Tips to Become A Better Deadlifter
by Ben Tatar
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. 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.
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.
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
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.