Dead lifting… Who Knew

by Joe Lawrence | June 2nd, 2016 | Strength Training, Upper Body
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dead lift (400x400)About five years ago I discovered the best exercise ever. I had always heard about it, but never tried it. I am not sure if it was fear, intimidation, or whatever; however, I just never attempted it. Now, it is one of my favorite exercises of all time: dead lifts.

Dead lifts work a lot of muscles and can be incorporated into almost any workout, but I do them on back day. In fact, them and pull ups make up about 80% of my back exercises. One reason is they do not work out the biceps and I do back and biceps on the same day. The other reason is they are awesome!

With just a little bit of coordination and small tweaks, I started off at 225 and got up to 405 within six weeks. I felt like a champion stud walking out knowing I just did reps with that much iron. Not only that, I started to notice faster gains in other exercises too. My benching felt stronger and gains were made there too.

The key thing to consider when doing dead lifts is to start off very light until you have the technique down. If you try to go heavy to fast, you can injure yourself very easily.

The stance: place your feet roughly shoulder width apart and your toes under the bar. Your elbows will be on the outside of your knees, so not too wide on the stance. Bend over keeping your back perfectly straight and parallel-ish to the floor. Bend your knees enough to get your hands on the bar.

Hands: Get a solid grasp on the bar. I like to do one hand over and one hand over. My left hand palm facing down and the right hand palm facing up (I switch this every set). Use gloves if you are going heavy, because it will tear up your hands pretty quickly.

The rep: I lower my body about five to six inches from my original stance and focus on keeping the back very straight. I breathe in very deeply and stand up straightening out my legs first and then my back. Force your breath out as you are getting to the full up position. Hold it for a three count and then reverse the order to the down position. Remember technique is vital and you may have to take a few seconds to reset your stance each time. That is fine! Do not rush this exercise just to get your rep count up. Trust me if it takes you ten minutes to complete a set, you are still getting a great workout.

A couple of extras:

Wraps – some people like to use wrist wraps that you can wrap around the bar to help you grip the weight. I am not a big fan, but they do help your grip.

Shins – you will probably hit them as you stand….a bunch. Some people use shin guards. That is your call.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.