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Things You Don't Want To Hear About Your Deadlift


Things You Don't Want To Hear About Your Deadlift
Things You Don't Want To Hear About Your Deadlift

There are only a select few lifters who decide to make them a regular part of their routine.

An overwhelming majority still avoid them because they’re difficult, or because they heard some rumblings from a tertiary source that they’re “bad for your back”.

On the flip side, the group of folks who embrace deadlifts can often take things too far, and get caught up in stopping at nothing to ensure their deadlift is being trained and developed.

This is the guy who may be unaware of certain realities when it comes to his lift.

And I’m here to bring them to light.

Read More: Finding the Perfect Workout Shoes

You Don’t Need To Go any Heavier

Everyone’s focused on getting to 2x their bodyweight for a deadlift, or maybe even beyond. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this goal, and it’s definitely a testimony of someone’s true strength, but it’s also good to put things in perspective.

Having a really strong deadlift is great – if you know it’ll be sustainable. The “shelf life” of a 700 pound deadlifter compared to that of a guy who focuses on quality reps with, say 3 to 400 pounds is significantly different.

Most people with extremely elite levels of strength had to make sacrifices to other avenues of their fitness (like mobility, flexibility, body composition, or muscular conditioning) to get there.

Once you’re strong, stay strong. Instead of constantly trying to push your PR, try finding different ways to make the weight you can lift, feel even heavier.

You Might Not be Good enough to Pull from the Floor

In the time I’ve spent as a trainer, I can’t begin to tally up the amount of poor deadlift starting positions I’ve seen due to immobility and inflexibility. There’s something about deadlifts that makes people think you’re not “really doing it” if you don’t start with the bar on the ground, rather than mount it to an appropriate position to ensure your safety if you have issues achieving full ROM.

It’s wise to check your ego at the door, and chase a safe result before you get hurt. Use your camera phone to film a decently loaded work set from the floor. If the form you’ve been using isn’t good and can’t be corrected, raise the bar as high as you need to off the ground for it to fix the problem.

That could mean a mere 2 inch elevation, or it could mean 8 to 12 inches. You’re still getting all of the benefits and removing any risk.

Your Mixed Grip is Killing you Softly

Listen – I’ll be the first to say it. If you’re a raw lifter lifting really heavy, then sure. Mix it up. For a heavy set of under 5 repetitions it may be the only way to hold on to the bar.

But doing every warm up set, every 10 rep set, and all your other deadlift variations with a mixed grip simply because it’s what you’ve become accustomed to, it’s bad news.

Having one arm internally rotated with the other externally rotated is a way to give muscle imbalances a huge platform to take over and affect the body.

Give the mixed grip its place for your heaviest sets, but otherwise, practice a double overhand grip.

The Conventional Deadlift is Probably the Variation that YOU Need the Least

This sounds backwards. But don’t be misled. I’m not saying the most primal form of deadlifting – the conventional style with a hip-width foot placement, hands outside shins, and double overhand grip –isn’t worth practicing.

It’s the most important variation, and I’m putting money on it that it’s the style most people reading this use the most often. And that’s why I’m stressing the importance of changing it up more than you currently do.

You’ve learned the conventional deadlift. Modifying your hand or foot position can create a world of difference for your body’s geometry.

Switching to a medium sumo stance immediately engages more quads, glutes, and inner thighs than conventional deadlifts, and often doubles as a form fixer for lifters who struggle to find a neutral back position.