One of the most impressive sights in a gym is when you see a massive deadlift. You hear the groan as the weight lifts off, a roar of victory, followed by a mammoth slam as the weight returns to the floor.
You feel like a monster. Your friends look at you like a monster. It’s raw, primal power.
Whether you want to test the limits of your mortal strength or you just want to improve your core and functional strength, there are proven ways to increase your deadlift max.
Improving your deadlift has also shown an indirect benefit to nearly all major olympic lifts. Here’s how to improve your deadlift, and increase functional strength without getting hurt.
Just Deadlift More Often, Right?
When you’re trying to improve strength for a specific lift, the gains are going to be incremental and will begin to diminish as you reach your potential. You’ll see 20% strength gains in the first few months, and only 1-5% gains in subsequent months.
If you’re new to deadlifting and there’s plenty of low hanging fruit in respect to gaining strength, all you have to do is deadlift. Just deadlift every week and you’ll get considerably stronger.
When you get closer to your full strength potential, you’ll need to focus on supplementary training to improve muscle groups that indirectly influence the deadlift.
So, in the beginning you can get away with just deadlifting every week. In subsequent months, you’ll need to work on leg drive, grip strength and your core to continue raising up that weight total.
Form, Form, Form
When you’re talking about moving large amounts of weight, form should be at the top of your list of priorities. Proper deadlift form can dramatically increase your power with a few small adjustments.
Using proper form will also prevent lengthy injuries that can keep you out of the gym for months. Take this lift seriously, especially when you venture into the higher end of your maximum weight range. There are few lifts with the potential to cause as much muscle and joint damage like a heavy deadlift.
Always use a well fitted back support, and consider using wrist and knee braces when lifting heavy.
Here’s the form you’re aiming for:
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Training Volume, and Maxing Out
The volume you’ll be able to handle each week is going to vary. Some people can handle 12 sets of back work, and others will need to work up to that level.
A good strength routine on the deadlift is as follows:
Set 1: 10 reps, 60% max weight (warm up set)
2: 8 reps, 70% Max weight
3-6: 6 reps, 85% Max weight (working sets)
On the first working set, it should feel challenging but not incredibly difficult. It’s the fifth and sixth set, that the work is put in. It should feel quite difficult to complete your final reps on set five and six.
If it’s too easy, and you’re not struggling to reach the end of the rep range, it’s time to add more weight.
The goal is to improve each week. The improvement doesn’t need to be earth shattering either. It could be just one rep, or one pound. Get better, and push yourself every week.
Over time, the accumulation of small weekly gains will equal large strength improvements.
How often should you max out?
Not as often as you’d think. Once a month is good enough to give yourself time to get stronger between max out days. It also provides your joints, muscles and tendons ample time to heal.
On the day you max out make sure you’re well rested, and not just your back. You’ll want your supplementary pulling muscles groups at full strength as well. If your legs, shoulders, or biceps are really sore it will inhibit your maximum strength output on the deadlift.
See Also: How to get bigger calves
Supplementary training is for improving strength and not aesthetics. So no bodybuilding routines. You’re interested in lifting heavy, and only once a week. It isn’t something you’ll want to do everyday for high reps.
Yeah, I giggled too when someone told me I could improve my deadlift by improving my leg strength. Even though the deadlift is a back lift, your leg drive aids in lift off and stability.
If your grip is a real weak point and it’s limiting your progress, you can use straps until you gain more grip strength. You’ll want to bring your grip strength up to par by adding in additional grip training every week.
Trust me, it makes a huge difference.
Heavy Barbell Shrugs
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