Deadlifting at Home

Franco Columbu Deadlifting OutdoorsThe Deadlift. Exercise that involves pretty much all the muscles in your body into action while none of them go through full range of motion. One of the most productive exercises on earth while one of the hardest. One of the simplest exercises in setup. Benefits of the deadlift are endless. Besides, it’s one of my favorite exercises (:

You will always notice a good deadlifter in the crowd. Good deadlifter is a lucky possessor of massive traps, shoulders, lats, forearms and legs. And these are just visible bonuses. Good deadlifter (not stupid deadlifter) is a possessor of strong and healthy posterior chain. And posterior chain is one of the main muscles in your body if your goal is strength and performance. Strongmen use to say: “If you want strength then train your back”. Forget about curls and crunches. Leave them for sissies. Build your back and get big and strong!

Wondering how? Read on.

Arnold Schwarzenegger DeadliftingArnold made a record in deadlift back in his days

It’s magic how so simple exercise is so TREMENDOUSLY effective. You load barbell on the floor. Grab it. And stand up with it. Simple, right? It may sound so but it takes up to decades for lifters to find out what their most powerful leverage points in this exercise.

Low Reps or High Reps

Also deadlift for low reps is known as a natural testosterone booster. Try heavy deadlift with 3×3 protocol and feel the primal rage buried deep inside you. You will literally feel like an animal in the lockout.

On the other hand, deadlifting for high reps is a proven by time brutal mass gaining protocol. It was popularized by Peary Rader simultaneously with his famous 20 rep squat routine. “What’s the difference?” you may ask. 20 rep deadlifting routine is not even close to 20 rep squat routine in brutality and nausea. In 20 rep deadlift routine Peary recommended to focus strictly on deadlift for the first couple of weeks. Literally you load the barbell, deadlift it 20 times, perform 20 light pullovers (to stretch the ribcage), go home and grow. You will be smoked after those 20 reps. In fact it is so brutal and hard that you may unintentionally include one more step between “deadlifting” and “going home” in form of returning your breakfast/lunch/snack and lying on the floor in a puddle of you own sweat and vomiting for some time. If you don’t have squat stands and always wanted to try a 20 rep routine this may be the way to go. But don’t add any other exercises for at least one month. The rules are the same. Load the barbell for your 10 rep max and do 20 reps. Then immediately perform a set of 20 light pullovers. Then go home, eat, sleep and grow. Workout 2-3 times a week. Once you can do all the 20 reps with a weight add 5-10 lbs. This program has been proven by time. Try it and if you can handle it then it could be your ticket to gainsville (:

Don’t forget to post your results on this program in comments or to

But What If I Don’t Have a Barbell?

And I couldn’t afford one? You can deadlift a car like Franco on the photo in the beginning of the post. Don’t have a car? No big deal. I can make you deadlift with as little equipment as possible. I’m here to tell you how you can substitute barbell deadlift with sandbag deadlift.

At first let me warn you. This method is pain in the ass. The setup is very long. You won’t be able to unload the weight if you need because it will take a lot of time.


With this method you will be able to deadlift at home great numbers.

Rough Strength Solution for Deadlifting at Home: Double Sandbag Deadlift

So you will need two adjustable sandbags (you can learn how to make them from this post), two strong chains (at least 5 meters in length), two carbines, two towels and some books or bricks.

1) Load sandbags and lace them.

2) Tie each sandbag with a chain like on the photo below.

Chained SandbagBegin from the sides and into up and down directions. Then put a sandbag down and close chain with a carbine.Sandbag Chained with CarbineThe main point here is to put carbine with a hook UP. You will need to put some force to close right links with carbine. Just make sure that when you take the sandbag off the ground it is tight and close to chain.

3) Wrap towels around chains to protect your hands and calves.Sandbag Chained Carbined and ToweledIt should look something like this.

4) Make a pedestal with books or bricks (or anything that will be appropriate).Deadlift PedestalPick any books you have and duct tape them. I personally use thrillers (: If you want to save those books you can put them in trash bag and then duct tape.

In the end your construction should look something like this:Alex Zinchenko Deadlift PlatformAlex Zinchenko Deadlift Platform You can put anything inside the bags: sand, cement, plates, kettlebells etc.

So how it all looks in action? Watch the video below:

The weight here is 175 kg. As you see this variation of deadlift is very challenging.

But What If I Travel a Lot and Can’t Take So Much Weight with Me?

There is a solution. I picked it up from Steve Maxwell through Diesel Strength & Conditioning. It consists of a handle, flat iron and a resistance band. Watch the video below. Awesome and simple. For its purpose of course.

That’s it. No more excuses. Now you have everything to start reaping the benefits of deadlifting. Don’t waste your time.

Stay tuned for more rough training.

Play Rough!

Alex Zinchenko

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26 thoughts on “Deadlifting at Home

  1. Carmena

    I’d always want to be update on new blog posts on this site, saved to my bookmarks!

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  6. Xypus

    I was trying to do the same but the chains were always slipping off the bags and ruining the whole workout… But then I found the solution – the big, blue bags from IKEA. They are super cheap, they can hold 60kgs each for sure (tried it today) and make the deadlift super easy – you just put the weight inside and lift. Easier even than barbell :) For bigger weights I plan to use double bags one inside the other, I think I could get as far as 200kgs with them and it’s still a long way to go :)

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  9. Ironthumb

    “If you don’t leave a comment, hair will grow on your palms ”
    -Hey I love that line!

    BTW cars are great and what’s great about cars is that if you don’t have one, you would always find one one the streets no biggie..

      1. Ironthumb

        But there was a time when I was starting to lift a neighbor’s car, the part of the bumper suddenly broke off,
        LOL I was scared thankfully no one saw a thing!!

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  11. Daniel Owens

    hi alex are there any good routines you would recommend for the sandbag deadlift. Since its fixed weight it would be harder to progress right? What l mean is that u wont be able To ajust the weight between sets easily. So traditional cyclinq where one works up to a heavy single would be too awkward. Also you live in a flat ,where do you store the
    sand you need?

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author


      It is harder to progress, but it is possible. If you don’t work up to your 1-repetition maximum, you will be fine.

      I don’t practice this move at the moment and I live in another city. However, at the moment of writing this article, I stored the sand at the closet in my apartment.

      – Alex

      1. Daniel Owens

        Thanks for your reply. What set and rep scheme would you recommend? 5×5 with a fixed weight? or 5,3,2,1? adding weight each workout? Sumthin else? Cheers from Dan

  12. Zach

    Hi Alex.

    Read your article on deadlifts. I have been lifting off and on since 1988 when I was 16. When I was 19 I repped 500 for sets of 5 and 565×2 at bodyweight 250. I am now much older and lift at home primarily because gym fees are too expensive in Calgary and I dont want people commenting like they did when I was younger. Deadlifts arent pretty and people in general at most gyms always have some opinion.

    Low reps: Agreed, they are fun. However I was stupid around 1998 when I hyperextended my right knee on a leg press. So while the difference in extension between both left and right legs are minimal, the right leg wants to extend easier during the upward pull with weight. As of right now at a bodyweight around 205 I rep 395 for sets of 5 to 6, this is after squats going up to 275.

    Specific comments on the valuable ability of high rep deadlifts to train the hamstrings: So I typically run to the car after work(about half mile), then drive home. Take the creatine stuff with water when I get home. Warm up on squats with 135(knees are normally sore after jerk pressing 205 lbs over head on monday)for 10, then 225 for 6 reps, then 275×4, 295×4. Try to get as low as possible. Then I go straight to the 395 for deadlifts. Do 3 sets of that. Then work on the snatch lift, starting with just the bar, using 65 lbs for technique(Im a beginner-only been working on snatches say 4-5 months) then use the 65 lbs to do snatch squats, as low as possible, 2 sets, 8 reps.

    So after all this today I was wondering how to train the hamstrings and it occurred to me to lighten the weight. So after a brief break of practicing electric guitar for 15 minutes, I loaded up the bar again. 395 lbs. I managed 15 reps with good technique and no belt. After each rep I lower the bar gently(dont want to smash the concrete under the rubber pads and berber carpet in the basement) and focus on correctly pulling it back up. This high rep deadlifts are highly advisable to do for those with joint injuries which may limit the lower rep ranges. Additionally this pulling helps balance out all the quadricep work from the squats and snatches. The high rep routine also forces the trainee to focus and the reward is feeling of a job well done.


  13. Aaron

    Nice, I might have to make a pair of these.
    Currently I’ve just got 6 very large logs which I just pick up and carry across my backyard, but this will be great to get in some more proper, traditional deadlifts. :3

  14. Zach

    I have progressed a little. Cleans this morning with 155x5x5 this morning. This evening back squats 155×12, 225×6, 275×5, 325×3, 355×1, 315×6. Bench 155×12, 225×6, 275x2x2(partials), 235×9, deadlifts 315×20, db curls 60x8x2. No nausea whatsoever, with 100 mg caffeine+green tea/guarana tablet and drinking yerba mate during training, 3 min rest periods.


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