Brad Gillingham 16 Week Squat + Deadlift Program with Spreadsheet

Squats and deadlifts are two of the three core lifts in the sport of powerlifting. As satisfying as they are, these two exercises are also quite strenuous.

Many lifters, even the experienced ones, struggle to improve at them beyond a certain point. This is because their muscles are so well-trained that it is hard to stimulate them enough to progress further.

Since powerlifters can’t overtrain their bodies to overcome such plateaus, they need to rely on peaking. Achieving peak preparedness indicates that the lifter is able to demonstrate their maximum capabilities on the day of meet events or competitions.

As such, they need to keep their body fresh and sharp. At the same time, they need to train hard to keep their strength gains at the optimum level.

Fortunately, they can achieve both simultaneously by following Brad Gillingham’s 16 week program.

Brad Gillingham 16 Week Squat + Deadlift Program

Brad Gillingham 16 Week Squat + Deadlift Program Principles

Brad Gillingham is a powerlifting legend and a holder of many different records. He devised the popular and effective 16 week program aimed at preparing for squats and deadlifts before a professional competition.

Brad Gillingham Squat Program Principles

Brad Gillingham’s squat program is simple but effective. It is specifically meant for intermediate and advanced lifters because the intensity demanded might be a little too much for beginners.

The schedule of the training program is quite light. It only requires the powerlifter to train once a week in squats and deadlifts. This leaves plenty of time for the lifter to complement the training with assistance exercises based on individual needs and weaknesses.

The training pattern followed is undulating periodization. Here, the training intensity levels and training volume levels keep fluctuating after every workout session. This is optimal for experienced lifters as the “shock factor” provides maximum stimulation for strength gains.

The squat program is mainly structured as 5×5 workouts and 8×2 workouts, depending on the phase of the training cycle. Some specific instructions from Brad Gillingham state that the lifters should not use any belts while squatting except for in the fifteenth week of training.

The 16-week squat program uses the powerlifter’s accurate 1RM percentage to determine the weights that they need to use for squatting.

Here is a brief run-down of all the important principles used in Brad Gillingham’s squat program:

  • Uses undulating periodization to maximize stimulus for strength gains.
  • Makes use of 1RM to track progress and decide starting weights.
  • A light schedule of only one squatting session per week to leave room for recovery and assistance exercises.
  • No belts are to be used in any of the weeks except the 15th week of training.

Brad Gillingham Deadlift Program Principles

Brad Gillingham’s 16 week deadlift program is a little more comprehensive but applies the same principles, more or less.

In his deadlift program, the pattern followed is undulating. Again, this allows intermediate and advanced lifters to move beyond plateaus and achieve improved 1RM capabilities.

The 16-week deadlift program is not aimed at beginners, as the physical intensity might be too demanding. However, the training volume is optimum for meet prep as only one deadlift session per week is required.

As such, there is plenty of time to incorporate some prescribed assistance exercises into your training schedule. Ideally, the powerlifter should perform front squats before performing deadlifts. And afterward, they should also perform Romanian deadlifts to finish strong.

The deadlift routine is divided into two exercises: rack pulls and competition deadlifts.

There will be 4 different rack positions: rack 7, rack 6, rack 5, and rack 4. Using them, the program will lead up to performing a single, which the lifter will need to record in training logs. After that, the lifter should try setting up a Personal Record at that rack position whenever they train rack pulls the next time in the 16-week cycle.

When you are performing competition deadlifts, the program will require the powerlifter to complete six sets of singles. The weights will start at 60% of the 1RM and end at around 82% by the sixteenth week.

To summarize, here are the key points of this 16 week deadlift program:

  • Uses undulating periodization for maximizing efficiency and strength gains.
  • Only one deadlift session per week to leave time for recovery and assistance exercises.
  • The deadlift routine is divided into rack pulls and competition deadlifts.
  • Uses 1RM percentages to decide initial weights.

Brad Gillingham 16 Week Squat + Deadlift Program Spreadsheet

Brad Gillingham’s 16 week program is impressive. It is efficient when it comes to meet preps and training for professional competitions.

You can download the detailed training program from here.



Since both of these training routines contain some additional instructions, it’s better if you have the Spreadsheet file available with you at all times for timely consultation.

Don’t miss:

Gene Bell Jr.’s 12 Week Squat Peaking Program
Hatch Squat Program Spreadsheet
20 Sheiko Program Spreadsheets
Candito 10 or 14 Week Advanced Deadlift Program
Mag Ort Deadlift Program

Winding Up

Brad Gillingham is a powerlifting legend. To get not one, but two of his most effective training programs is a blessing in disguise. These squat and deadlift programs can help advanced lifters overcome their plateaus and become better prepared for professional competitions.