The deadlift is probably my favourite exercise ever. It hits everything and you can’t cheat it like a heavy squat or bench press. It’s you versus the weight. Not everyone can or should be deadlifting from the floor, but everyone should be doing some kind of deadlift. The trick is finding the option that’s right for you.
For some people, there isn’t enough hip flexion to allow a good set up for a deadlift from the floor ,so in order to get there, the lumbar spine needs to flex to allow it. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you can brace adequately, it’s not always ideal. Removing the need to lift from the floor, which is only set by the fairly arbitrary height of the plates you lift with, removes the need for compensation for the lack of hip flexion. Which brings us to our first deadlift variation, the rack pull.
You can adjust the height you pull from to find the lowest position you can safely pull from, just have a trainer check your form from the side to make sure you are able to maintain a solid neutral spine. These can also be done with a kettlebell as an intro to deadlifting.
Another great option for both beginners and more advanced folks is the suitcase deadlift. The set up is similar –
- neutral spine,
- hips back
- KB just outside the foot and slightly behind the armpit
Not only does it help groove the deadlift pattern, but it also adds an anti rotation component working the abs and opposite side obliques like crazy to maintain a solid position.
Finally, the full deadlift if you have the required mobility and strength to maintain neutral position through the hips and low back.
- Stay tight, brace hard through your mid section and lock down your lats
- Get a big belly full of air, breathe out hard hard at the top
- Get your hips through as quick as you can
- Think about pushing the ground away instead of lifting the weight up