Posts Tagged ‘deadlift’

Recently we held a powerlifting competition at our training facility. Nothing too big but more of an intra-club meet for athletes and clients to see where they are at with their lifts.

We did four different lifts including deadlifts, squats, bench press and three rep chin ups. The first three lifts are probably pretty straight forward but the last one is unique. For the 3 rep chin up it was the most load you could strap to your body, with a vest or belt, and complete 3 chin ups. For what it’s worth the winner was 307 lbs.

But for this post I want to talk  to you about deadlifting. And this is because a number of observations came through after the meet that are important to share with you. So here are 3

Washed up s&c coach pulling 405 lbs

Not So Common Deadlift Considerations.

1. Your Body Type Matters

Some people are natural deadlifters and others are not. A big part of this has to do with the length of our limbs and our body type. If you are someone who has a long torso and long arms you won’t have to hinge as much as someone with a short torso. Having to move a weight less can be seen as an advantage.

Additionally certain body types are better suited for different type of deadlifts. Are you highly mobile through the hips and pelvis? You might be better suited for a conventional deadlift.

Or maybe you’re not that mobile and would be better suited to a trap bar deadlift which allows more play at the knee during the movement.

And if you’re somewhere in the middle maybe you’d benefit by trying a sumo-style deadlift.

The key here is to figure out what lift suits your body type and mobility. While there is benefit to changing up the routine and using a variety of lifts and set ups it’s important to realize that you will get the best results by going with what suits you naturally.

2. You Can’t Grip It and Rip It

I remember this a while ago where someone was talking about how inexperienced lifters will ‘grip it and rip it’ when it comes to their deadlifts. What this means is that they quickly drop down to grab the bar and stand up to complete the lift.

While this can appear impressive to the lay person what it tells me and that there is more potential to be had. And it also tells me that injury is just around the corner.

There is no squeezing of the lats. The neck is not packed. The knees are not dialed out. The chest is collapsed. The hips are too high.

And this is just on the set up to pull. Things quickly go south as the movement begins. But when the bar ends up held at the top of the thighs the athlete feels that everything must be ok as they ‘completed’ the lift. I use quotation marks for completed because a lift should always be with the best of technique. Unfortunately if we move the bar from A to B technique gets ignored and is replaced by high 5s from training partners for pulling a PB.

3. It’s Not Just a Pull

This point ties in with the last one. Inexperienced lifters will quickly grab the bar and pull.

And since the weight is connected to the bar through their hands they will pull with their arms. But if you think about it the lower body is stronger than the upper and is compromised when the arms attempt to move the load.

But besides the arms trying to do the bulk of the work it is important to remember that a deadlift involves extending the knee and hip. And one way to facilitate this is to imagine pressing the heels through the floor.

Not only does this help complete the lift it insures that the weight stays on the heels and gives you as much mechanical advantage as possible.

Deadlifts are a key component of all of our hockey players’ training programs. By considering their body type, ensuring proper set up and thinking of the lift as much of a press as a pull they will be in the best position to make the most gains.


Here are a couple more videos demontrating some common deadlifting mistakes.

Both videos have something in common in that they indicate a preference to firing the quads before the glutes and hamstrings.

And this shouldn’t be surprising. Because when most people train their legs they are more likely to squat than deadlift. Or if they don’t use freeweights they are more likely to use the leg press machine than a comparable glute ham machine. And lastly, for those that really like to feel the burn they are more likely to perform seated leg extensions, really holding the top position to squeeze the quads like a garden hose, rather than lay down on a ham curl machine.
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So have you tried some of the technique tips suggested in the previous videos?

Were you guilty of making some of the mistakes I pointed out?
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In the previous post I showed a couple of videos demonstrating some common mistakes being made when performing deadlifts. Deadlifts are great exercise to incorporate into the training program of of a hockey player.

That is assuming they are performed correctly.
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Photo source:

One of my favourite exercises to use with the hockey players we train is the deadlift. We do all sorts of variations of this lift as well. We’ll do them with a wide snatch grip or regular grip. We’ll do with a straight leg or with more knee flexion. We’ll do them on two legs and on one. We’ll pull from the floor, from the rack and sometimes do deficit deadlifts.
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