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Deadlift 101: A beginners guide to Optimizing the Deadlift

by Atomic Strength Nutrition January 02, 2018

Deadlift 101: A beginners guide to Optimizing the Deadlift

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.


Specific Training

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.


Foot Placement

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


Taking into consideration that the deadlift is a highly anaerobic exercise and is built for total power, we should consider supplementing a substance that can help to rapidly replenish ATP stores. Our Atomic Strength Creatine Matrix is the perfect creatine that requires no loading, no deloading and causes no bloating. Find Creatine Matrix here.


Atomic Strength Nutrition
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