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

Owner and Founder at PowerRackStrength.com
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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