Here are a couple of thoughts on a more effective deadlift.
A common point of energy waste in the deadlift is the initial lift of the weight from the ground. That exact moment the weight comes off the ground should be the first upward movement of your body as well.
You would think this is intuitive. But if you watch deadlift videos on Instagram and Youtube, you’ll notice that a lot of people start their lift with their butts. Before the weight lifts off the ground, their hips have already moved up a few inches. You might notice this about yourself, too.
This is inefficient channeling of energy through the legs, and takes away from upward movement of the weight.
You can develop a better deadlift by minimizing this power leakage from the start. The aim is absolute tension and rigidity before the “pull” (what we call the lifting portion of the deadlift). By doing this, you will be able to maintain good form throughout the lift, keeping your back neutral, knees out, and head aligned. This will minimize and even prevent your upper back from curving forward into a slouch.
To create the most effective output, focus on the setup. Once you grab the bar:
- Straighten your arms
- Push your feet into the ground
- Pull up against the bar just short of lifting it to anchor yourself into the ground.
- Pull back on your shoulder blades, like the wings of a jet folding in after take-off.
- Flex your butt, think of squeezing your sphincter
- Spread the floor with your feet (see my squat newsletter for description)
If someone came by from any direction and pushed you, you would not be budged. No looseness in any part of your body, upward, downward, or sideways. Everything should be rock solid and ready for take off.
Your back should have a straight arrow pointing through it from top of the head through the end of your butt.
As you take hold of the bar, focus on one spot on the ground in front of you and do not look away. This helps with keeping the head in a neutral alignment with the rest of your spine.
And here goes. I like Mehdi Hadim‘s two-part cue the best:
- Push the ground away from you
- When bar passes knees, slam your hips forward into the bar
You now stand upright with bar held at arms length.
- Pull in a belly breath and lock it into your lungs for abdominal pressure.
- Let down the weight in the exact reverse way. Start with hips moving back, keeping tension in butt, hamstrings, knees and feet.
- When the bar reaches your knees, allow them to start parting and bending, maintaining full tension.
- Do not drop the weight. It’s sloppy and rude, and it will mess up your back and everyone’s eardrums. Think Batman. Be quiet, be swift, and be gone.
I’ll send one on grip next. Try these with minimal weight first. As in, just the bar. Or a broomstick.
To powerful living,