The deadlift is becoming, or may already be, one of the most popular exercises. It’s a great multi-joint exercise, that really gives you a good bang for your buck. Working the entire posterior chain, it is sure to leave you walking a tad funny the next day. However, there a lot of things that hold you back from lifting several hundred pounds off the floor. Here are three ways to increase your deadlift.
1. Activate your glutes
Your ass is one strong muscle. Joking aside, your glutes can produce some serious force. A lot of people rely solely on the good ol’ Biceps Femoris to do the job of lifting 500lbs off the ground. Well, she’ll help out, but without the glutes involved your never going to reach your full potential. A good coaching cue I like to use is “spread the floor.” Pretend you’re standing on a piece of paper, and you want to rip that paper in half. By not only pushing your feet into the floor, but also spreading the floor, you will learn how to recruit the glutes. Accessory lifts like RDLs and Glute Ham Raises, are great ways to work the glutes. However, if you can’t activate them in a deadlift, you’re not going anywhere.
2. Develop a stronger grip
A lot of times as you’re mustering the barbell off the ground, your grip may give out before your legs do. Doing deadlifts on a regular basis will help with that, but you may also want to add some grip training to your program. Now don’t go out and buy one of the squeezy things, that crap is for the birds. I prefer doing farmer carry variations. Not only will these work your grip, but they’ll light up your core too. I did a video a while back breaking down several variations to farmers carries, check it out here:
3. Nipples up!
Now, you have to be a little careful who you say this cue to. That being said, when an athlete is struggling with getting their chest up, and shoulders back and down, this cue work 98.7% of the time. That kyphotic posture on a pull can cause some serious injury and/or pain. So with the right client, “Nipples up” works great. Another great cue, this one I got from Eric Cressey, is show me your logo. This forces them to puff that chest out, showing you there t-shirt logo. Another way to hammer the shoulders back and down, engaging the lats, is to add a band resistance. Now, when most people think of a band resistance they think of it being centrally located on the bar. Instead, try adding the band to the front, so it pulls you forward. This is primarily used as a training tool, and not for your full load. That being said, it forces you to sit back on your heels, drive your lats back, and engage the core. Check out a great video by Sam, one of our interns, breaking down the movement:
Combine all these tips, and I’m sure you will see an improvement in your deadlift. Feel free to leave any other tips you have in the comments section, and I may do a part 2 to this post.
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