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4 Tips to Improve Your Deadlift

It’s a simple lift to do, but it’s far from easy. These four tips can help you get the most out of the deadlift.
The bench press might be the most popular big lift and the squat might be the best lower body lift, but the king of all lifts is the deadlift. It challenges the whole body and is an elite mass building movement. If you want to maximize your potential in strength, size, performance, or all of the above, you should work on your deadlift. Take these four tips under advisement to pack the plates on the bar and achieve your best pull possible.

Work with BOTH Stances

There are two major stances to performing the deadlift. They are the conventional and sumo stances. Conventional is where your feet are shoulder width apart, and sumo is with your feet wider apart (like a sumo wrestler’s stance). Athletes generally will find which one works best for them and stick with it, but this is the wrong approach. You should work with both stances so you can maximize your potential. Some powerlifters will train with both stances in cycles by performing the stance they are weaker on for 8-12 weeks before returning to their stronger stance. More often than not, the result is an even better number since they worked muscles with the opposite stance in a way they wouldn’t with their stronger stance.

Perform It the Same Way Every Time

When a basketball player warms up, they shoot their shot with the same form they would in a game. You should take this same approach with your lifts. You should take care to walk up to the bar, plant your feet, take your grip, and lift with the same cadence and steps every single time. This should be done with your warm up reps as well as when you perform your work sets. Practicing your approach can make you more comfortable in all aspects of the lift which can result in improved performance when it comes time to perform your big lift.

Keep That Bar Close

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. When you lock out on the deadlift, the bar is right against your body. So it should make sense that you want the bar next to your body when you begin the lift as well. You should position yourself so that the bar is right next to or even touching your shins. As you’re pulling up, your upper body should be over the bar. As the bar reaches your knees, you should pull those hips forward and stick that chest out so the bar stays close. That way, you can use as much force as you can generate to lock out.

Don’t Downplay Assistance Exercises

You need to do more than simply deadlift over and over to get better. Assistance exercise can help isolate certain muscle groups so you can get stronger and help them work together. Good mornings work the entire posterior chain, pull-throughs are great for the hips and glutes, lying leg curls hit the hamstrings, and rack pulls can help you improve on the lock out. There are other great assistance movements out there so you can find which ones work best for you and add them to your own plan.