Elite PowerBuilding brings athletes optimal strength and size gains in minimal time. We’re interested in making athletes bigger, stronger and more durable in as little time as possible, all while never plateauing. In our pursuit of doing so we thought we would offer up some priceless tips to building a bad ass deadlift. Here’s our top five for making this happen within the month.
1. Perfect your optimal setup
Setup for the deadlift determines how the rest of the lift will go. Bar path, speed of the lift in various portions and even which muscles will be engaged.
There’s two different stances for the deadlift: conventional and sumo. (Sumo is cheating, powerlifters are fat) Whichever stance you choose, there are a few things that remain necessary regardless.
Make your shins vertical. If you look down and see your knees are pushing forward or there is anything other than a 90 degree angle between your shin and the ground YOU ARE LOSING POWER! Just like the forearms in the bench press, the shins in the deadlift must be straight up and down for maximal force production.
Feel the tension in your hamstrings (like a stretch), then engage your quads. This will load your posterior chain and let the synergistic muscle groups contribute without overriding the glutes and hamstrings.
To achieve this, I like to follow these steps:
- hide the knots of your shoe laces with the bar while looking straight down.
- With straight legs and without moving the bar, lean over and take your grip.
- Feel the tension in the hamstrings, without moving the bar bend the knees and bring your shins to the bar, squeeze your quads and back into good position.
Keep your setup short in time. Practice the setup until it becomes second nature to you. You should know what positions to hit and when. If you stay in those loaded or stretched positions for too long, your ability to explode off of the ground will be shot. Be the quick, be the precise, be the barbell.
2. Increase your lat and mid back strength
Ain’t nobody got time for weak ass lats! If you want your deadlift to increase but have the upper back of a 12 year old computer geek, you’re not going to get very far. The Lats are involved in every major lift you can think of. They make up the largest portion of your back and are a POWERFUL tool for developing strength.
Do your rows, do them as much as you want to do Celine Dione and then do them more. No grip or exercise is better for developing back strength. I’m of the opinion that reps are king here.
Heavy first, pump second. Go for movements that will tax you neurologically and then get some blood flow to the muscle groups. This is conventional thinking. I love training this way because it feels good. You know what doesn’t feel good? GROWTH. Growth hurts like hell. Try switching this up every once in a while… get a lat boner going and then hit some real heavy lat movements. You’ll be sore. Extremely sore. Thank us later.
3. Get explosive
Throw explosive movements into your lower body training days ASAP. High box jumps, max effort broad jumps, cleans, snatches etc. Use chains, use bands, lift with speed through the ascent of every lift.
Not only will this style of training tax you in ways you haven’t been previously, but it will increase your ability to distribute force efficiently and quickly through your feet. If you can make this happen, your deadlift will benefit immensely. At EPB we train explosively with one of the big lifts every week, and since doing so we’ve seen our clients improve their general speed in every lift. As speed increases, the ability to move maximal weight does too and that’s what we want.
Avoid going through the range of motion without purpose. Actively check during each repetition which muscles you’re engaging and when. Start to do this quickly and your strength will benefit from the “mind-muscle” nervous system connection. Plus nobody wants slow turtle hips in the bedroom. If your lady starts looking into tantric sex because you’re so slow, you know what to work on…..
4. Build your wheels
Undoubtedly, the hamstrings and quads increase the deadlift the most as they get stronger. People often ask how often they can train legs. Train your legs as fast as they can recover. Train them in all disciplines.
Go for movements that will have broad impact. I like single leg movements because they focus on building individual strength and don’t allow the body to take over on the stronger side. Bulgarian split squats, Cossacks, Walking lunges, Weighted box step ups.. You name it. We regularly program this work in to our EPB training program.
Use the trick we talked about with the lats. Every once in a while, get a big sexy pump before training heavy. I recently failed an air squat at the end of a leg session. That was a good day. Make a conscious effort to grow your legs. Not only will this effect the deadlift but it will help with almost every other lift you do.
5. Increase your aggression
I want my athletes to attack the gym. Please, stop showing up and relying on pre-workout to get you into the right mindset. Of course there will be days where your body is run down, but if your mind isn’t ready to train you shouldn’t train.
Show up every day chomping at the bit to get better. Do everything aggressively. Stop with the beta male bullshit. You can tell even in a warm up if an athlete will ever be as strong or aesthetic as they want. This is business… show up to train and train as hard as you can.
This doesn’t mean don’t have fun. The gym should be a good time, but during sets you should be committing every ounce to bettering yourself. The mind is a powerful tool here.
Hopefully you’ll put these tips into effect yesterday. Keep in mind our program has all of these aspects of training built in for you. Easy to follow and guided video, OH YEAH AND ITS FREE. Let’s get strong!