Most people who lift weights never deadlift—and if they do, they rarely put in the time to become strong deadlifters.

But if they do, a funny thing happens: They add muscle to places they’ve never seen develop before, such as their glutes, hamstrings, and traps. Their lower back gets stronger, too, reducing the risk of injury when they bend over to pick something up. They may also find they can run faster, hit golf balls farther, or even dunk a basketball for the first time.

For these reasons, the deadlift is not only a cornerstone of CrossFit training but also possibly the best barbell exercise of all time—so it’s high time you mastered it. This program aims to build your deadlift—and, consequently, nearly every muscle in your body, in just four weeks.

How it works

To get better at anything, you need to practice it often. But because the deadlift works the body so hard, it isn’t usually done more than once per week. This program, however, cycles the intensity, allowing you to train the deadlift in different rep ranges three days a week without wearing out your lower back or compromising your recovery. As your technique improves, so will your gains—and in four weeks, you won’t look like “most people” anymore. You’ll look like a deadlifter.


Perform each workout (Day I, II, and III) once per week, resting at least a day between sessions. Exercises marked A and B are alternated, so you’ll do one set of A, rest, then B, rest again, and repeat until all sets are complete for the pair.