Quick Tip #4: 5 Things DEADLIFT I Wish I Knew Years ago

By: Brian Carroll

I’m going to throw out 5 deadlift tips at you that I would have benefited from knowing years ago. How many of you started deadlifting without a damn idea what you were doing other than “grab bar, pick up bar, drop bar, hold lower back in pain”?

1. Do not watch yourself in the mirror while pulling. Much like the squat, if you’re laboring away in a health club/commercial gym make sure you face away from the mirror. It will kill your posture, and possibly distract you; which can get you injured. The mirror is worthless for lifters. If you have to face a mirror don’t look forward, look up toward where the mirror meets the ceiling.

2. Squeeze the bar off the floor. DO NOT JERK THE BAR! Load the bar, pull the slack out and then drive your heels through the floor with your hips. If you pull sumo, spread the floor with your feet. Arch, drive your heels, stay tight, and lock out. Be patient. Think “lifters wedge” (see video below).

3. Don’t bounce the bar during reps; every rep you reset and pull another single. You don’t have to walk away from it or even reset your grip; just don’t bounce the damn bar. Bouncing reps for your main lift will do absolutely nothing when it is time to pull heavy. At times, reps with a bounce can be used as assistance work or similar to Romanians, but as a rule of thumb not for your main work.

4. Squeeze your glutes. Ever see the person who misses the deadlift 2” from lockout? It happens quite a bit, doesn’t it? A secret to that little last bit of hip finish is simply squeezing your ass as hard as you can. By doing this, you will finish those deadlifts without hitching. Once the bar crosses the knee, focus on that and you will be surprised how the pounds go on the bar.

5. Experiment with your grip. Grip where it feels the most comfortable and start there. I suggest starting with an over/under grip. Make sure to rotate your over/under hands to avoid a muscular imbalance on one side of your back. I highly suggest everyone try hook grip at one time or another. It works well for a few and can really shorten your pulling distance, not to mention it is better for your back.

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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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