Deadlift Assistance Work

Elliott Hulse from strengthcamp posted a video today about two powerful deadlift isolation movements that will improve your posture, set a great foundation that will allow for a mechanically sound deadlift movement pattern, and one of them (the underhand static barbell hold) will also improve your grip strength. Below is the video.

The movement he demonstrates in the video is basically a Prone Cobra, which you can do daily. The underhand static hold with a barbell he also describes (but doesn’t show in this particular video) will be a little more taxing on your grip, so I tend to do those once a week on a day when I don’t deadlift. For me, this is squat day.

To go along with all of that, I’ve put together a very quick list of some deadlift assistance movements that have been helpful to myself and might also benefit you. Read my Deadlift 101 article for a basic rundown of the barbell deadlift basics first, then add these movements into your assistance work at your own discretion.


The Front Squat

The front squat is my favorite compound assistance movement for both the deadlift and back squat, because it forces you into a position that requires good hip mobility, good thoracic flexiblity and generally good posture overall. It’s an up-and-down movement, whereas you sit back somewhat with the back squat (moreso with a low bar squat, but also with an Olympic style high bar squat), and with the bar loaded on the front it really puts a lot of stress on your anterior core (your abs) to keep an upright torso. Hip mobility – and also ankle mobility – are tested by this movement too, because the legs have to go somewhere, when you’re squatting straight down.

The result is that people with poor posture are generally unable to front squat properly. It quickly teaches you where you’re f#cked up. There are a couple paragraphs and videos about the front squat in my Squat 101 article, which I would suggest you read. For this particular article today, I’ll leave you with a basic tutorial video for the front squat.


The Cable Pull Through

It makes your glutes and hamstrings stronger.


Glute Ham Raise

It (also) makes your glutes and hamstrings stronger.


Good Morning

Jordan Syatt actually did a great article about this exercise here. I also like the band good morning shown below.


Hip Thrust

The barbell hip thrust is another great way to target your glutes (and the rest of your posterior chain). I’ll let Kellie Davis teach you about them.

The short bridge is like a body weight hip thrust, which you can pretty much do every day. The barbell hip thrust will be more taxing. Get your hump on!


Ab Wheel Rollout

A stronger anterior core can help build a stronger deadlift.

Bro science ‘proof’ that ab wheel rollouts work: Here we have Konstantin Konstantinov doing ab wheel rollouts with weight on his back. And here we have Konstantin Konstantinov deadlifting 413kg/910lbs without a belt.


Standing Cable Crunch

Another great ab exercise. They’re Jonnie Candito‘s favorite ab exercise for a reason!


Obviously, all sorts of rows will have tons of carryover to your deadlift as well, but the exercises above are some you may not have thought about yet. As always, this is all just my opinion. Do what you think is best for you!