3 Keys to a 600+ Pound Deadlift
If your deadlift is lagging, you need to read this article!! As a powerlifter competing in the 198 class, I have compiled three elite totals in my short time . My best lift is the deadlift, pulling 650 at 198 conventional and sumo. I want to share some advice and key tips that you can use to strengthen your deadlift. After all, don’t you know? The deadlift is king of all the lifts, having the biggest power transfer of the big three lifts. Being able to produce force against the ground and push off is a major key . It doesn’t matter if you are running , jumping etc ..your ground force production is extremely important. This also ties into absolute strength , but that article is for another time!
Tip #1 Deficit Deadlifts
When doing any deadlift programming, you need to assess your weak points. For example, many people struggle with getting the bar off the floor or they get stuck at the knees. Figure out what your issue is, and work on it. The answer is usually always more glutes/low back and hamstrings . In your training I highly recommend incorporating deficit deadlifts. Deficit deadlifts help you create more leg drive off the floor . Start out with a 1-3 inch deficit if you are going to add these in. If you have bands, you can add them for some accommodating resistance. In the time I spent at Westside Barbell, Louie Simmons was very pro deficit deadlifts. So if you are on the fence, there is your answer.
Tip #2 Accessory Movements
Accessory movements must be key in your training! But not just any accessory will do! As I mentioned above, you must assess where you are weak and focus on that muscle group . I am going to share with you a couple of my favorite accessory movements to push your deadlift.
1.) arched back good mornings with a medium to wide stance
2.) rounded back good mornings with a medium to wide stance
3.) seated good mornings
These are 3 of my favorite variations , because each one teaches you to strain in a different way . So in return it’s like a bench press , you work your sticking points . Make sense ?? Well you need to do the same on your deadlifts! Perform these exercises with 8-10 reps (moderate -heavy weight ). These can also be subbed in on a max effort lower day in place of a deadlift for that week.
Lastly, my two favorite accessory movements are the reverse hyper and back extension (GHD). The reverse hyper is famous for decompressing the spine and allowing spinal fluid to reach the muscles of the low back. It is a huge tool to build a strong posterior chain. The reverse hyper can be utilized to build strength and restoration. My suggestion is to incorporate the reverse hyper for 8-10 reps at (35% of your max deadlift or back squat) on lighter days. On heavier days, utilize the reverse hyper at the end of your workout for 15-25 reps at 20-30% of your 1 RM(squat /deadlift). I like to superset back extensions with the hyper. So on the heavy day with the reverse hyper, I would do bodyweight back extensions/banded leg curls for reps of 20-30. On heavy back extension days I use weight I can get for 8-12 reps and utilize the lighter percentage on the hyper those days. See the trend here? I hope this helps!
BRACING and set up !!
This last tip is huge! It can make or break the lift!
When setting up, sumo or conventional, it doesn’t matter, you must set up and get tight. This means locking the lats into position (bending the bar ). Secondly you must fill your stomach up with air and push against the belt. The lower abs play a huge role in the speed off the floor . Lastly when you are committing to the deadlift you must think, "less of a pull and more of a push". If you go up and yank the bar you take away all of the tightness and that puts more pressure on the wrong muscles . If you fill your stomach up, lock the lats in, and push the floor away you will notice a huge difference. Deadlifting is all about leverages and being mechanically efficient. Along with these tips, do not neglect your speed work! Bar speed is absolutely crucial! Speed deadlifts should be added in once a week and the percent should stay at 40%. I hope these tips helped you! Now lets fix that deadlift!
I have left a sample 4 week deadlift program below
Sumo or conventional deadlift
5 rep max off a 2 inch deficit
(Opposite of what you pull )
Example: Sumo deadlift
Does narrow Stance good mornings 4-5 sets 8-12 reps
Conventional = widestance good mornings 4-5 sets 8-12 reps
Sumo or conventional
3 rep max off a 1 inch deficit
Then 5 sets of 2 reps paused at knees (no deficit )
Seated good mornings
3-5 sets 8-10 reps
Sumo or conventional
2 rep max off a 3 inch deficit
Back down sets
4 sets of 6 reps (70% off a 1 inch deficit )
Pull to a 1 rep max off a 2 inch deficit
Good mornings (variation based on weakness )
Lighter weight (higher reps )12-20 reps