All About Deadlifts

August 4, 2019

Deadlifts

The Deadlift gets a bad rap for being dangerous on the lower back.  As someone who has suffered many lower back flare ups due to Degenerative Disc Disease, I am here to tell you that the Deadlift is one of the most beneficial exercises I can do to maintain my strength and stay pain free.

It was only when I would mess up the Deadlift in my training that I would incur the lower back flare ups.

Mistakes I would make were:

  1. Going too heavy too often
  2. Getting out of position during a PR attempt
  3. Using wrong form

See the trend there?… Honestly, when you use the Deadlift properly with correct form and in the right training scope, it has tremendous benefits to aid in recovery of a bad lower back and to me, a life without Deadlifts just sucks.

So lets get your Deadlifts down right so you’ll never have to ignore them in training again.

One thing I really like to do with my clients is a Deadlift progression.

I always start by teaching them the Hip Hinge Pattern Movement first and they must master it.  Next, I teach them how to be under load, both with Romanian Deadlifts and Squats!

YES!  The Squat has great carry over to the Deadlift.  Unfortunately that’s not the same case in reverse.

After learning the hip hinge, Romanian Deadlift and showing me a great loaded squat, I’ll then progress to the Trap Bar Deadlift or if mobility is an issue, I’ll have them do block pulls.  Simply put, this is an elevated Deadlift.

If you are new to the Deadlift, I am going to suggest this same progression along with 3 more things here.

  1. Master the Hip Hinge Movement and learn how to engage and load your hamstrings and glutes BEFORE attempting a deadlift.  A great way to do this is by perfecting the Romanian Deadlift FIRST!
  2. Take your time learning the Deadlift – no need to rush into heavy weight right away.
  3. Watch and perfect your form using the 5 Step Approach created by Mark Rippetoe

Romanian Deadlift

Quick Look at the Romanian Deadlift

The 5 Step Deadlift

Brought to you by Mark Rippetoe of Starting Strength, this is one of the best beginner tutorials for the Deadlift that is on the internet today.  I feel I would be doing you a great disservice if I didn’t share this with you in this blog post.

These 5 Steps will carry over into every Deadlift variation you can think of.  The only difference will be how far apart your foot placement will be from one another (such as Sumo Deadlifts); other than that, your setup and execution will remain the same.

This is also true for Heavy Carry implements such as the Farmer Bars and Strongman Frame.

Rack Pull

Here are some other pointers on the Deadlift.

Best Grip For Deadlift?

Standard grip, mix grip, hook grip?

Which one should you use?

Use them all.

Here’s why I like to incorporate each variation of these grips in my Deadlift training.

Standard, Double Overhand Grip

💥Develops overall grip strength with no extra assistance

💥Will not create imbalances in posture, particularly the upper back .

Mix Grip

💥Helps lift more weight

💥Doesn’t fatigue grip as fast

💥Helps develop bicep strength

Hook Grip

💥Practically cannot lose your grip

💥Develops high pain threshold 😮

Here’s the thing. I use to only use mix grip in my training and it caused me big problems with my lower back.

By continuing to grip the bar with left hand under and right hand over (my strongest grip position) I was causing severe posture imbalances which led to another lower back flare up that put ALL my training on hold for a good 3-4 months.

Since then, if I use the mix grip it’s on 2 conditions.

1. It’s only after I’ve reached a weight that I can’t handle for double overhand or I’ve exhausted my grip due to high reps, as seen in video below

2. I switch my hand position each working set. If I start left over, right under I’ll make sure that the next set my left hand is now under and right over.

By switching my hands each set I’m helping to keep my posture and structural integrity in check.

As far as hookgrip is concerned, I’ll use it as a gut check and will use this when I’m feeling I need to man up

Oh… And what about lifting straps

I never use them in training, maybe for a PR or when a competition allows but honestly, I feel they are cheating yourself out of true strength.

Gym Hack – Easy Unloading Deadlift Bar

Snatch Grip Deadlift

Landmine Deadlift (Car Deadlift Simulation – Athlete, Chris Riddick)

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