The deadlift is one of the most difficult exercises in weight lifting, not only because it’s incredibly physically demanding but because it demands a very specific technique in order to prevent potential injuries.
There is a lot of debate around what type of deadlifting is most beneficial, as there are a few different forms of this exercise that can have an impact on how much weight you can lift, as well as which muscles it focuses on.
One of the toughest things about working out is understanding what amount of weight you need to be lifting, as well as how to progress and overload your weights and regime to promote optimal muscle growth and strength gains.
There are a lot of factors that can dictate how much you’re able to lift, and how easily you are able to progress in weight lifting, and in this guide, we’re going to look at these factors as well as the general guidelines for what constitutes a good deadlift for certain age groups and categories, as well as the different types of the deadlift.
But first let’s take a look at the strength standards themselves to give you a better idea of how much you should be able to, or aim to lift depending on factors such as age and fitness/strength levels.
A lot of study goes into fitness and weight lifting, and metrics are readily available to help give people some idea how what they should be lifting, or what they should be aiming to lift in relation to their age, weight, and fitness levels.
These constitute the strength standards you should look to as a guide for your weights, particularly with regards to deadlift as this exercise is very strenuous and difficult, and can be a dangerous one if using the wrong weight of technique.
For an untrained, 198lb male, the expected amount of weight that can be lifted is expected to be 155lbs or 70kg which is pretty respectable, however, 198lbs would be a man on the heavier side even totally untrained.
After a few years of training, the same person should be aiming to deadlift over 300lbs to be considered an intermediate level lifter, while advanced lifters can lift over 400lbs after that amount of time, so it’s clear that strength can be gained fairly quickly and lead to an immense change in your capabilities.
For an average-sized man, a decent amount of deadlift weight is 315lbs, or 1.5x their bodyweight.
- A good amount of weight deadlifted by the same man would be 405lbs or 2x their bodyweight.
- A great amount of weight deadlifted by the same individual would be 495lbs or 2.75x their bodyweight.
For women, a decent deadlift would be 115lbs or 1x bodyweight.
- A good deadlift would be 185lbs or 1.5x bodyweight.
- A great deadlift would be 225lbs or 2x bodyweight.
As you can see, even with very general weights and factors, there is a lot of variance between the weights different people can lift, and these are all affected by factors such as personal fitness, health issues, height, weight, experience level, and age, and this can mean it will take some careful experimentation and discovery to find your best starting point, as well as structure a regime that overloads your muscles correctly and progresses your deadlift at the correct rate to maximize your performance and progress.
As an alternative reference point, candidates for special forces such as the Navy Seals are encouraged to be able to deadlift between 1.5 and 2.5 times their body weight and should be able to do this for multiple reps, which indicates that even for individuals with peak physical fitness and capabilities there is a lot of variances.
For older lifters, the weight you can deadlift may change and will typically decrease due to a host of factors from injury risks to health issues, however, this isn’t always the case and people with an expert level of experience or in particularly good health may be able to increase their strength and deadlift, however, it would still be less than what you could’ve achieved at a younger age, which is why training while young is so beneficial and can have hugely positive effects for your later health and fitness.
For people over 40, the standards will generally drop around 10 to 40 percent depending on a range of factors.
- Over 40, you will expect to drop 10 to 15 percent below the general population standard for weight deadlifted.
- Over 50 you will drop anywhere from 15 to 25 percent below the general standard.
- Over 60 you will drop 25 to 40 percent below the general standard.
Even those with excellent experience and fitness will eventually see their strength start to wane with hormonal changes and the wear and tear of a long life.
This doesn’t mean you have to stop working out however, it just means you need to pivot to accommodate these changes.
For men, the world record for deadlifting is 460.4kg or 1015lbs, a truly insane amount of weight that really puts the general standards into stark perspective.
For women, the world record deadlift is set at 310kg or 683.4kg, again indicating that general standards are much more accessible.
How Much Should You Deadlift?
This is a personal decision, and you don’t have to force yourself to fit into the brackets above, these are simply rough guidelines, and there are many individual factors that should be considered when choosing a weight to deadlift.
Consider your age, gender, weight as well as your level of experience and fitness, as well as your proportions, body type, and composition, and even underlying health conditions.
Deadlifting is incredibly challenging and shouldn’t be attempted without first consulting your doctor, as with any lifestyle change or exercise program that can put your body under intense strain and pressure.
The only real standard you need to worry about is the one you set for yourself, and as long as you take care of your body and make sensible choices you will continue to make progress in your health and fitness journey.
Different Types Of Deadlift
Another factor to briefly consider is the different types of deadlifts you can do.
While the above was in reference to the standard barbell deadlift, there are other versions of the exercise such as the hex bar deadlift, sumo deadlift, snatch grip deadlift, Romanian deadlift, and several others, all of which alter the form considerably and can help you or hinder you in increasing your weight as well as isolating different muscles.
You can utilize these alternative deadlifts to your advantage, building your strength and rounding your weaker areas of your body to improve your main barbell deadlift, so don’t be afraid to work in these alternative styles to become a more versatile and confident lifter overall.