Today was deadlift day for my training program, which is now a hybrid of 5/3/1 and The Cube Method (simply for reference), so I decided to do a write up on the movement. Whether you’re new or have deadlifted before, you might learn some things. This is knowledge I’ve acquired over the last three years that I have been deadlifting regularly. The combination of this knowledge and my efforts in the gym has helped me pull 215kg/474lbs (as of 6/11/13) at a body weight of 85kg/187lbs. My goal for 2013 is to deadlift 230kg/507lbs by the end of the year. We’ll see if I get there. 🙂
(Tip: Read Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe for an in depth description of the deadlift.)
In this article, I’m just going to give you some videos to watch for the barbell deadlift movement. Typing up everything would be far too tedious for my aching hands.
The Deadlift Setup
From Mark Rippetoe himself: The Deadlift Setup
An interesting tweak to engage your lats more and keep your arms straight, courtesy of Jonnie Candito: How to Engage Your Lats When You Grab the Bar
Candito goes through the entire deadlift process in the following video:
Deadlift 101 by Brandon Lilly is another awesome one.
From Mark Rippetoe: Deadlift Back Angles (especially valuable information to keep in mind for sets with multiple reps)
Also a great playlist about the deadlift: Deadlift Playlist on YouTube
How to Deadlift (another good video)
How to Grip the Bar
Your best bet is the double overhand grip. Use this until weights get too heavy for you to handle with the overhand grip. Make sure you’re gripping the bar properly during the deadlift. This also applies to other pulling movements. Video on that: Rip on Grip (Bonus: Gripping the bar in this manner will reduce callus formation during pull movements like the deadlift.)
When your chalked overhand grip no longer does the trick, you have three valid options: Use a mixed grip, use straps and/or use a hook grip. I’ll give you a quick breakdown of the positives/negatives of each option.
Mixed Grip: This is where one hand is in an overhand/pronated grip and the other hand is in an underhand/supinated grip. The positive is that you can pull more weight like this than with a double overhand grip. The negative is that it increases your chance of tearing a bicep.
Using Straps: This is where you’d use lifting straps to help you hang onto the barbell when weight gets too heavy for a double overhand grip (with chalk or a chalk alternative). The positive is that you can use more weight without grip being a limiting factor. You’re also much less likely to tear a bicep than you are with a mixed grip. The negative is that you’ll have to do extra grip training and that you can’t use straps in a powerlifting competition obviously.
Hook Grip: The hook grip is a very good option. The only negative aspect is that it will be painful to get used to the hook grip and it’s not too feasible for most people to use this grip on high repetition deadlift sets. I would say that it’s a valid option for pulling lower rep sets and possibly can be used in competition as well.
Below is a video from Jonnie Candito on why he thinks you should avoid the mixed grip. I say make your own decision, but make it an educated one!
I don’t pull this way, but many people do. Here are some videos relating to the sumo deadlift.
Sumo vs Conventional Deadlift from strengthcamp
How to Sumo Deadlift with Mark Bell
How to Perform Sumo Deadlifts by Bret Contreras
Trap Bar Deadlift
Again, not something I do… but it’s an option. Video: Trap Bar Deadlift from Testosterone Nation
Stiff Legged Deadlift (SLDL)
This one’s from Candito!
Other variations you might want to look into would be block pulls, rack pulls, deficit deadlift, and Romanian Deadlift.
As always, this is just my take on things. Now go rip heavy shit off the ground!