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A Few Ways To Improve Your Deadlift

Maybe you've recently maxed out on deadlifts and you're rebuilding for a second max. Maybe you're failing lifts regularly and you're getting frustrated. Either way, I strongly recommend you go through this list and identify where you're falling short.

1. Fix Your Technique The absolute easiest way to deadlift more is to make the movement less difficult. Putting yourself at a mechanical advantage is simply easier than getting stronger. If you can leverage your body weight to start the lift, you reduce the amount of weight you need to force up. Maybe this means starting with your hips a little higher, or is could mean leaning back into the pull to initiate the movement. Everyone's a different shape, so everyone will deadlift differently.

2. Strengthen your back It’s easier to improve weak links than to further strengthen your strong points. Most people don’t train their back enough, in my opinion it is one of the the biggest factors in getting a big deadlift. It's rare that you see a great deadlifter with a small, under-developed back. The three lifts that have helped the most (other than deadlifts/deadlift variations themselves) are: Pullups (high volume)

Heavy rows (low volume)

3. Learn to love front squats Sumo pullers are going to find the biggest carryover from standard front squats due both movements being quad dominant, but both kinds of pullers have a lot to gain from the following two variations.

Pin front squats will blow up your explosive strength. Lower the safety bars and put the barbell at the level it would be at the bottom of a front squat, get under the bar and relax. You’re trying to avoid using the stretch reflex so you'll want to relax your body before you really begin the lift.

Paused front squats. Full Disclosure: these are ridiculously difficult. Load up 70-80% and pause at the bottom of the squat for a good 5 seconds. These train your trunk not to bow under load and reinforce proper core engagement. You can't fake a good paused front squat. It will identify weak links.

4. Get properly warmed up Each person needs to warm up in a way specific to them. If your hips are naturally externally rotated, then a pigeon pose isn’t really helpful in getting your body ready for something it’s not used to. Identify which movements are difficult for you individually and work on them during warm ups.

6. Experiment with programming Much like everything else, effective programming is going to vary person to person. I found that reducing my deadlifting from 2x weekly to 1x actually produced better results. For others, upping their frequency is going to work wonders. For the majority of people I advocate for sub-maximal training and with bias recommend you try it out as well.

Another important factor of programming is the time between cycles: the deload. As the weights get heavier your body will accumulate fatigue faster, providing it time to reset will allow you to lift with a higher intensity over time and reduce your risk of injury.

I hope these tips helped! If there's something here you haven't tried before, I highly suggest you consider working it into your own training.

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