There are certain exercises which are regarded as “core” ones in any serious gym routine and suffice to say, deadlifting falls right into this category.
It’s one of those exercises that most of us hate but like most of that ilk, it’s also one of the most beneficial. Such benefits include targeting some of the largest muscles in the body, as well as prompting a calorie burn that is rivalled by few other exercises when it comes to bodybuilding.
So, there’s no doubt that deadlifting is a must for the majority of bodybuilding workouts out there. Unfortunately, it’s by no means easy. It’s most definitely one of those exercises that has a “roadblock” point – the point where you just cannot surpass a certain weight.
Considering the importance of the exercise on the body, this is something that you need to avoid.
This is the reason we have put this guide together. We will now take a look at four ways to help you power through the deadlift barrier, and lift more weight than you ever have done in the past.
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Don’t underestimate a strong grip
Sure, you’re never going to deadlift for the purposes of strengthening your grip. However, the deadlift exercise relies on your grip in a lot of regards – and there is evidence to suggest that if you have a stronger one you will also lift heavier weights.
Bearing this in mind, the first step is to obviously grip the bar much harder. If there’s any sign of weakness in your grip, the lift will immediately feel much more difficult.
However, unless you have an immensely powerful grip, there’s only so far you can go. It means that you need to specifically look to strengthen your grip via separate exercises. These could involve anything from pull-ups to hangs (of both the one-arm and double variety).
Be aware of your lower body and how it is limiting the exercise
This is probably one of the more recent problems to deadlifting, and it’s all related to modern-day routines.
Now, more and more of us are sat behind desks for the bulk of a day, and this therefore causes the likes of tight hamstrings, glutes and hips.
From a deadlifting perspective, this is just asking for trouble. Flexibility in these areas is crucial if you are going to get your technique down to a tee, so try and regularly stretch these areas to ensure that your body is adequately prepped for the exercise.
Your deadlifts need to be given priority
In truth, this piece of advice could be applicable for any core exercise (we’re talking about squats and the bench press as well).
The fact that the deadlift targets so many different muscle groups immediately propels it in the priorities list. Not only that, but it also means that it’s much harder on your body as you will be working much more intensely. It’s a compound movement, and these need to be given special attention.
It means that you need to be placing the deadlift at the start of your workout. This will mean that you have more energy to carry out the movement, and therefore be able to lift heavier weights (and benefit from that elusive progression that we’re trying to teach through this article).
It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t based on myths either, various studies have shown that the order of your workout does have an impact on its effectiveness.
Your technique is more important than ever before
If you’ve conducted any sort of research on the fitness industry so far, you’ll have read all about form. It’s crucially important for any exercise, but when it comes to deadlifting this importance increases tenfold.
The deadlift is a difficult exercise to master at the best of times. It’s very easy to get wrong, and it’s very easy to succumb to injury or just tap into the wrong muscle groups. If you do fall into this group, it goes without saying that you are going to struggle to progress with your lifts.
To help with the above, try and follow the steps below to implement the perfect deadlift technique.
- Your set up for this exercise is crucial. You’ll need to stand with your feet less than shoulder-width apart, with the bar positioned against your shins (and hovering over the middle of your foot). Your shoulders also need to be in line with the bar, to make sure that the bar doesn’t need to move forward too much on the way up.
- Stand up as tall as you can, before gradually moving down towards the bar by pushing back your hips. At this point you should make sure that you don’t perform the squat movement, which is a common error.
- Your hips should move back as you lower yourself, with this prompting tightness in your hamstrings.
- Keep your head in the same position and place your hands onto the bar, in your grip of choice.
- Drive upwards with your body, making sure that you push through with your heels. You should also ensure that your hips and shoulders are working in tangent and progressing at the same speed.
- At the top of the exercise, squeeze your glutes together to complete this element of the movement.
- Now that you have got to the top, the hard work isn’t over. Don’t give in at this point, but instead break with your hips and sit back. You should be aiming to return to the exact same position you started from, with the bar sliding down your thighs to reach this.
- A final point is making sure each rep is separate. In other words, don’t try and “merge” them into one by bouncing your body – this is not going to bring any sort of progress and again increases the chance of injury. Remember, this is a “deadlift”, meaning that you are picking up a “dead” weight with no outside assistance.
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