The Russian Deadlift Program is a workout routine for increasing your deadlift strength. Use our Russian deadlift calculator below to generate your program.
- Enter your max (1RM) into the box below.
- Hit enter.
- Your deadlift program is generated!
How Does the Russian Deadlift Program Work?
The Russian deadlift routine is six weeks long, with three weekly deadlift workouts.
You’ll alternate between two types of workouts:
- In one workout, you will do 6 sets x 2 reps x 80% of your 1RM.
- And in every other workout, you will progress in weight or reps.
The 6 sets x 2 reps x 80% will remain like a steady beat throughout the entire program, while the progressive workout will get increasingly more challenging.
For the first three weeks, you will progress in reps:
- Workout 2: 80% x 6 sets x 3 reps
- Workout 4: 80% x 6 sets x 4 reps
- Workout 6: 80% x 6 sets x 5 reps
- Workout 8: 80% x 6 sets x 6 reps
And for the last three weeks, you will progress in weight:
- Workout 10: 85% x 5 sets x 5 reps
- Workout 12: 90% x 4 sets x 4 reps
- Workout 14: 95% x 3 sets x 3 reps
- Workout 16: 100% x 2 sets x 2 reps
- Workout 18 (Final): 105% x 1 set x 1 rep
As you can see, the number of sets and reps decreases in the final weeks as the weights get heavier. This taper in combination with training at lifting heavier weights will increase your deadlift strength.
Who Is the Russian Deadlift Program For?
I’d say that this training program is primarily suited for the intermediate lifter.
- The beginner will surely get stronger from it, but would maybe have been able to progress faster with a simpler program. Like our beginner deadlift program, where you deadlift twice weekly and increase the weight by 2.5 kg or 5 lb when you can do 3 sets x 5 reps.
- The advanced lifter must be careful as the Russian deadlift program progresses fast. You might still benefit from it, however, if you’re careful about weight selection. Enter a one-rep max into the calculator that, in six weeks, will put you just slightly ahead of your current strength levels.
Be reasonable when you enter your current 1RM. Look through the weeks; the workouts should be challenging but plausible. If you are not used to deadlifting three times per week, you should enter a very conservative weight, or the risk of overuse injury is high.
Training Days & Rest Days
Spread the three workouts out over the week so that you get at least one full rest day in between training sessions.
You could, for example, train on:
What about Your Other Training?
The Russian deadlift program should be your main priority when you’re following the program. You won’t have many physical or psychological reserves left for hard training in other areas, and you should plan accordingly.
Keep training your other lifts and your whole body, but focus your main attention on successfully getting through this program and put your other lifts on the back burner.
What about Assistance Work?
The Russian deadlift program contains 18 fairly hard deadlift sets per week, and your main priority should be to do those successfully.
Because your back and hips are already taxed hard from the deadlifting, you should be careful about doing too much extra leg training. Doing an isolation exercise for your quads, like the leg extension, might be enough throughout this program. Adding heavy squats while you’re deadlifting heavy weights three times per week is probably not a good idea.
The muscle groups least taxed by this program is your pressing muscles, and as as such, you can probably add a bit of bench pressing or overhead pressing without too much trouble. In fact, some people follow the Russian bench program and the Russian deadlift program at the same time.
Whatever you decide: remember that the deadlift should be your main focus. Don’t try to do too many things simultaneously, as that will distract you and lead to inferior results.
Can You Do the Russian Deadlift Program for the Squat?
In general, I’d say that this training program is better suited to the squat and bench press than it is for the deadlift. That said, you can still make it work for the deadlift if you are conservative with the weights.
Can You Do the Russian Deadlift Program for the Bench Press?
I believe the Russian bench press program can work fine, and I know of several people who have done it for the bench press with fine results.
Can You Really Do the Russian Squat Routine for the Deadlift?
Yes, you can. I know, because I’ve done it myself.
One time, it went great, and I hit a new deadlift PR (something like 10 kg, I think). The other time, I entered too high a 1RM, and had to quit due to overuse injury in week 3.
In my experience, the deadlift requires different programming than the squat or bench press.
Generally, it seems like you need to go easier with the weights and perhaps the total training volume as well.
If you want to do the Russian deadlift program, make sure to enter a very conservative 1RM. It should probably be well below what you can currently lift. The program will still make you stronger just by the sheer training volume of it.
Follow the Russian Deadlift Program on Your Phone – for Free
The Russian deadlift routine is one of many free programs in our app StrengthLog.
To follow the Russian deadlift routine in our app, follow these steps:
- Download StrengthLog using the buttons below.
- Find the program in the program library.
- Enter your 1RM and start training.
The app will calculate your weights for every workout, plus track and provide statistics on your training.
Download StrengthLog for free:
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Or, view all our training programs here.