Deadlifting: Robert O’s deadlifting comment

Deadlifting: “Brian, what do you think about Robert Oberst.”

I must get this deadlifting question about once a week. “Brian, have you seen this Strongman guy say deadlifts are bad? What are your thoughts?

He’s not all wrong about deadlifts.

He’s not wrong on some things, while he is wrong about the NFL and deadlifting. I’ve coached NFL players at their team training centers on the deadlift. Saying pro athletes only hang clean and such is not true. I’ve even done a full seminar where I helped coach the NFL strength coaches on the squat, bench, and deadlift. Injury Resiliency Summit – PFSCCA 2018, Red Rock in Vegas. Why; some of their athletes deadlift. A Picture of the coaches invited is shown below.

Teaching deadlifting to strength coaches

Coaches from the 2018 Injury Resilience Summit in Vegas

They don’t lift from the floor.

The key is most NFL players don’t pull from the floor often, if at all. Instead, they use a trap bar elevated for the deadlift, which is safer for me. But, remember, they are million-dollar athletes and must be treated as such. They are not powerlifters! So, I agree with much of what he is saying. However, each exercise must have a specific purpose.

How should one lift?

One should ask themself first, “will a deadlift help me be a better athlete?”  If the answer is yes, what are the sport’s demands? If they align with deadlifting and are an athlete (not a powerlifter), I would suggest using either a trap bar or an elevated trap bar to decrease the range of motion. In my experience, most people get hurt from 1. bad form off the floor and 2. lifting too heavy. So I would have the athlete most likely deadlift sub-maximally and work on the form of the lift, especially if they are newer to the lift.

In my co-authored book Gift of Injury with Dr. McGill, we discuss why the million-dollar athletes should not squat deep, and to a box instead, as well as why athletes should elevate their deadlifts. We also cover the form of the big lifts, the approach, and the mindset.

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Brian Carroll

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Brian is a retired world-class powerlifter with over two decades of world-class powerlifting. From 1999 to 2020, Brian Carroll was a competitive powerlifter, one of the most accomplished lifters in the sport's history. Brian started off competing in bench press competitions 'raw,' then, shortly into the journey, he gravitated toward equipped lifting as there were no "raw" categories then. You only had to choose from single-ply (USPF) and Multi-ply (APF/WPC). Brian went on to total 2730 at 275 and 2651 at 242 with more than ten times his body weight in three different classes (220, 242, 275), and both bench pressed and deadlifted over 800 pounds in two other weight classes. He's totaled 2600 over 20 times in 2 different weight classes in his career. With 60 squats of 1000lbs or more officially, this is the most in powerlifting history, regardless of weight class or federation, by anyone not named David Hoff. Brian realized many ups and downs during his 20+ years competing. After ten years of high-level powerlifting competition and an all-time World Record squat at 220 with 1030, in 2009, Brian was competing for a Police academy scholarship. On a hot and humid July morning, Brian, hurdling over a barricade at 275lbs, landed on, fell, and hurt his back. After years of back pain and failed therapy, Brian met with world-renowned back specialist Prof McGill in 2013, which changed his trajectory more than he could have imagined. In 2017, Brian Carroll and Prof McGill authored the best-selling book about Brian's triumphant comeback to powerlifting in Gift of Injury. Most recently (10.3.20) -Brian set the highest squat of all time (regardless of weight class) with 1306 lbs – being the first man to break the 1300lb squat barrier at a bodyweight of 303 lbs.
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