• Casey Zander

How I deadlifted 500 POUNDS...

Let me start off by saying, I have over five years of lifting experience currently under my belt. This is not five years of off and on random or sporadic training. This is five years of training broken down week by week of constant consistency 52 weeks per year. I have always been highly dedicated.

For starters, I am 5'10" and roughly 170 pounds. This is a very average build/size for a 22 year old male like myself. With the consistency that I have deployed year after year, I have made my relative strength to bodyweight ratio fairly high for a natural lifter.


The deadlift has always been a strong suit for me. It is by far my strongest/most impressive lift for my size. The deadlift is a heavy compound movement that involves multiple muscle groups such as the hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors, and core. This is also a powerlifting movement that is performed in every powerlifting contest along with the squat and flat bench press. The deadlift is a movement that has always been in my favor due to the way I am built. I have longer arms and torso compared to my legs in terms of height. The makes the deadlift biomechanics in my favor.

Typically, I am very much against one rep maxes in the gym. I feel that they do little to nothing to develop muscle mass, run a high risk for injury, and take away too much valuable central nervous system energy that could be used for other training sets. HOWEVER, pulling 500 is a bit of an ego lift for myself. It has been my goal for around 11 months.

Below is my video link on why I do not one rep max.


I have been chasing 500 pounds for so long, at least it feels that way. I have attempted the pull once in 2018 as you see in the video above and I failed. I took 11 months and I went back to the drawing board and bucked down. I gained strength week by week for almost a year in all the key lower body movements such as the squat, RDL, and deadlift.

People really underestimate just how long it actually takes to add strength to your lifts when you already have made lots of gains from training. The longer you are in it, the slower the progression is.

My typical working sets and reps for deadlifts each week was 5 sets of 5 reps. Last year, I was pulling between 415-425 pounds for 5 sets of 5 reps and only recently have I advanced to 435 pounds for all working sets. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to lifting, and retaining muscle mass while staying lean.


That additional 5-10 pounds per side of the bar over time gave me enough confidence to go into this one rep max with a strong mind. These are the ten tips that I feel are important when trying to progress on the deadlift.

1. Patience. This is a move that takes years to perfect.

2. Consistency. If you are not consistent you will not progress.

4. Dedication. Not motivation. There is a big difference.

5. Numbers don't lie. Track your lifts. This is crucial to improve.

6. Low rep ranges build the best strength. Train in sets of 3-5 repetitions, with a goal total of 15-25 working reps per workout.

7. Squats are crucial. You need to progress your squat strength over time as well. This is a key factor in increasing deadlift strength over time.

8. Fuel. You need to make sure nutrition is on point each day to fuel your body. Males need 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Women need .7-.8 grams per pound of bodyweight per day.

9. Only increase working weight by 5 pounds total (at most) on deadlift each week.

10. Mentally get dialed in. Everything needs to be properly set when you are maxing. form, rep tempo, and breathing all needs to be in sync.


To watch my full day of prep and my 500 pound pull, check out the link below!

Finally reaching 500 pounds on deadlift was rewarding to say the least. It was a weight that was very intimidating for me, so I'm glad to have got the monkey off the back!

Before attempting a heavy one rep max, I think a person needs to have years of experience. The ground work needs to be laid and the form needs to feel fluid and easy. The biomechanics need to be ingrained in the central nervous system so the body has a response and knows what muscles to fire when the time is ready. Do not EVER attempt a weight that you do not have 100 percent confidence in completing.


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