A big question in the muscle building world is whether deadlifts should be done on leg day or back day, but … why choose?

If you’ve been deadlifting only once a week and have not been making much progress, you may want to consider doing this exercise twice a week.

As for deadlifting only once a week, there are people who get great results when they are done only on leg day, and others when it’s done only on back day.

And many athletes swear that deadlifts, due to the bigness of this movement, should be done twice a week: back AND leg day.

You’re going to have to experiment. The correct answer to the question is not drilled into steel.

But one thing is for sure, whether you perform deadlifts on only leg day, only back day — or BOTH days:

It should be either your first exercise or second if your first is the back squat.

The Deadlift Is a Giant

This compound giant really take it out of you, and you want to be as fresh and as charged up as possible before starting your deadlift routine.


Some people also find that doing some pull-ups or chin-ups before the deads can help, but that’s up to you.

As long as you don’t deadlift AFTER you’ve pre-fatigued your back and arms with working sets of rows and pull-downs.

And on leg day, you don’t want to hammer your body with multiple leg routines prior to doing deadlifts.

As mentioned, on leg day it’s fine if your first exercise is the barbell squat–moving right into the deadlift as the second exercise.


Waiting towards the middle of your session to deadlift will also be psychologically dismantling.

Just get them out of the way very early on in the workout whether it’s a leg day or a back day.

I recommend twice a week for the deadlifts, even though again, find out what works best for you.

But the thing is, if you perform deadlifts twice a week, and at some point you must miss one of these workouts, at least you will have the other one for that same week going for you.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


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