Fitness benchmark: Your deadlift one-rep max
Test yourself: “Nothing separates the men from the boys in the weight room like a good deadlift,” says Brian Durbin, CSCS, personal trainer at Winning Health Sports Medicine in South Carolina and founder of 212° Fitness. That said, if you’re new to heavy lifting, and especially to the deadlift, save this test until you’re not: Maxing out is serious business and could cause injury if your form isn’t perfect and your strength isn’t there yet—something Durbin says can take six months or more of consistent training. He also notes that there’s no published standard for a “good” one-rep max, but suggests that deadlifting two or more times your bodyweight is excellent, one-and-a-half times is good, one-and-a-quarter times is average.
To improve: You’ll have to do deadlifts, of course, but also target the glutes, hamstrings, and core. Try adding this once-per-week workout to your routine, with loads being enough that you could eke out just two more reps than required.
* 5 sets of deadlifts; 8/5/5/3/3 reps, respectively
* 5 sets of front squats; 5/5/5/3/3 reps, respectively
* 5 sets of glute/hamstring extensions; holding a heavy DB and pausing for a one count at the top; 10/10/8/8/8 reps, respectively
* Maximal farmer’s walk with 60- to 100-pound dumbbells, then a 60-second plank
* Do a kneeling plank for two minutes with a 50- to 100-pound kettlebell: On a mat, stand tall on your knees, holding that heavy kettlebell behind your back. “The position of the kettlebell forces a perfectly balanced core integration pattern, as long as you keep your glutes engaged,” Durbin says. “Almost everyone is shaking like a leaf by two minutes, provided they have used enough weight.”Back to top