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Deadlift “Cheat Sheet”: Top 3 variations

Deadlifts are my favorite lift, no doubt about it. There is something so satisfying about lifting lifting extremely heavy objects off the ground. Even if the deadlift isn’t your bae, that fact that it makes up such a large part of your powerlifting total is a good reason to show it some love. Here is a list of my 3 favorite exercises to help get the most out of your pull (without hurting yourself!):

1.) Eccentric Tempo Deadlift

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Helpful for people who:

  • Have inconsistent starting position
  • Hips shoot up
  • Can’t get tight
  • Sumo OR Conventional

What this does:

  • Teaches good starting position
  • Strengthens stabilizing muscles

Deadlift the bar up as you normally do, using a weight a bit below your normal working weight. Slowly set the bar down so that the bar stays close to your body and ends in an optimal starting position for your next rep. Set all the weight on the ground but keep the slack in your hands, then do your next rep without repositioning. For sumo, remember knees out and scrape the shins on you way up AND down. Stay slow that last inch to the ground as it is the most important. My usual tempo is 013 or 015.

2.) Block Pulls

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Helpful for people who:

  • Have hip flexibility issues
  • Have “pooping dog butt” syndrome
  • Misgroove on heavier weights
  • Sumo

What this does:

  • Eases hips into more open position
  • Teaches good starting position
  • Allows for heavier weight to be used to encourage optimal barpath

If you cant seem to sumo deadlift off the floor without hip pain, knees caving, or back/butt rounding, block pulls allow you to practice the movement from a lessened ROM. These can also help get form optimal on an off day. Stack the blocks as high as you need to keep your shins perpendicular to the floor while touching the bar, knees out, and back flat. Over time, decrease the height of the blocks as you gain flexibility and muscle memory of the movement.

3.) Back Extension Deadlift

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Helpful for people who:

  • Have issues with lower back rounding
  • Hips shoot up
  • Don’t know how to pull the slack out of the bar
  • Sumo OR Conventional

What this does:

  • Teaches good starting position
  • Strengthens spinal erectors

The goal of this exercise is to raise the bar off the ground without extending your knees. Start with just the bar or 135lb max. Grab the bar and set your hips at the height they tend to be right before the bar breaks the ground for your deadlift. Raise the bar off the ground using only back/hip extension, while being very careful that your knees do not move and extend at all. This is how you pull slack out of the bar. With light weight, the bar will come off the ground, and with heavier working weight, this will pull the slack out and engage your back muscles prior to starting the pull with your legs. Play around with hip height to find what feels best for you. This is a great warm-up before your working deadlift sets.

Meepsquad

Author Meepsquad

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