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Deadlifting 101 – How To Do The Deadlift

Post From http://leehayward.com/blog/deadlifting-101/

There was a day when bodybuilders were characterized by thick massive torsos, tumbling traps, and sweeping lats that hung like boxcar doors from broad-beamed shoulders. All this came about from slapping as many iron plates as possible onto a barbell and dead lifting it off the ground in whatever manner it took to get the weight up.

The deadlift is the oldest of all weight training exercises and is one of the most effective exercises for overall body development. Deadlifts are not pretty and neither are the men who hoisted them, but this movement made their physiques the biggest, thickest, and strongest in the world.

The deadlift is a compound movement that works all of the major muscles in the body, with most of emphasis on the traps, spinal erectors, hips, glutes, and hamstrings. The remaining muscles are involved in stability control.

It is the purest single test of strength because it is one of the few lifts where you lift a dead weight off the ground. In most other lifts the weight changes direction or starts from the top position and you can use reversal strength and momentum to rebound and assist in lifting the weight, as in the squat and bench press.

In this blog post you are going to get a complete deadlift workout program that will help increase your deadlift poundages, allowing you increase your overall strength, and pack on slabs of thick dense muscle mass to your frame.


Click PLAY To Watch Deadlifting Tutorial Videos:

If you can’t see the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it on YouTube by Clicking Here

If you can’t see the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it on YouTube by Clicking Here


Regular Conventional Deadlift

Conventional Deadlift

This is the standard deadlift. To perform this lift stand in front of a barbell with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Line yourself up so that the joint of your toes are under the bar. Grab the bar with your hands outside your legs, a bit wider then shoulder width. Bend down and grab the barbell with your arms straight. Keeping your head up, drive your heels into the floor and pull your shoulders back and bringing your hips forward to straighten out your body and lock out the deadlift. (This is shown in more detail in the 2nd video above Deadlift FAQ).

Sumo Deadlift

Sumo Deadlift

The Sumo deadlift gets its name because you position your feet wide and squat down, just like the stance of a Sumo Wrestler. This variation changes the emphasis of the lift and places more of work on the hips and legs and a little bit less of the workload on the lower back. In a powerlifting meet you can perform either dead lift variation. Depending on your physical build and strengths you’ll generally find that you are stronger with either the sumo deadlift or the conventional deadlift. But you’ll have to try both variations to see what works best for you and your body type.

When doing the sumo deadlift, rather then focusing on pulling the weight up, focus on keeping your knees out wide and pushing your feet out to the sides as if you are trying to spread the floor apart with your feet. At the same time drive your hips forward. This will improve your leverage and allow you lift more weight. (The sumo deadlift is shown in more detail in the 1st video above How To Deadlift).

Stiff Leg Deadlift (aka Romanian Deadlift)

Stiff Leg Deadlift

The stiff leg deadlift, also known as the Romanian Deadlift, is a variation that places most of the emphasis on the hamstrings. This variation is often used for higher reps and lighter weights compared to the conventional and sumo deadlifts. The legs are kept almost straight through the movement, with just a slight bend in the knees to take stress off the tendons.

You can start with a regular conventional deadlift to get the weight up off the floor. Then just bend over at the waist until you feel good stretch in the hamstrings and then straighten your body back up. If you don’t let the weight plates touch the floor in between reps you’ll keep constant tension on the muscles at all times during the Romanian deadlift. (The stiff leg deadlift is shown in more detail in the 1st video above How To Deadlift).

Extra Deadlift Training Tips

For most guys, their grip strength (or lack there of) is the weak link when it comes to deadlifting. If your hands are not strong enough to hold onto the bar, than the weight will not go up, regardless of how strong you are in the back, hips and legs.

Increase Grip Strength…

To help increase your grip try using lifting chalk on your hands. Lifting chalk is just magnesium carbonate and it is actually good for the hands. Chalk will dry up sweat and increase friction between your hands and the bar.

Weight Lifting Chalk

Lifting chalk comes is small blocks and is available at most sports stores for less then $10. I keep a block of lifting chalk in my gym bag at all times. I store it in a small Tupperware container and use it for most all free weight exercises, especially deadlifts.

Another grip tip that helps the deadlift tremendously is using a mixed or alternate grip when lifting heavy weights. This is simply holding the barbell with one hand facing forwards and the other hand facing backwards.

Alternate Grip For Deadlifting

The advantage of this grip is that as the bar is rolling out of one hand, it is also rolling into the other hand. Thus allowing you to hold onto heavier weights then you could with a regular overhand grip.

When using a mixed grip I like to switch back and forth with the hand positions for each set. For example, do one set with my left hand facing forwards, then the next set with my right hand facing forwards, etc. Switching back and forth like this will help to ensure equal development in your arms and back over the long term.

Proper Foot Ware…

When you deadlift you should wear flat thin soled sneakers. This will keep your body in proper alignment to lift and keep your feet as close to the ground as possible. If you wear thicker soled sneakers this will increase distance that you have to pull the bar. It may not sound like much, but that extra inch of cushioning could take several pounds off your max deadlift. My personal favorite sneakers are Chuck Taylor Converse, these are one of the best lifting sneakers that I’ve ever worn. They are totally flat and provide good grip and ankle support.

Weight Lifting Belts…

A weight lifting belt should be worn on your top weight heavy sets. The purpose of a belt is to provide protection, support, and stability for the entire mid-section, especially the lower back. I recommend that you NOT wear the belt for your lighter weight warm up sets. Instead just save it for your top weight “working sets” when you need it the most. Overuse of a weight lifting belt may actually weaken the muscles of the mid-section because of the constant support, the muscles will not get a chance to be worked like the rest of the body.


Click PLAY To Find Out Which Weight Lifting Belt Is The Best:

If you can’t see the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it on YouTube by Clicking Here


Training For A Bigger Deadlift!

Most guys who try to improve their deadlift go about it the wrong way and pump out a few high rep sets, just like you would for bicep curls. However, the best way to improve your deadlift strength is to perform multiple sets of single reps. This is how a lot of powerlifters and strongman competitors build up to deadlifting huge weights. Below you’re going to get a simple 7 week deadlift workout program that will help increase your deadlift 1 rep max.

I’ve used this cycle several times with great results each time. With each set / rep focus on pulling the weights with perfect form and being fast and explosive. The faster you lift the weight (with good form), the more stress you’ll apply to the muscles, and the stronger you’ll become.

7 Week Deadlift Workout

Do this deadlift workout once per week as part of your back training day. The weights listed are based on a percentage of your current 1 rep max deadlift.

Week one: 70% – 15 sets of 1 – rest one minute between sets
Week two: 75% – 12 sets of 1 – rest one minute between sets
Week three: 80% – 10 sets of 1 – rest 90 seconds between sets
Week four: 85% – 6 sets of 1 – rest 90 seconds between sets
Week five: 90% – 3 sets of 1 – rest two minutes between sets
Week six: Rest (no deadlifting)
Week seven: try for a new max deadlift. Rest as long as you need in between sets (i.e. 3+ minutes)

Note: You can use this 7 week deadlift cycle for either the sumo or conventional deadlift. But do Not use this routine for the stiff leg / Romanian deadlift, for those keep the reps higher (i.e. 3 sets of 10 reps).

To show an example with some real numbers, lets assume the lifter has a 1 rep max of 315 pounds.

Week one: 15 sets of 1 rep with 220 pounds
Week two: 12 sets of 1 rep with 235 pounds
Week three: 10 sets of 1 rep with 250 pounds
Week four: 6 sets of 1 rep with 265 pounds
Week five: 3 sets of 1 rep with 285 pounds
Week six: rest
Week seven: work up to a new 1 rep max…

Most folks who are used to bodybuilding type workouts will probably be quite surprised by the idea of doing multiple sets of single reps. But this is one of the most effective ways to develop strength and power. Obviously you will not be pumping out reps until failure, but rather you’ll be explosive and feel strong and powerful with each single rep set. Generally, after the first few sets you’ll actually feel stronger and be able to pull the bar up harder and faster. This is due to getting comfortable with the exercise and getting into your individual groove where your body position feels strongest.

By using the training tips and suggestions covered in this blog post and video tutorials you should have no problem increasing your personal best deadlift.

If you like this post, please LIKE it and SHARE it with your friends and leave me your comments below…

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