Why the Deadlift is King

The King of All Lifts- The Deadlift

So you think you’re strong? I got one question for you…How much can you deadlift? Maybe I am a little basis because the deadlift is my favorite lift and also my best lift. Simply put, I am built to deadlift.  Last Friday was the first time I deadlifted in about 4 to 5 months and it felt f**king awesome and it inspired me to write this post.

The deadlift is the king of all lifts because it works every muscle in the body unlike any other lift.  It requires strong legs, a strong back, a strong grip and of course some mental toughness.

Some may disagree with me, but in my eyes the deadlift is the ultimate indicator of brute strength. How much weight can you pick up off the ground and lock out?

Here is a video of all 4 of my deadlift attempts at my first powerlifting meet back in December:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYxIjEVQnUo

3 Tips for a BIG Deadlift

1) Focus on your assistance exercises

For me, what really helped out my deadlift were heavy rows, heavy chin ups, RDL’s, box squats and other assistance exercises. I knew when my 1 arm db rows were increasing so would my deadlift or if my box squat was improving so would me deadlift. This leads into my next tip.

2) Don’t always deadlift

Before I pulled 575 and 600 at my first meet, I barely deadlifted. For more advanced lifters, you don’t have to deadlift all the time to increase your deadlift. Once or twice a month has worked very well for me in the past.  If you are a beginner or intermediate lifter it would be a good idea to deadlift more often to perfect your technique and increase your work capacity.

From experience I can tell you that the squat is the exact opposite for me. If I stop squatting for a considerable amount of time my squat will go way down. Funny how things work out and while this works for me, you have to find out what works for you!

3) Perfect your technique

Technique is always critical, I cannot emphasis this enough. If you are not performing big lifts like the squat, deadlift and bench press properly, not only are you leaving yourself susceptible to an injury down the road, but you will have a hard time making consistent progress.

Deadlifting for Athletes

When it comes to my athletes, deadlifting is an important part of their program. Most of the time we use the trap bar and perform deadlifts with high handles. See video below of me deadlifting 585 for a set of 3 reps.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI1ISd6So7Q

I prefer this variation for most athletes because it is much easier to learn and a lot harder to mess up. Remember, baseball players, football players etc… are not powerlifters. They do not need to train like them. While maximal strength is important, it is only one of many different components that go into their training.

For those athletes who have mastered the trap bar deadlift with high handles, we will progress to the low handles and eventually the straight bar.

For beginners, the trap bar deadlift with high handles is a must. This is my go to exercise to get my athletes strong as hell and establish a solid foundation of strength. It isn’t uncommon to have new athletes deadlift for 8-12 week blocks. My stronger athletes will do it every now and then.

 

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  • Mark P

    Great article. There’s no doubt about the deadlift being king. One question though: you say not to deadlift often in regards to developing power. What would you say to someone who wants to use the deadlift as a mass-building tool? How would you set up those parameters?

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