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Everyone Likes Free Programs: 10 Week Deadlift Split

April 14, 2009
Franco Columbo crushes a deadlift.

Franco Columbo crushes a deadlift.

For those that are unfamiliar, Ed Coan is one of the greatest powerlifters of all time.  Any thing he says about lifting heavy stuff should be considered gospel.  Kristoffer Lundquist at has posted a calculator that provides a program to improve your deadlift numbers over a 10 week period.

This is a 10-week deadlift program designed by the legendary powerlifter Ed Coan for Mark Phillipi. It goes against the grain of the “To Deadlift More, Don’t Deadlift” school of thought, but Phillipi claims it took his dead from 505lbs to 540lbs with power to spare (no mention of whether drug-free or not). This might be a great program for people who want to deadlift often to practice technique, make a comeback from an injury… or just feel like doing something completely different. The program consists of one workout a week where heavy and speed deadlifts are followed by various low-back intensive assistance exercises. The first 4 weeks focus on conditioning the back by using short rest periods and high volume, with the last 6 weeks ramping up towards a new max attempt. The program also champions power shrugs to improve the lockout.

The original program can be found at A spreadsheet for the program is also available. If you try this program, I would love to hear how it worked (e-mail at bottom of this page).

Click here to pull bigger deadlifts!  Also, you can find some commentary on the program here.  The program is described as a serious ass-kicker.

Now, if you aren’t currently deadlifting and your really would like a place to start, then Diesel Crew has a great Deadlift Technique post that should work really well for you.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. chris a. permalink
    April 15, 2009 1:21 pm

    while i didn’t research this before posting, i’m pretty sure the alternating grip for the dead life has fallen out of vogue. i got some advice from the crossfit site about the deadlift. try to keep the bar in as straight of a plane running up/down as possible. it helps to keep the bar close to the shins. no, closer. i have scabs on them right now, nah mean?

    i appreciate the effort on this site.

    chris a.

    • April 15, 2009 1:30 pm

      You should research that Chris. Everyone who deadlifts heavy without straps, uses a mixed grip on max effort lifts. Check out Andy Bolton world record holder for the deadlift and let me know if you have any other questions.

      Thanks for supporting the site.

      • chris a. permalink
        April 15, 2009 2:29 pm

        i came across this article from a ultimate frisbee page, and i was thinking more about these athletes using the dead lift for injury prevention/ applicable strength in sports vs. competition weight lifters. i should have either clarified or not given advice to people i don’t know. sorry for the misinformation.

      • April 15, 2009 11:51 pm

        I think all of the advice besides the grip is great. It is true that you want to keep the bar very close to you all the way up. I would also say that if you are doing the deadlift to prevent injury and train your posterior chain, you still want to be able to continue to lift heavier & gain strength. I know personally, I did not even come close to challenging my limit strength without moving to the mixed grip. Even then after a month of training, my grip was the first thing to give out when I was testing my one rep max.

        Thanks for supporting the site. You don’t need to be sorry, I just wanted to make my opinion clear from the experience I have had.

  2. Drew permalink
    April 16, 2009 12:54 pm

    I feel like I should weigh in briefly, since the comments started based on a Crossfit article. I’m a regular at Crossfit Boston, and the trainers there agree with Matt and the references he has linked. Use the double overhand grip during warm ups and low weight sets, then switch to the mixed when it starts rolling out of your hands.

    • David permalink
      April 16, 2009 7:18 pm

      Personally I don’t use a mixed grip, but I only deadlift 115kg so grip limitations are not yet an issue. However, I don’t plan on moving to a mixed grip. From what I have read, there are some risked associated with a mixed grip that are not worth it (unless you are a powerlifter), such as straining the biceps, muscle imbalances. However, I could be wrong about these risks.

  3. April 26, 2009 5:31 pm

    I did some PttP-style DLing last summer to improve my sprinting speed (see Barry Ross) but some things I didn’t realize at the time:

    1) Train your DL but maintain your (deep) squat. Gray Cook suggests DL:squat 3:1.

    2) Up to a point, DLs will help you prevent injuries, but you need to drill down into the art/science of corrective practice rather than just pulling heavy to stay injury free. Read Stuart McGill if you want to know more about the lower back and pick up Gray Cook’s “Secrets of the Backside” DVD which I both highly recommend.

    [To be specific, you want to train core strength-endurance, just max-strength core work will make you stronger but not more durable / bulletproof!]

    It’s also a little bit to easy to get carried away with only pulling heavy and giving up your squat mobility, your single-leg stability, and in general hip mobility/flexibility. You shouldn’t be pulling that heavy anyway, as a sports athlete, until you can do a decent 1-legged squat to rock bottom, heels on the ground (aka Pistol), since at that point you’re just “adding strength to dysfunction”.


  4. April 26, 2009 5:35 pm

    If you really wanna be a DL nerd, go read “The Purposeful Primitive” front to back (and/or Pavel’s PttP) and you’ll learn how Ed Coan and the top lifters of his generation actually practiced, trained, and ate.

    I’m surprised the Ulty community hasn’t picked up the Warrior Diet yet (also mentioned in Marty’s PP), but that’s another topic…

  5. April 26, 2009 5:54 pm

    Oh, and if you want something better than just a “program”, it’s worth understanding a “system”, as otherwise you’re just jumping from program to program without any larger guiding principles or direction.

    I love what Rif has to say about programs vs systems:

  6. August 6, 2009 5:35 am

    PS more from Gray Cook on deadlifting:

    I shared this recently with some teammates who probably squat more than they deadlift. Ah well. 🙂

  7. August 6, 2009 5:50 am

    And if Gray Cook’s article isn’t enough for your DL reading needs, check out Z-Health Master Trainer’s new video series on DL form:

    Sweet. I met Mike at the DragonDoor Z-health workshop and he’s a good guy.

  8. January 1, 2010 4:01 pm

    I think it should be noted that Ed Coan’s program is INSANELY hard. If you haven’t tried something like 5×5, you should probably do that first. Refer to logs and other things at sites like and so on to get an idea of how hard this program is.

  9. March 3, 2010 5:21 pm

    Thanks for the workout program information! We are writing and trying to create a comprehensive list of deadlift workout programs.

    Great information!

  10. September 14, 2014 2:46 pm

    I love deadlifts

    Which makes this my favorite article

    Thanks for the piece of masterpiece, my friend!

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