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

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.
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