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This week we will cover some more basics and accessories that I find beneficial for building up the deadlift.

Each of us have different sticking points on the deadlift, some have bother with breaking the bar off the floor, for others the lift fails around the knee or at lockout. 

We use accessories and different variations of the deadlift to build up strength at each sticking point so you can overcome that plateau.

1. Weak Off The Floor

There can be a number of reasons for this issue, from just not being strong enough to move the weight or bad technique. For example,what can happen for some people is their hips will shoot up, pushing there shoulders in front of the bar creating a impossible starting position. It can also be due to having a weak core, glute/hamstrings & quads which isn’t helping you with leg drive from the floor.

A variation that can help you overcome this sticking point is pulling from a small deficit. Which can help you get a little more leg drive by having to go down further to the bar. A common variation that people always say helps with speed off the floor but also helps with lockout as you are making the movement longer from start to finish. I would also add in extra core work and heavy leg presses to get leg strength & drive built up.

2. Failing At The Knees

When the bar is furthest away from you the likely hood of you failing is higher and can usually be attributed to weakness in the glutes and low back. Variations to help with this would be rack or block pulls starting from mid shin or lower. I would also add in accessories like stiff leg deadlifts, dimmel deadlifts, GHR & reverse hypers. There’s a lot of accessories you can do if you pick the ones you hate most you’ll probably improve quicker.. You usually hate them for a reason! 

 3. Missing At Lockout 

This can be down to a poor starting position or weak glutes. If the starting position is good it will always make finishing the lift easier, some people are already straightened up when the bar passes the knee not letting them push there hips/glutes forward into the bar to make lockout easier. Bad position leaves you trying to pull the weight up your thighs using only the back or trying to hitch the weight up your thighs. (Awful form not allowed in powerlifting is unfortunately in strongman) You could use rack pulls above the knees to try help this as long as you remember to push hips forward to create the lockout. So as soon as the bar breaks the rack you’re pulling back and pushing hips forward into the bar at the same time. I would work these with reps and make sure you’re feeling your glutes working.

When it comes to accessories I suggest doing heavy kettle bell swings, pull throughs and reverse hyper with the strap higher up on the leg to target the glutes more will help. Check out your starting position, if you can get better positioning from the floor your lockout should also improve easily. Give some of these variations and accessories a go for a few weeks and see how they feel. Building any lift takes patience so these aren’t a one stop quick fix.

Next time I will cover how you can incorporate bands and different accessories into your deadlift training to help build a stronger posterior chain & deadlift. 

Yours in strength 

Peter Bremner 

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