Monday, August 4, 2008


photo credit here:

What is the most intense weight lifting technique? Which exercise, that is a must in your routine, makes you go into each workout dreading those grueling several sets almost enough to make you not go to the gym in the first place!

For myself it is the deadlift. The straight up and down deadlift. The most neanderthal-like lift of them all! All you have to do is bend over and pick up the heaviest weight that you can muster for a few measly reps! And if you are doing them properly you are most likely going to end up with bloody shins at the end of the workout.

If you use straps you are missing out on some great forearm development, but the load that your legs and back can tolerate is going to overpower your forearms everytime. Chalk helps, but it is not always available in many gyms; especially those lousy classy ones with carpet on the floor! Plus, if the knurling is any good on the bar it will probably tear the skin right off of your hands as the reps accumulate and the poundages increase. If you choose to use a belt make sure that you are not using it all the time as it may turn into a crutch.

So yes the lift is mindless, it doesn't make you pretty and your significant other will probably complain about your massive calluses, but that's not why you do deadlifts...

You do them because they are the most ancient on all lifts, it was the first lift ever to be done and it is the most basic and functionally useful lift of them all. They might not make your biceps peak, chest explode or get you more noticed at the beach. But if you put in the time and effort into this lift, grind away week after week, you will no doubt see marked improvements in all of your lower and upper body exercises as well as your overall explosive power!

I have experimented with various rep schemes doing deadlifts; all the way from several sets of singles all the way up to 20 plus reps, lately I have found that you can get just as much done with 5 reps than with any amount of reps higher than that. I find that five is a nice efficient round number and very easy to get psyched up for. Pyramid up in weight for about 5 or 6 sets always sticking with 5 reps, this is great for both strength and bodybuilding. But hey, if your feeling up to it, be like Ronnie and pull a double or single on your last set to really build up your strength, along with your ego!

I won't bore you with the technique details, because there are tonnes of websites and books detailing the technique in plenty of detail. The best things to remember is to keep that bar along your body throught the entire lift, arms straight, lift with your legs and control the rep on the way down so that you don't bounce the weight off of the ground between reps. This should help keep the lift as safe as possible

The reps may come grudgingly and painfully slow at times, but don't quit your sets until you get your 5 reps, so pick your weight carefully and keep the form tight with your lower back arched through all of your reps.

Here is how not to do the lift:

In the end you may have a love-hate relationship with this lift, so learn to love the pain and make it the cornerstone of your routine!

What is the most intense part of your routine?

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