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The Ultimate Deadlift for Hypertrophy Guide For The Best Results

 Written by 

Jordyn Snyder

 Last updated on 

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People throw around the word “hypertrophy,” but what does it really mean? Do you need to deadlift for hypertrophy? How will it help you accomplish your fitness goals? In this article, we go over everything your need to know about hypertrophy all in one place, so let’s not waste any more time. 

So, First Off, What Is Hypertrophy?

Hypertrophy is the increase and growth of muscle cells. Hypertrophy itself refers to an increase in muscular size achieved through working out. If gaining a larger appearance is something you want then lifting weights is typically the most common way to increase hypertrophy.

A strong man doing deadlift for hypertrophy
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Should You Deadlift If Hypertrophy Is the Goal?

We all know the deadlift is an overall great exercise, but if your main goal is hypertrophy, is it worth it?

If you are focused on a single muscle group for hypertrophy, like the delts, then maybe the deadlift is not ideal. However, if you’re searching for an overall back, hamstring, and glute exercise, then nothing is going to build muscle more. The amount of tension that deadlifts create in the posterior chain (which includes the entire back) is unmatched compared to other exercises like a barbell row or a pull-up.

So, then back to the question. Are deadlifts good for hypertrophy? The answer is a clear yes and perhaps the best exercise to hit all of your posterior chain. Now, conventional deadlifts are going to be the best option, but deficit deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, and Romanian deadlifts are all deadlift variations that can make a significant impact on your hypertrophy goals.

A man at the gym doing deadlift for hypertrophy
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Why Deadlift for Hypertrophy?

Now that we know deadlifting is one of the best exercises for hypertrophy, another question comes to mind. Why do we care so much about hypertrophy? What are the pros and cons of hypertrophy? And how will it help you?

Let’s dive in deeper.

The Pros:

  • It replaces body fat with lean muscle mass
  • It helps you manage your weight
  • It increases bone density 
  • It can reduce the symptoms of chronic conditions, such as back pain, obesity, arthritis, heart disease, and depression
  • It increases muscle size
  • Helps with muscle definition
  • Builds muscle endurance
  • Improves muscle strength
  • Increases metabolism 

The Cons:

There are many positives to deadlift for hypertrophy, but there’s always another side to every coin and in this case, the grass is really greener in this yard. The only cons of hypertrophy training are that it might not be as effective for people who are looking to increase muscle power. This is an exercise for increasing muscle size, not on the maximum amount of weight that can be lifted for a single repetition.

The Best Rep Number For Hypertrophy When Deadlifting:

If you’re looking for the best results, then you’ll need fewer reps than those looking to achieve endurance. The ideal rep range for increasing muscle size is about 6 to 12 reps over 3 to 6 sets with a rest period of about one minute. The sweet spot for people tends to be 8 reps over 4 sets, but give it a try and experiment with what feels best to you.

If you notice you’re failing at 3, try a lighter weight and lift until you at least hit 6 per rep. And the same thing goes for the opposite, if you can hit 12 reps easily then go at a heavier weight.

A muscular guy about to do deadlift for hypertrophy
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The Best Deadlift Variations For Hypertrophy:

While the conventional deadlift is best, some better alternatives to deadlifts include dumbbell deadlifts, deficit deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, snatch grip deadlifts, and sumo deadlifts to increase muscle size.

How Often Should I Deadlift For Hypertrophy? 

If you’re training deadlift for hypertrophy, we recommend dedicating at least 1 to 3 days per week to lifting. You can increase over 3 days and deadlift more frequently, but only if you’ve hit a plateau in deadlift strength or want a more technical practice, but you should obviously manage the difficulty and volume of those workouts to avoid the risk of injury.

For the best results, we recommend a progressive overload, which means continuing to challenge your muscles by adding weight or reps each week for a 2-6 month phase.

What Actually Causes Hypertrophy?

Typically, muscle hypertrophy occurs as a result of strength training, hence the reason why many people associate it with weight lifting.

In a very technical explanation, hypertrophy is an increase in the size of muscle cells. When the muscle tissue is placed under stress, myogenic stem cell activation occurs. This leads to the repair of damaged muscle tissue and an increase in muscle cell size.

During exercise (when you’re putting stress on the body), your muscle cells use energy from oxygen and glucose to power a contraction. This leads to an increase in blood flow to the contracting muscle and allows temporary cell swelling to occur. This specific swelling of muscle cells causes a release of anabolic hormones (like growth hormone) that lead to myogenic stem cell activation.

The deal with growth hormones is when you perform strength training exercises, the hormone is released. This hormone is active during the muscle cell repair process and helps increase muscle strength. The growth hormone also decreases the effect of myostatin, which is a growth-inhibiting hormone within the muscle cells. The collapse of myostatin allows muscle cell enlargement to occur. This is hypertrophy.

An athlete performing deadlift for hypertrophy
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What Is The Difference Between Strength Training And Hypertrophy?

If you’re interested in learning the difference between hypertrophy vs. strength training and which one you want to bring into your training, know that hypertrophy refers to increasing the size of the muscle, which is done by increasing the overall volume of your workout. And strength training is when you increase the ability of a muscle to produce force, which is done through lifting heavier weights

Now, if you’re trying to improve your overall strength, then you should focus on strength training in a strength phase for up to 12 months. Though if you’re trying to build muscle mass, then you should focus on hypertrophy training in a phase of 2-6 months. Both are great options, but picking one or the other depends on your goals and how you want to train.To accomplish strength training, you will want to increase your reps and lower your rest times. You should also focus on lifting heavier weights and challenging your muscles with new exercises often to challenge your muscles so they can grow stronger.

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