By GI Team Generation Iron
Get your deads in order.
Deadlifts. They are perhaps one of the best, if not the best, exercise for your back. It’s a great strength exercise that can enhance your pull strength dramatically and a staple of most weight training programs. Along with the bench press and squats, deadlifts are one of the classic lifts that any bodybuilder or powerlifter can appreciate.
Even with its popularity, the deadlift is one exercise that many lifters seem to perpetual get wrong. There have many different schools of thought in terms of the technique required to pull off the lift. Many physical trainers will tell you that in order to do the deadlift properly you have to essentially perform a squat. While this may be somewhat true when initially lifting the bar from the rack or from the floor, it must be noted that the upper body is the main target for this exercise and therefore the arms and back muscles are the primary tools utilized in pull the weight up. That’s not to say the legs don’t play an integral role, but there’s less stress on the legs with a deadlift than a squat.
Deadlifts aren’t exactly the simplest of exercises to perform, but that doesn’t mean you should go on performing the lift half-assed. So what are some tricks you can use to not only make deadlifting easy but improve your strength as well?
Sit on a box roughly a foot and half tall, place the barbell in your grasp in the locked out position. Proceed to stand up from the chair to lockout. This will do wonders for your form and emphasize the pulling technique rather than focusing on the squat portion of the exercise. You my not lift monster weight right away with this one, but it helps build the foundation.
Squat It Out
This trick actually requires a squat movement. After all we’ve said about the squat not being a deadlift, this squat trick will help with overall back strength. By placing a heavy object in front of the barbell, strapping resistance bands around the object and the bar, then squat with the bar. The bands will force you to arch your back and your knees to move outwards. This motion will help develop the hips and will improve your squat and subsequently your deadlift technique. The hip movement is key to getting full range of motion on the deadlift so this can be a great trick for improving technique.
Aiming for high reps when performing deadlifts is pretty much a recipe for disaster. There’s really no reason to shoot for higher reps with deadlifts, especially considering that the exercise is used primarily for strength. Because of the stress put on the body during deadlifts, your technique tends to go out the window once you push past the 5 rep range on to 10 or 12. The best bet is to up the weight a bit and perform no more than 5 reps for deadlifts. This will ultimately emphasize technique as well as improve your strength all at once.