The Deadlift

Without a doubt, the Deadlift (DL) will play a significant role in your strength training. This lift will build your posterior chain (lower back, glutes, hamstrings), improve your grip and help you develop power for other lifts like squats. Being a strong kicker doesn’t translate into having a strong core. Kickers and punters are constantly straining abdominal muscles or obliques. This is due to these muscles working too hard to make up for weaknesses in other areas. These other areas usually are a muscle group of the aforementioned posterior chain. Most athletes are concerned with muscles that are visible to others, i.e. pecs, biceps, and abs. Deadlifts could be better described as the nemesis of this kind of thought process.

Whether a beginner or expert, fine-tuning your technique with a PVC pipe will make a difference. Let’s start with your stance: feet should be hip-width apart. This is commonly known as a “power position” because of the ability to be most explosive from this stance. Next up, the grip: hands should be placed outside shoulder-width, which is the same position you’d be in with Olympic Lifts. Finally, let’s look at body position: start standing straight up with the pipe at waist height. Think about your hips and the pipe being together as one, when the pipe descends, so do your hips. The pipe should stay in contact with your legs the entire time until you reach mid-shin level. At this point, your shoulders should be in front of the bar, butt should be slightly higher than your knees (This position is the starting position once you transition to an Olympic bar with weight). When you’ve reached this point, return up with bar in contact the entire way. If you incorporate the hip-width stance with your feet and hands outside shoulder-width, then your knees and arms shouldn’t ever contact one another. As for the grip on the bar, this author likes the mixed-grip, where hands face the opposite way. Play around with the grip to find what’s right for you. Perform one set of 10 reps with the pipe as a warm-up before moving onto a bar, dumbbells, or even KB’s. Using lighter weight, complete four sets of 10 reps then you can start to bump up to big boy weight.

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