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How To Deadlift Like A Champion

November 16, 2012 04:48 PM

The deadlift is the king of all strength exercises.
Other barbell lifts are great too – the Olympic lifts, the squat, the bench press, the military press – they all have tremendous benefit.
But for pure strength – the deadlift is king.
It works the entire body from head-to-toe…
The glutes, hamstrings and lower back work hard, as do the upper back and the grip.
If you’re a powerlifter, the deadlift is where the meet is won and lost.
If you’re a strongman, you need a good deadlift; otherwise you’re unlikely to ever be a good strongman.
As an athlete – putting 100 pounds or more on your pull will almost certainly result in more power and speed. The result? Simple – you’ll be a better athlete where you deadlift heavy.
But deadlifting heavy is not without potential problems. In fact, I see two major problems that afflict 90% or more of the lifters and athletes who I see deadlifting:
1. Their form sucks – greatly increasing their injury risk. The lower back an biceps are the muscle groups most at risk.
2. They over-train the deadlift with too much intensity. Said differently – they pull too heavy, too often.
Here is a better way to deadlift – the way that has enabled me to pull over 1000lbs twice and that I use to help my clients deadlift PB’s on a regular basis…
First of all, let’s deal with technique…
Here are the basics for the conventional deadlift:
- Take a hip width stance, shins touching or very close to the bar, toes pointing straight ahead or turned out slightly
- Grip the bar with a mixed grip (one hand over, one under). Be sure to grip the bar as close to the outside of your lower legs as possible – there is no point turning this into a snatch grip pull
- Bend your legs only enough to achieve a neutral spine and keep your head position neutral too
- Take a deep breathe into your belly, brace your abs, cramp up your lats and pull the bar off the floor, keeping it close at all times (deadlifters have scars on their shins for a reason!)
- When the bar just clears your knees, drive your hips through to lockout. Stand up straight (do not lean back), pause for a second – then set the bar down. Repeat for reps
Make every rep of every deadlift the same. It doesn’t matter whether its 135lbs on the bar or 800lbs – every rep should look the same. Only amateurs talk during their warm ups and do a bunch of sloppy reps.
Let’s move on and talk briefly about how to train the deadlift.
Here are some things to consider:
- Only max out occasionally – 2 to 4 times a year
- Focus on SPEED work – I do a lot of volume with 50 to 70% of my max. Singles, doubles and triples are the reps I use. Maximum speed on every rep is the focus. The result is few injuries, an avoidance of overtraining and many PB’s. Exactly what YOU want, right?
- If you like, you can experiment with bands and chains to increase the results you get from speed work
This article has given you a tiny little taste of what I can teach you about the deadlift. In Deadlift Dynamite, the book that Pavel and I have co-authored – you’ll learn much much more. Click here for all the details.