Introduction To The Deadlift
Many consider The Deadlift as the king, it involves more muscles than any other exercise, it’s functional in real life, and to put simply, it is BAD-ASS.
You come and lift as much weight as you can from the ground, sounds simple, but with some proper technique you can triple your strength, eliminate injury risk, and achieve a ripped physique.
In high weights, it is a brutal test of strength and is one of the ‘big three’ (along with the Squat and Bench Press). The Deadlift is arguably the toughest of the three Powerlifts; both mentally and physically.
To Deadlift big you need to be strong from head to toe. And deadlifting will make you strengthen your entire body from the back of your skull to your Achilles heel. No other exercise will do such work, especially not isolation exercises that 98% of people spend time on.
In particular, the Deadlift will work your Hamstrings, Glutes, Abs, Back and Grip to the max. As you progress with your Deadlift, you may find that a weakness in a particular muscle group is holding you back.
From personal experience, the first time I deadlifted I realized how weak I was, after 8 months of training in the gym with the casual isolation exercises, I was shocked to find out that my grip is the first thing to fail me, I just couldn’t hold to the weights (and it was just 160 pounds, embarrassing when I look at it today), I realized how worthless those isolation exercises were to developing functional strength.
As you will advance in your weights up, you will also notice that abs will be engaged very hard, and if you don’t flex them, you will fail. Therefore you can say bye-bye to dozens of isolation ab exercises, and say hello to heavy deadlifts (and squats).
The only way to achieve smooth, safe progress is to master a proper technique.
The deadlift will make you run faster, jump higher, and in many cases eliminate/prevent lower back pain due to strengthening of the muscles, ligaments, tendons and tissues in that area.
Which Muscles Are Involved In The Deadlift
Lower back (erector spinae)
Upper back (Trapezius)
Abdominals (upper, lower, sides and the whole enchilada)
Gear And Support Accessories
Barefoot / socks
Chuck Taylor’s Converse (most popular option)
Vibram Five Fingers (expensive)
On deadlifts you want to be closer as possible to the ground, to reduce range of motion / travel distance from ground to stance.
Thick soles ruin your proprioception, make your feet weak and hurt your strength.
Get rid of sports shoes with airballs on heels, and other fancy stuff. In order to perform any lift correctly (squat, press, deadlift etc…), you need SOLID foundation so your weight won’t fluctuate. Or else they will be robbing you of stability which is crucial on heavier lifts.
Or knee high socks
In order to deadlift heavy, the bar must travel as close as possible to your shins. In optimal scenario the long socks/long shorts help you to slide the bar up your shins so you avoid failure or getting unnecessary lower back pressure.
Gear Up Properly To Achieve Maximum Strength And Zero Injury
Belt – Wearing belt the entire workout will just take necessary pressure of your trunk, will reduce its strength and will create imbalances. Use a thick belt like Inzer to offer maximum support. Don’t depend on it all the time, only on heavier sets.
Over-reliance on the belt will results in a weak back.
Chalk – Highly recommended, this is your first line of support.
I use liquid chalk, not messy and effective as the powder.
Lift Straps – use them on your heaviest sets, don’t depend on them too much, as it will lead to having weak hands, I use them on my last heaviest sets. This is because the pressure on forearms has already ramped up from previous sets, and this helps to take pressure off your arms so you don’t fail on your last set.
They are usually cheap at like 7 bucks so there’s nothing wrong with having them in your arsenal.
Gloves – don’t use GLOVES. They make your hand fatter and your grip weaker. You will develop some calluses, but as you advance you will toughen up and won’t feel anything other than pure grip strength.
Master Your Deadlift Technique
How To Deadlift With Proper Technique
Setup (Stance + Grip)
Descend and repeat
Step #1- The Setup
Maintain hip wide stance – And keep hands close to legs. No need to widen your grip or stance, just stand normal hip wide and put the hands close, any thing more will just weaken your grip.Your toes should be straight, or point out a little.
Use chalk to strengthen grip – Chalk is your first line of support, as palms do get sweaty this will only keep you losing focus from your lift as you will try to concentrate on not losing grip. I use liquid chalk as my gym doesn’t allow powder, liquid makes no mess, and is as effective as powder.
Keep bar close to shins – Use knee-high socks or long shorts if you want to avoid bloodIf you put the bar too far, even 2 inches out, you put to much pressure on lower back and risk injury, or just will fail and won’t be able to lift the weight.
Use Mixed Grip On Heavy Sets – Mixed grip boosts your strength, this only should be used on heavy sets. The mixed grip is where one hand is on top of bar, and the other hand is below bar. I usually start a set with normal grip where both hands over bar, and then in the middle of set I might switch to mixed grip if I feel I’m starting to lose grip on that last rep.
Step #2 – The Lift
Flex your triceps, abs and lats This triple flex will create proper torso stiffness that is neccessary to gain more strength and eliminate injury-risk. Take a deep breath (will help you flex your abs), and go for it!
Apply tension to the bar – Never lift the bar in an instant like a crazy maniac. It’s hard to put it into words, but you must have 1 second of applied tension before pulling the bar. Some people do it several times before the lift, some people do it in one shot, but never lift the bar in an instant. Try to be slow and steady.
Chest up Chest up helps to keep the back straight. You shouldn’t bend or round your back. This will arch your back will help keep your spine straight throughout the lift.
Maintain a neutral head position No need to look down on bar, or up in the sky. If you have trouble with neutral position, look forward. Neutral means head stays and travels straight with spine.
Don’t do stupid shit on locking Sorry, I’ve had no other way of saying that. So many people are overcomplicating and do weird stuff on the lock-out…Your only goal is to stand erect with your hips and knees locked. Maybe when you watch videos, it can create an illusion that a person is extending his shoulders or back, but all he really does is get the chest up and stand straight at full lock. Examples of common mistakes: shoulder rolling, shoulder shrugging, back hyperextensions. Do nothing with your shoulders, don’t hyperextend your back, just stand. It’s very simple yet many overcomplicate.
Deadlift Lockout Stand Erect No Back Hyper-extensions and Shoulder Shrugs
Step #3 – Descend and repeat
Descend steady Don’t throw the bar or go too quickly to the ground, maintain proper form and go down with same proper form as you went up.
Treat every rep as a new set – I’ve seen some guys go crazy and start bouncing weights off the ground, trying to do this as fast as possible, relax son!
Think of every rep as a new lift, like you’re starting over. Achieve full stop at ground, release your leg tension, descent your legs slightly as you’re starting over. A big mistake many people are making is maintaining leg stiffness (by keeping hips high), that’s no good for your lower back. By lowering your legs, you just start over your deadlift, where quads engage first, and then hamstrings all the way. When you keep hips high and hamstrings stiff, you engage hamstrings only and that’s bad form.
Extra Tips On Deadlifting
Mighty Joe Bradley squats 650 weighing 130: the Frazier to Lamar’s Ali.
You always have something to thrive for As we aim for the lean look, it usually results in low body weight, but don’t think that because of that you can’t lift heavy weights, you can’t imagine what your body is capable off, keep advancing with 5 or 2.5 lbs with your workouts.
Don’t wuss around – Because you’re doing just a a few exercises now you have to give your 100% – ugly, loud and sweaty.
Calluses – You will have them, they will hurt, and you should be proud of them. Nuff said! Don’t worry, after a while, you will have iron hands and there will be no pain.
Rest Periods – Take 5 minute breaks between heavy sets, let your muscles, nervous system and heart rythm restore themselves.
How Many Times Per Week – As you progress into heavy deadlifts, just once per week.
Hip wide stance
Keep bar close to shins
Chest up (creates arch that helps maintain straight back)
Flex triceps, abs and lats
Maintain a neutral head position
Apply tension to the bar, GO!
Descend and repeat:
Treat every rep as new set
A Final Note
The journey to achieving a ripped Hollywood body is fairly fun and pretty much straight forward when combining the protocols intermittent fasting and strength training.
Intermittent fasting is a fantastic diet protocol that allows you to enter a prolonged calorie deficit without any hungers, mental challenges or strict rules.
I was able to recharge every weekend with my favorite cheat foods, and now after reaching my goal the maintenance is much more simple. You just can’t ignore the benefits of having a lean and ripped physique.
Great energy, feel comfortable in clothes, look great, better skin, more confidence, more sex appeal, more attention, more respect and the list goes on…
This road is worth taking, we only live once after all, do you want to look back and regret for not making the progress? You will not get a feeling of self-accomplishment from being an average couch potato that spends time watching various TV series all day long, believe me, I’ve done that.
I really hope youve got something out of my experience.
Best of luck for getting lean ripped — I really hope it goes without a glitch.