Hello Gentlemen,

Need an absolutely brutal workout to burn off the turkey tomorrow?  Then look no further than the 30 minute deadlift challenge proposed by Dan John over at T-Nation.  This little doozy of a workout is simple (only one exercise), quick (takes 30 minutes), and will completely wipe out all glycogen reserves you have in your system.

This strength training routine will test your grit and determination.  If you’re looking to build muscle fast and greatly improve your overall fitness, seriously consider adding this workout routine into your weekly regimen.

The 30 Minute Deadlift Challenge

To do this challenge, you will need a few items:

  • Bar and plates
  • Stopwatch
  • Towel (to wipe your hands off)
  • Puke bucket (joking….kind of)

The actual process is pretty simple.  Load up the bar with 315 pounds and complete 60 deadlifts within 30 minutes.  Dan John specifies two methods of completing this task:

  1. 2 reps every 60 seconds
  2. 1 rep every 30 seconds

I have no experience with the first option.  The few times I’ve done this routine I’ve always employed the second option of doing one deadlift every 30 seconds.

Tweaks to the 30 Minute Deadlift Challenge

I know what some of you are thinking; 315 pounds on the bar?!?  Are you mad???  If that is beyond your capability for the moment (it is for me), drop the weight down to a manageable level.  You can always add weight next time.

My first time doing the 30 Minute Deadlift Challenge, I only had 90 pounds on the bar.  The next time, I added 5 more pounds.  While you can view this as a challenge, and rightly so, you can also view this as a full-fledged strength training workout that will pack on tons of muscle.  That’s the way I view it and how I thusly treat it.

My Experience With the 30 Minute Deadlift Challenge

I originally heard of this deadlifts routine from Ivan Throne on Twitter.  Intrigued, I looked it up online and made the decision to do it that night…just, not at the prescribed weight.

Excited about this new challenge, I told one of my friends (my collaborator on the 3 Month Experiment) and wouldn’t you know it, he had done it before too! I asked him about how he fared and he informed me that, should I decide to follow through on this deadlifts challenge, I will begin hating life around the 13 minute mark.

Starting off, I felt great.  The lifts were easy and I was feeling pretty energized blasting out a deadlifts every 30 seconds.  As predicted, however, at about the 11 minute mark (22 deadlifts in), the continuous strain began to wear on me.

At 20 minutes, I was beginning to question my sanity.  I was dripping with sweat, my legs were on the verge of cramping, and the weight was feeling significantly heavier.  Despite my body’s protests, I plunged forward.

The last 5 minutes were tortuous.  The seconds seemed to fly by, allowing me insufficient time to recover between lifts.  The time it took me to lift the weight each rep increased.  I was spent, yet I carried on.

As the weight hit the ground for the last time, I plopped onto the nearby bench, huffing and heaving.  I had finished.  This was one workout I’d be definitely feeling the next day.


The 30 Minute Deadlift Challenge is a half hour of brutal hell.  No matter your fitness level or prior strength training experience, you will have difficulty doing this workout.  Hats off to the individuals who can do the full challenge with the prescribed 315 pounds on the bar.

Test your mettle, build some muscle, and burn off that turkey, boys!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Best Regards,

Gentleman Jak