There are many reasons you can fail at a deadlift. One reason might be your setup and technique needs work. That’s just one reason why it’s really important to practice actual deadlift. On my deadlift day I start with the conventional deadlift and then pick a movement to focus an area of the lift that is weak. Here are some exercises that will help you fix those weak points off the floor and increase your deadlift.
I love deficit deads for building strength off the floor. Stand on a 100 lb plate, or something lower, as low as an inch and pull. If what you’re standing on is too high, it can cause you to round your lower back, causing low back pain. I recommend something about 3” or less. When you do these, make sure you are stopping at the bottom, and letting the weight rest, if you let the weight rebound off the floor, you are defeating the purpose of the movement. Deficit deads will help you build strength through a lower starting point.
Snatch grip deadlifts
When doing snatch grip deadlifts, take a snatch grip on the bar, fingers outside of the rings. Get into a deadlift position and pull. Like the deficit deadlift, snatch grip deads will force your hips into a deeper starting position. This will help build strength in a low starting position, plus the snatch grip will really build up your upper back strength!
Paused deadlifts are another exercise that can be used to improve your strength off the floor. Pull just like a deadlift, but pause for 2-5 seconds where you struggle the most in the deadlift. If you have trouble right off the floor, pause as soon as you break the weight off the floor, if you have trouble right at the knees, pause there. These will help you find your body’s strongest position during this portion of the lift. Make sure you pick a moderate weight so you can use good technique.
Give these variations a try if you are seeking to increase your deadlift strength!
If you have question on how to add these exercises into your program, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “DEADLIFT QUERY” in the subject line.