6 Tips on How To Increase Your Deadlift in 2022
Deadlifting is alive and well in 2022 as it remains one of the best exercises for enhancing your hamstrings, glutes, and core. But if you feel like you’ve hit a wall and you’re not able to get the most out of your move, here are some tips and tricks to maximize your gains this year.
1. Master the Form
Being able to move heavy weights is not nearly as important as mastering the form. Not only does this help prevent injury, but it can make you stronger and more able to conquer deadlifts in the future.
Even if you’ve been lifting for years, it’s never too late to perfect your form:
1. Stand in front of the bar with your feet hip-width apart with your feet slightly turned out.
2. Hinge your hips back as you bend your knees, bringing your torso closer to the floor.
3. Grip the bar with your hands at shoulder width.
4. Keeping your chest up and shoulders back, squeeze the glutes and press the floor away from you.
5. Lift your chest and return your hips to starting position. Keep your core braced, as if someone were about to punch you in the stomach.
6. Return the weight to the starting position.
While lower back pain during a deadlift is not normal, it is common. This might be a sign that you’re using too heavy of a weight, but the more likely scenario is that your core is not braced.
Driving the hips back and keeping the core engaged are the most difficult yet imperative portions of a deadlift. Keep practicing until you get to a point where you’re able to move more weight without feeling pain.
If you have your phone with you at the gym, record yourself doing a deadlift. This will let you see problem areas where you might need to work a little bit harder on improving. Especially if you’re a new lifter, it can be hard to know and feel exactly where you might be doing something wrong.
2. Perform Variations
Oddly enough, the traditional deadlift is one of the most difficult variations to master. So, you can use other deadlift variations to enhance your strength and feel more comfortable with the movement.
The Romanian deadlift (RDL) is perhaps one of the most effective variations that can help you get stronger at a traditional one. With an RDL, you’ll start with the weight in your hands rather than on the floor. You’ll hinge your hips to bring the weight closer to your shins, squeeze the glutes, then return to the starting position.
This variation strengthens the hamstrings and glutes while allowing you to better practice a hip hinge, which is the main movement required for a traditional deadlift.
Other moves, like dumbbell snatches, involve a deadlift as a primary movement. Practicing these accessory movements can help you get better at traditional deadlifts – if that’s your goal.
3. Strengthen Your Legs
While deadlifts are a full body exercise that incorporates your core and even your back, they are primarily driven by your legs. So, if you want to max out your reps for a deadlift, you want to ensure your legs are primed and ready to provide the max amount of force.
Specifically, your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes are the primary muscles worked in a deadlift. You can enhance your quads through squat variations like front squats or sumo squats, which work to enhance your glute muscles as well.
But the hamstrings are one of the most underdeveloped muscles purely because they are under-utilized and difficult to train as opposed to many other muscles. This can make it harder to move the most weight during your deadlift. You can enhance your hamstrings with weighted glute bridges, weighted hamstring curls, or RDLs.
Hamstring injuries are the most common sports injury simply because they are underused. Training them more often will make your workouts safer and more effective.
If one of your fitness goals is to become a deadlift master, then practice makes perfect, like any other sport or activity. The more you do a deadlift, the better you’ll be.
Use this time to pay attention to weak points or lagging areas where you might be able to improve. For instance, you might find that your grip fatigues more quickly than your legs during a deadlift. This is a sign that you’ll want to spend more time enhancing your grip strength to be better at holding the weight.
The more you do a deadlift, the better you’ll be at identifying the portions of the move that might be falling a bit flat. This also allows you to progressively overload the weight to keep enhancing your muscle mass over time.
5. Change Up Your Footwear
If you use spongy running shoes or cross trainers during your gym sessions, you’ll want to take them off before you start deadlifting.
One of the main reasons is that you’ll have to move the weight a smaller distance. Many trainers add a few centimeters of height that you need to move the weight. This might not seem like a lot, but this can make a huge difference in your ability to lift heavy.
Secondly, removing your shoes before deadlifting can help you absorb more force. Trainers are soft because they are designed to absorb the forces of impact. This means that the soft cushioning will be “sucking up” some of the drive you can otherwise use during your lift.
If you try to jump in the air while stuck in mud, you won’t get very high. This is the same thing that happens when you wear trainers to deadlift.
Finally, running shoes have a fitted sole that is not flat to the floor. This can disrupt your stability during a deadlift, making it harder to lift and leaving room for injury.
Top deadlifters either go barefoot under the bar or wear very low, flat shoes for these reasons. You might be surprised by how such a simple change can rework your entire performance.
Your breath is one of your most powerful tools for getting the most out of your sets in deadlifts and any other resistance training exercise. Deadlifts require a lot of abdominal pressure, and proper breathing can make you physically more able to move more weight.
Take a deep breath before you lift the weight and exhale as you lift the bar. This will remove some pressure from the abdomen and make the weight feel lighter before lowering it to do it all over again.
You can practice diaphragm breathing outside of the gym to improve your performance inside.
Deadlifts are a classic exercise for a reason. If you want to max out your reps, master the form, practice often, breathe correctly, and consider removing your shoes before your sets.
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