Deadlift 101: A beginners guide to Optimizing the Deadlift
Deadlifts are the king of all big pulling movements. In terms of muscle activation, there is no other countermovement exercise where you can load on more weight and train for pure hypertrophy. With that in mind, we must consider that with this amount of weight we can run into a injury prone situation or just plain overtraining.
To avoid injury, and optimize your client's strength potential take a look at the guide below.
The deadlift is a highly specific exercise and on a fundamental level, if you want to get better at it, you should deadlift. Use variable grips to recreate the same exercise with a slightly different stimulus. If a client has poor range of motion use a hex-bar. Using a variable load we can train deadlifts 2-3x a week without overtraining or running into injury. Accessory exercises for the deadlift are, in most cases not needed.
The placement of your feet is perhaps the most important aspect of the set-up to consider. A simple trick for placing the feet in the correct position is to test your vertical jump. Without thinking about it, attempt a vertical jump - the position at which your feet are placed prior to your jump is where our feet should be for your deadlift.
This foot position should be used as frequently as possible to provide consistency and strength. It should be noted that there is no need to externally rotate the feet - this will only serve as an avenue for injury in the deadlift.
Accessory work - and top ROM
In most cases accessory work on the deadlift is not needed - yet, this is assuming that the client has a great bottom and top ROM.
A hip bridge should be considered as an accessory exercise for the top range of motion on the deadlift. Keep in mind that we are generally training the deadlift in a 3-5 Rep Scheme - training the hip bridge should be no different.
Overload for Strength
The principle of overload is the most effective way to ensure adaption in the deadlift. Assuming your client has great form, a strong upper back and great grip strength the only way to progress is to strengthen the posterior chain.
This system is more specifically referred to as the Superficial Back line and is responsible for Hip extension and Knee Flexion and Spine Extension.
Overloading this system is can be completed using a simple pyramid scheme. Here is an example below. Utilizing a clean grip also provides us with a transferable movement that will help to strengthen our start-range for a clean.
Clean Grip Deadlifts with Chains
Workout 1: 5,5,4,4,3,3,1,1 @30X0
Workout 2: 5,4,3,3,2,2,2,1 @30X0