- September 25th, 2013
10 Tips to Increase your Deadlift:
Hitting a sticking point on the deadlift is something I know a little bit about.. As the deadlift has been my nemesis, my unicorn, my best friend, and really probably a little bit of all three. I have taken my deadlift from a weakest part of my arsenal, to a respectable level, and finally to an Elite Level and there was many times I got stuck along the way. Below I will through some tips, advice, and even a few exercises to help you get through your deadlift plateau.
- First things First. Fix your technique, or if it doesn’t need fixing just work on perfecting it. Without the right technique you are going to get stuck. The Deadlift is one thing that you won’t just be able to “muscle up” just using your back muscles. The rest of these tips will be operating under the fact technique is not an issue, unless otherwise mentioned.
- Deadlift More often: You don’t need to add a bunch of assistance exercises or worry about adding things to help you posterior chain. You don’t need to worry about pulling against bands, or chains. All of these things have a place and all of these things do help, but until you get your deadlift to a decent level (Call it 400 lbs for a Male and 225 lbs for a female) don’t over think things. I also don’t mean to add more sets to your deadlift days or deadlift on a second day in addition to your normal workout. You just want to make sure you are not skipping your deadlifts in favor of another exercise.
- Work on your grip. I am a believer in not using grip assistance until grip becomes your limiting factor. Don’t rely on these things. You have all heard me say that when your grip gets stronger you get stronger in every lift. This is especially true for an exercise like the deadlift.
- Pull Faster. If you use correct technique (and we assume you do since you have gotten down this far) this is not cheating, nor will you get hurt, nor is it bad for your joints. If you do it correctly and under control, there is nothing wrong with this. The bar is going to slow down the higher it gets, that is fine, just keep as much force on the bar as you can throughout the lift.
- Sleep: Nothing Kills motivation on a deadlift day like getting to the gym sleep deprived. Sleep also aids in recovery and actually builds strength (topic for another day). No matter what your excuse is for staying up late, it is bad, and neither I nor anyone else believes it. Be rested and break PR’s.
- Don’t Pick Up the Bar; Do Not Pick Up the Bar!! I never think of this exercise as picking anything up. Have you ever wondered why they call the Deadlift a pull, or when you hear two people discussing their deadlift they ask “What did you pull?” That is because you are not really ‘picking ‘anything up. All too often people rely on their grip, arms, and lower back to pick the bar up. This couldn’t be more wrong. Take a look at your arms, and then compare their size to the size of your legs. Not easy to see the legs have the size and power in the battle of extremities. Focus on pushing the Earth away from you and pulling the bar back toward you. This is one thing I have had an issue with for years when the weight gets heavy. It has been cured, and the way I think of it is this: Drive your Heals into the ground, and push your hips forward. This will keep your body tight with the bar, and not have any slack, and is also the best way to apply force to the barbell. If you are ever talking about picking anything up, it better be a heavy stone or a cute girl.
- 7. Identify your Weakness and Address it: Maybe Strength is not the issue? Add in speed pulls at lighter a weight. Is your sticking point right off the ground? Try things like deficit deadlifts and snatch grip deads. Are you losing it mid-range? pull from a rack at or near your sticking point. Lockouts your problem? Train heavy rack lockouts. There are many other Deadlift Variations for different problems so once the problem is identified, the fix will come easy.
- 8. Choose the Correct Assistance lifts: Again address your weaknesses. For general purposes my personal favorites to help everyone are: Heavy Sled Pull Throughs, Reverse Hyper-Extensions, Good Mornings, glute Ham Raises, and BB Hip Raises.
- 9. Front Squats: I like front squats, they have excellent carry over to my sport of strongman, I recover faster from them, and when I am training heavy yoke walks I enjoy limiting the huge amount of weight on my back as much as I can. Here is what I know, when my front squat is strong or increasing so is the ease of getting things off the ground: Stones, Tires, Deadlifts, Etc.
- 10. Farmer Walks: The Pick is higher, the weight is at your sides, and you walk. It may not sound much like a deadlift, but they can be a slump buster. Most of same musculature is trained on the farmers pick and walk as the deadlift. Once you begin Walking, each leg is working unilaterally and the hips and stabilizer muscles in the legs are being trained as well. Your abs and low back have to keep your body tight and walking holding heavy weight will train your grip about as good as it gets. So grab a couple implements and start moving them.
I hope that all helps and as always don’t hesitate to send me a message if you have any question.
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