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CritcalBench.com "The Deadlift is Not Dead" by Ben Tatar

Author: Critical Bench.com by Ben Tatar | Created: Sun Jan 27 04:34:25 UTC 2013 | Last Updated: Sun Jan 27 07:56:58 UTC 2013


Think back, actually think way back. Do you remember trying to pick up heavy trees, adults and rocks in the woods? Oh yeah, you would grab a tree that looked impossible to lift, and you would find your inner strength to get the tree off of the ground. After lifting the tree you felt like a freak that should be apart of Ripley's Believe it or not. ...

For the complete article by Ben Tatar go to http://www.criticalbench.com/deadlift.htm

...If you were one of the kids that liked picking up trees and rocks, it shows that you have had the hardcore powerlifting mentality way before the gym and way before you knew what weight lifting was. This mentality of pushing yourself in the woods has stayed with you all of your life and is now being displayed in the gyms up until this day. Maybe you are still using this mentality on the deadlift, but it all started way back as a child, back when you were maxing out in the wilderness

 This mentality of pushing yourself in the woods has stayed with you all of your life and is now being displayed in the gyms up until this day. Maybe you are still using this mentality on the deadlift, but it all started way back as a child, back when you were maxing out in the wilderness.

So then you take this attitude that you learned from the forest into the gym to see how much weight you can deadlift. Unlike the trees, the weights have numbers, so you know what you can lift and what you need to beat for the next time, and then the inevitable happens. One day you set a personal deadlift record and the gym owner comes up to you and says "No deadlifting"! What has just happened? Gyms across the Country say "No deadlifting"! Why? The deadlift is the lift that intimidates members, it's the lift that turns common men into monsters, it's the exercise that makes mankind crazier than a gorilla and it's the lift that smashes the floor so hard that the members feel like an earth quake has just erupted. Oh yeah, the chalk on the bar makes the casual members feel like they have entered a pig pen, giving the recreational crowd no other option but to go back on the couch and get fat again.

deadlift You on the other hand are working so hard that you cannot talk after sets are over and you are becoming super strong! What most men fear is the excitement for victory. Deadlifting teaches us that the weak will crumble and that the strong will survive. The deadlift is the lift that separates the strong from the weak and it's the lift that defines hardcore. Thus, even though deadlifting does wonders for us, it's also the least popular of all lifts, but it is also the lift that has the most respect. The deadlift has the most respect because nobody wants to deadlift because deadlifting will wear out your whole body, it's going to blisters your hands, cuts your shins open and drain out the occipital lobe of the brain, so the lifter cannot see anything! It's also the most nerve wrecking and the most thrilling of all lifts because it's the main event in powerlifting. It's like the 4 th quarter in sports, the deadlift is the final test to determine who is victorious in the powerlifting meet.


In addition the deadlift is the lift that can raise someone's confidence over night. Think about it, take the average guy off of the street and put him on the squat and what happens? His form is off, he is uncomfortable and he needs to build a base. Now put the average beginner on the bench and you will be lucky if he can even bench press one fifth of what you do. Now tell this person to deadlift and what happens? They pick up 315lbs out of now where and all of a sudden they want to train. They are now inspired to become stronger in powerlifting and overcome their fears to make it in real life!

When I was a teenager I deadlifted 405 and before that during my earlier days I was constantly picking up 135s and this gave me my first impression of training. These were the days when I finally knew I could become something. And not only was the deadlift the big starter for me, but it's the starter for others because it's the lift that we can use a lot of weight on before all the other exercises. It's also the exercise that teaches you the mentality to get strong. Deadlifting is also the exercise that teaches you how to eat like an animal and train like one. Instantly deadlifting will turn kids into powerhouses very fast.

Now that we are all naturally strong at the deadlift, let's discuss what it takes to become scary strong! Let the games begin!

Tips To Become Better At The Deadlift

deadlifting tips

    1) Strengthen your grip- if you have a weak grip perform grip exercises for counts of 15-20 with power rack grips on barbells and dumbbells.

    2) Farmers Walk- Take 2 100 or 150lbs dumbbells (depending on your strength level) and walk around with them! This is also a strongman event.

    3) Clamp Work- Buy a pair of clamps and start squeezing them together! Not only will this make your forearms huge, but this will also make you an amazing arm wrestler. Many of us can lift a lot with straps, but we cannot do a lot without them. This means that we need to strengthen our grips.

    4) Rack pulls- Rack Pulls are important for the intermediate deadlifter and the advanced deadlifter. These will work on the finish! So let's say you just deadlifted 475lbs and you missed 500 at the lockout. Well rack pulls will allow you to finish that 500lbs deadlift that you were always trying to hit.

    In order to perform a rack pull, find where it is that you are weak. Some deadlifters are weak towards the lockout and others are weak at the half way point of the lift. So go into the power/squat rack with the adjustable safety bars and pins and put the pin where your weakness is, or 1 inch below your weak point. Start practicing your pull from the height where you struggle. Use a lower rep range and get ready to pull some massive weights. You should load the 45s and 100s up on the bar when it comes to deadlift rack lockouts.

    5) For the bottom half of the Deadlift-

    Some deadlifters struggle getting the weight right off of the floor. If this is the case then set the pins to about knee level and lift off the floor to the pins. This will work the bottom phase of the deadlift. The weight you use on these probably won't be as heavy, but as you strengthen the bottom phase of the lift, the weights will increase with time.

    6) Rep Ranges- Keep the reps low and keep practicing singles, while resting between sets.

    7) Do Shrugs- A strong shrug is very important as well. I recommend barbell shrugs, since the traps definitely play a large role. Go for reps of 5 and train heavy. Remember to raise your shoulders and pause to make the most out of your efforts. This will really help you finish heavier weights when deadlifting.

Other Exercise Options

Another exercise to try is using bands during your dumbbell work. This means hook some bands to the dumbbell and you can either hook them from under a rack, to a dumbbell on the floor or under your foot. You can use mini chains to perform these exercises too. Keep switching things up though, especially as you get to more advanced levels.

Special Deadlift Assistance Exercises

Key stone deadlifts-

The key stone deadlift will develop the posterial chain, which means all of your back muscles. The lift is started by taking a weight out of a rack (the position you do your shrugs). Then push your butt and belly out as you bring the weight down just below your knees and back up to lockout position. Your knees should be slightly bent and you should feel this in your hamstrings and glutes, but not in your lower back.

Zercher squats-

Pick the bar up, wrap your arms around the bar and hug it close to you and perform a front squat. Then repeat this motion. For video evidence check out: http://www.weightliftingdiscussion.com/regzerch.html And this site- http://www.abcbodybuilding.com/exercise3/zerchersquat.htm

Kneeling squats-

This is an exercise where you stand on your knees and, put a bar on your upper back, squat down and back on your knees then come up so you are standing on your knees again. Go for 6-10 reps when your strong you can use quite a bit of weight and you will automatically increase your squat and deadlift. See example below:

kneeling squat

Other lifts to check out:

Spider Lifts-

Kneel low to the ground and wrap your arms around the bar in a butterfly like motion while also keeping your legs in a butterfly like motion. Then stand back up- http://www.weightliftingdiscussion.com/spider.html

For Jefferson lifts-

Put the bar between your legs, with your legs in a split like motion. Put one arm in front of the other and pull the weight up. Like the spider lift, the Jefferson lifts will work your quads. To see a picture check out: http://www.weightliftingdiscussion.com/jefferson.html

Sled work techniques- See example on this page: http://www.weightliftingdiscussion.com/sled.html

O.K., those are fancy lifts that will train you for the highland games, USAWA games, strongman, powerlifting and sports. Let's take a look at some more common exercises that will increase your deadlift that the magazines normally don't teach which are even more effective.

deadlift monster Good mornings-

Position the barbell on the back of shoulders and put your feet together. Now bend down until your torso is parallel to the floor. Then stand up and thrust your hips out hard! Like a pelvis thrust. You should feel it in your hams, lower back and abs. This lift will make you strong!

Power Good Mornings-

These are like regular good mornings, but use a very wide stance. Now lean, don't bend, go down forward slowly and then explode up. Heavy weights can be employed. This is not a quarter-squat. Remember, the bar must be in front of the knees after leaning forward.

Bent Leg Good Mornings-

If your erectors, hamstrings and glutes are weak then place the bar on your back in a squat position and bend over, and explode up.

The squat/ good morning-

Do the good morning where you bend forward until your back is about parallel with the floor then just transcend into the squat position and finish the movement. Repeat.

Good Mornings with Equipment-

You can do good mornings with a bench. This means bend down until your face touches a bench or a box. Only flexible lifters can do these. Also you can add bands and chains on these exercises. Sometimes you want to use equipment and other times you don't. This keeps your body guessing, when the body faces the unknown, it has no other choice but to make answers. Since you have a system that attacks your personal barriers, these answers will transform into progress.

Box Squats-

The purpose of box squats is to teach a lifter to sit back instead of down. This means your butt should go back first and you will turn out your knees. After you sit back onto the box while performing a box squat, swing out your hips as if you were doing a good morning to the lockout position. By using techniques such as widening your standing and keep your knees out will highly increase your squat max.

Speed squats and box squats-

Perform 10 sets of 2 reps and squat fast. You should only rest 30-60 seconds between sets. These will make you faster and when you're faster you are more explosive. Normally when lifters train with soviet methods they will do a heavy squat/deadlift day then 72 hours later they will do their dynamic effort squatting day. Always remember to use the same force on all of your speed attempts that you use on your maxing out attempts, or the speed days will lose their effectiveness.

Using Bands And Chains

Here is a brief explanation of how they work. Bands and chains come in different sizes depending how you adjust the tension. If you hook them from the ground then at lockout the weight becomes heavier, as at the bottom phase of the lift the weight stays the same teaching you how to accelerate. If you hook the bands/chains to the top of the rack, they assist you coming out of the hole. "The starting phase of the lift", but the tension diminishes in the upward phase. These teaches you to force the weight down during the negative and how to recoil when you use a squat and deadlifting suit. 

For the complete article by Ben Tatar go to http://www.criticalbench.com/deadlift.htm

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