The deadlift is the mack daddy when it comes to gym exercises and is often referred to as one of the best exercises (along with squats) due to the fact that it uses such a wide range of muscle groups throughout the movement. So the deadlift is simple – you see that barbell over there? Stack it up with some plates and lift it off the ground! Of course it is not that simple, a lot of factors need to be taken in to consideration such as form to make sure you leave the gym injury free and not on a stretcher. This article is not going to tell you how to deadlift, I’m assuming you already know this – if not look it up! This post is going to look at how to increase your deadlift – something which is asked a lot in the fitness world as people often reach plateaus and find it really hard to add any more weight on to the bar.
Change Your Grip – Snatch Grip
The snatch grip deadlift is a less popular and underutilized deadlift breed. To begin with, the snatch grip deadlift reveals weaknesses to the lifter, particularly in the upper back area. A weak upper back leads to the inability to keep the upper back in the correct position throughout the deadlift, leading to rounding of the back. This is obviously not what we want as it can be problematic for the back. Premature rounding also just generally makes it harder to pull the weight up . The longer we can maintain the correct position, the more weight we can pick up.
How do I snatch grip? Simple, snatch grip is simple gripping the bar as wide as you can, most of the time right up to where the plates are.
Increase Deadlift Frequency
In simple terms, just do deadlifts more often. Most people might only do deadlifts once a week purely because it is pretty brutal and really takes it out of you. If you are reaching a plateau or a barrier, you need to change something, you need to try something new. It makes sense right? Maybe if I deadlift more I will become better and be able to lift more? – And yes, it really is that simple. Add an extra day or even 2 in which you deadlift throughout the week. Do not worry if you may be a bit tired from the first session and you cannot lift as much, as this is expected. The fact that you are performing the deadlift and movements still will really benefit your form and will allow your body to become more used to the stress being put on these particular body parts (so you can then add more weight to work it more). You can also deadlift using different grips on each seperate days, and even deadlift at different speeds. You could go for heavy deadlifts for low reps on your first day, and then go for speed reps with some lighter weights on another to hit your fast twitch muscle fibers.
There are many additional exercises you can perform which will have an over all benefit on your deadlift performance. They way I like to think about it is to split the deadlift in to different stages.
- Stage 1: Getting the initial burst of energy to get the bar moving from the floor’
A great exercise to improve this is box jumps, starting from a low position (as if you were in the starting position for a deadlift) and then trying to jump as high as you can, or on top on an object or box. This helps to improve and boost your explosiveness which is going to help you get the bar moving in the first stage of the deadlift.
- Stage 2: The next stage in the deadlift is keeping your back straight, and trying to move in to an upright position
A great and simple exercise to help improve this aspect of the lift is rack pulls. Essentially you place a barbell on some supports so that it sits higher of the ground, at a position that is part way through your deadlift. This helps focus on that part of the movement. You can find you should be able to lift a lot more doing this, which will help gain strength in the lower back and hamstrings.
Another great exercise for this stage is the stiff leg deadlift. This involves you keeping your legs fairly straight and mainly focusing on the use of the lower back to pull the weight up. You should also feel a good stretch on the hamstrings throughout the lower part of the movement.
- Stage 3: Locking out the deadlift movement
The final stage involves bringing your hips forward and leaning back slightly to complete the deadlift movement. This can often be hard and a lot of lifters may bail out at this point as they cannot bring their hips forward. Hip thrusts are the way to go in order to fix this. This will give you stronger hips/glutes which will enable you to really push the hips forward to finish of the deadlift. Check out how to do barbell hip thrusts here.
Go on and break through those deadlift barriers! If you have any more tips that can help increase your deadlifts leave a comment below or contact us!
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