Lift Vault Forum

Running squat and deadlift specific programs

Hi all,

Something I’ve never really understood is running programs for just one lift. This doesn’t really include bench, because (at least to my best knowledge) the fatigue doesn’t really affect the other lifts much.

Regarding squat and deadlift specific programs that only program that one lift. For the duration of this program are you only meant to do this lift? Say if you’re running a solely deadlift program, what happens to squats? Surely, you don’t program them yourself as the fatigue of the squat program will influence that of the deadlifts. But if you don’t train squats for 14 weeks, I would expect the strength loss to be equal to (or even more than) the strength gain in deadlifts.

My deadlift’s always been a bit of a weak spot for me. So I had looked into deadlift specific programs, but haven’t run one because I don’t want to compromise my squat. Normally what I’d do is take more than one program and combine the best bits (say Candito’s 6 Week + Advanced Bench). But I suspect taking a squat specific, bench specific, and deadlift specific program and combining them would be the death of me, at the very least it’s looking fate in the face and saying ‘give me an injury’.

Anyway, interested to hear some takes on this. Tips on fatigue management, focusing on one lift (squat or deadlift) without sacrificing the other. Or generally, why do people run lift specific programs?


Hey Elliot,

Welcome to the forums!

To answer your question bluntly: lift-specific programs are usually run in addition to other programs for the other lifts. So if you’re running a deadlift program, you’ll still train squat and bench in most cases.

It is common for these programs to be combined, so you’re run program A for bench press, program B for squats, and program C for deadlifts.

However, it is also common for lifts that use similar muscle groups, like the squat and deadlift, to be programmed “with knowledge” of how the other lift is being trained. So if you’re peaking your deadlift and doing a lot of training volume on that lift, then it is not uncommon for the squat to be trained “at maintenance” to give sufficient recovery for the deadlift.

You’re right that it can be challenging to peak all three lifts at once, but that is generally what is done for meet preparation. If you’re not prepping for a meet, but you still want to peak your lifts, it might be better to peak them separately for the reasons you stated.

Personally, I’ve run Candito 6 week for squats, Greg Nuckols 3x Int Med for bench, and Russian squat program for deadlifts successfully. I’ve also used the nSuns 4 day bench protocol, but added in the AMRAP day from the aforementioned Nuckols 3x Int Med bench.

I have to run - hope that helps, but if you have other questions let me know!


Hi Kyle,

You really gave me a lot to think about there. I didn’t realise that these programs could be run together - in retrospect maybe it was obvious, hindsight 20/20.

Maybe it’s a separate topic, but aren’t all programs (other than ‘off-season’ programs) a peaking program? Is it not just fundamentals of periodisation - high volume low intensity, through time moves into low volume high intensity (i.e. peaking)? Maybe you could help me get my head around this, I guess I have been peaking all three lifts simultaneously through the Candito 6 week. If I were to use a combination of individual lift programs I could cherry-pick to find ones that allow me to peak squats and deads at separate times (such that when squat volume is high and intensity is low, deadlift volume is low and intensity is high)? And this may be more optimal?

I guess it makes sense. Just manage the volume and intensity of each lift (especially squats and deads in accordance with each other) and you could have quite an effective routine - I guess this is just undulating periodisation. But it seems to me like it might need some serious thought and planning. I would probably want to graph the volume and intensity of each lift so i could see the trends, but this seems like it might be overkill.

Again, thanks,