If you want to know how he trained for the deadlift, then I’d suggest to search for the magazine “Muscle Builder” (March 73) on ebay etc. There’s an article entitled “Training for a world record deadlift”. It’s basically about a power routine, which Franco used for reaching 750 pounds!

More about the mag and its table of content:

By the way our Team researched how Franco trained Sylvester Stallone. We published an article a couple months ago, it’s worth to read!


I would love to quote Franco Columbo at first, he wrote the following in the mag:

“Training for a world record requires a lot of careful planning and dedicated workouts. I train six days a week: five days being exclusively devoted to an intensive bodybuilding program, and one day – Saturday – I spend on my deadlift program. A full week is needed between deadlift workouts to allow for complete recuperation. I only attempt maximum poundages once every two weeks. I do not perform any deadlifts on the Monday thru Friday”

On Page 57 Franco outlined his deadlift program. The following poundages he used on heavy days!

“1. Deadlifts: 200 – 6 reps, 300-6 reps, 400-6 reps, 500-4 reps, 550 – 4 reps, 600 – 3 reps, 650 – 3 reps, 675 – 2 reps, 700 – 1 rep
2. Leg Press: 500-10 reps, 600 – 10 reps, 700 – 6 reps, 700 – 6 reps
3. Stiff Legged Deadlifts: (standing on block) 3 sets, 8 reps – 315lb
4. Good Mornings: 3 sets, 8 reps – 315lb”

Note: He is switching between heavy and medium poundages. The above poundage is heavy for Franco. The next week he would lower the weight / work up only to 650 – 3 reps! He used a narrow grip during deadlifting. He wrote: “My hands are placed about a half inch outside of where the knurling starts.”

He is using a lot of leg drive. He wrote he is pulling slowly and keeping his head high. During the whole lift he is looking up. He made the experience pulling fast will not help because “the hips come up too fast” und you will lose leg drive.

He did only 3 sets to warm up (before competition): 300 – 4 reps, 500 – 4 reps and 600 – 2reps.

SQUATTING IS IMPORTANT. Franco explained in the magazine that he liked to squat twice a week (Monday, Thursday).

Monday (Heavy) Squat Workout: 200 – 8 reps, 300 – 8 reps, 400 – 8 reps, 500 – 6 reps, 585 – 4 reps.

Thursday (medium) Squat Workout: 200 – 8 reps, 300 – 8 reps, 400 – 8 reps, 500 – 6 reps.

TECHNIQUE: Franco was a powerlifter and of course he went deep down. NO HALF SQUATS. His back is straight. NO BACK BENDING.

Assistance work for deadlift: Bent Over Row
He wrote this is the only real exercise for him to improve his deadlift.
It will strengthen your lower back. By the way he using the wide grip aka. wide snatch grip. He used to do 4 sets 10 reps with 225 pounds.


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