto
    May 8 '17 at 8:32
  • Before starting a program there is not too much harm in de-loading if you think you are at your current maximum. Going back to 40kg would only put you 8 weeks behind your current total or 4 weeks if you jump to 5kg per week. I'll edit my answer with a recommended program to follow.
    – John
    May 8 '17 at 11:19

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