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The "Do You Even Deadlift" Clinic
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StrikeBack Offline
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RE: The "Do You Even Deadlift" Clinic
The Deadlift Lift-Off

After such an elaborate setup, we're ready to lift the bar off the ground!

Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of deadlifters: back dominant and leg/hip dominant. Huge weights have been lifted either way, and a back dominant lifter will use plenty of legs and hips, and vice versa. The key difference between the two types is how they get the weight off the ground, for that is the hardest part in the deadlift.

A back dominant lifter uses, well, a lot of back. They tend to set up in a position that puts the back to its best use (if they set up well that is). You will see a rather violent "yank" through the back on the bar, and their back typically will round a bit. It is the easier to learn way on how to pick up a heavy weight off the ground. You see it even in everyday people who bend over and pick up, say, a box.

The deadlift taught by Rippetoe and others, very common in the Anglosphere, is a back dominant technique. This is what I started out with. After my injury and realising that I have a weak back and bad leverage to be a back dominant lifter, I wanted to change my technique so that I'd use my strength in abs and legs to get the bar off the ground. This is what I will show you here. It will be a conventional deadlift technique, and while the sumo one is very similar, it has some unique differences, which I'll cover in a future post.

Please note that you will still use plenty of back in my setup, but the muscle intention (to borrow a term from bodybuilding) is to use the abs and legs (quads/ankle flexion in particular) to get the bar off the ground. Those muscle groups work harder so your back doesn't have to do everything. If they fail (i.e a failed deadlift), they will do so way before your back hits breaking point.

Here's the lift-off:

* Take a sharp breath of air into your abs and low back - think down and out (diaphragmatic breathing) - do not breathe into your chest or your shoulders will rise and thus loosen up your tight setup
* Simultaneously, these things happen:
- Your quads flex
- Your feet press hard down to the ground, the most pressure is under the big toe
- Your knees press slightly inwards
- You feel a violent explosion in your abs, which break the belt (yes I recommend wearing one) in all directions (360 degree)
- With this explosion, you hit the bar hard and break it off the ground
* Don't think about using your back at any point. Your back simply forms a plank here, and you are leg pressing the ground a way
* As the bar travels up passing the knees, keep the quads flex tight.
* The moment the bar passes the knees, slam your glutes through (think the violent hip snap in a KB swing), tuck your butt under (or posterior-tilt your pelvis). The intention is to wedge your lower body between the bar and the ground.
* Pull your chin back (give yourself a double chin) to force a neutral spine, and lock out the weight with authority.
* There is a slight lean back as you come to the top, simply due to balance (with a heavy weight slightly in front of your centre of balance)


This setup and lift-off is similar to what you would do in a tug of war, or pulling a car with a rope. You don't yank on the rope with your back to get things going, right? No, first you pull the slack out of the rope, brace your body tight against the ground, your torso is like a plank, then you drive your legs hard against the ground violently to get the object (car or opponents in tug of war) moving. That's the feeling you want to aim for.

The lift-off happens when your body is in the ideal starting position described earlier. However, you can enter this position in a few different ways:

1: pull straight up from the ideal starting position
2: enter the starting position dynamically via a hip kick i.e you slightly raise your butt backwards, then come down to hit the bar hard the moment your body is in the starting position
3: enter the starting position dynamically by rolling the bar forward then back towards you; you meet the bar in the starting position with the above hip kick, and lift off
4: come down into the starting position, grip the bar in an instant and go.

I recommend starting your training with #1, then eventually trying #2, as #2 is stronger. #2 also is more repeatable, as you can do rep after rep with it.

You will only see #3 and #4 in powerlifting competitions, they're for 1RM attempts. High risk but potentially can get you a few extra kilos.

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(This post was last modified: 04-15-2015 07:01 AM by StrikeBack.)
04-15-2015 06:54 AM
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RE: The "Do You Even Deadlift" Clinic - StrikeBack - 04-15-2015 06:54 AM

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