How to do deadlifts without weights

How to Deadlift

First things first, let’s learn proper technique. Check out the video above and refer to the step-by-step guide below. You’ll be deadlifting like a pro in no time.

  • With your feet flat beneath the barbell, squat down and grasp it with your hands roughly shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your chest up, pull your shoulders back and look straight ahead rather than up or down.
  • Lift the bar, keeping it close to your legs and focus on taking the weight back onto your heels (rather than your toes). Think about pulling the weight towards you on the way up. Lift to thigh level, pause, then return under control to the start position.
  • Let the weight come to a complete rest between each rep. While it’s on the floor, take a second or two to make sure your body is in the correct position – chest up, upper back tight and eyes looking forward – before lifting it up again.
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Video

What are deadlift mistakes to avoid?

One of the biggest problems with deadlifting involves rounding your back: Deadlifts should be performed with an engaged core and neutral spine (a flat back). If you’re rounding your back to pick up the weight from the floor, you risk injury.

Engaging your core and activating your back muscles before you lift the weight off the ground can help you avoid this common deadlift mistake.

“Pretend like you’re squeezing an orange in your armpits during your setup and maintain that during the execution of the lift,” Boston-based strength coach Tony Gentilcore, CSCS, owner of CORE training studio, tells SELF. “This will fire up your lats and transfer force from your lower body to your upper body, which can prevent your back from rounding and straining.”

Another cue that can help you maintain proper tension throughout your body is to think about pushing the floor away with your feet as you pull the weight up, Gentilcore says. This helps create full-body tension, which again prevents your upper back from rounding. (So yes, while many people consider the deadlift a pull exercise, it can be helpful to think of the actual movement as pulling and pushing.)

Bending your knees way too much is also another common deadlifting mistake. While you should avoid locking your knees straight, you should also be conscious to not bend your knees too much (it’s not a squat). Keep your knees loose, but focus on the movement coming from your hip hinge and only lower the weight as far as your flexibility allows.

And placement of the weight matters too. Holding the weight too far away from your body can mess with your line of pull, which can end up putting too much stress and strain on certain back muscles. So if you’re using a barbell, start with it over your mid-foot. And whether you’re using dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells, you should keep the weight close to your body as you pull. Think about almost scraping your shins and thighs with the weight—don’t waste energy or turn the move into a shoulder exercise by holding the weight away from your body.

Which  Deadlift  Technique is Best for You?  

So, you’ve just read the deadlift variations – but which is best for you? 

The best deadlift ultimately depends on which movements you can perform with the best form and a neutral spine.  A neutral spine is by far the most important factor when deadlifting, which allows for adequate mobility and safety. 

If you are new to the exercises I would suggest trying the Rack Pull or Romanian Deadlift.  This will allow you to find the right form and technique safely before making the steps into the more compounding versions. 

When it is time to take that next step, the Trap Bar Deadlift maybe your best option allowing for a more neutral hand position which will encourage the right form. 

If the trap bar is unavailable, the sumo and conventional deadlift are the next step up, however, groin strength and hamstring flexibility can become limiting factors in both of these movements, whereby hip mobility and hamstring strength are two vital requirements for performing these deadlifts with correct form. Ultimately, the progression from trap to conventional deadlift is dependent on mobility and strength. 

Which Deadlift Grip is Best for You?

There are multiple ways to grip the barbell for a deadlift. The three most commonly used options include double overhead, hook grip and mixed grip. Each of these come with their own lists of strengths and weaknesses, which we’ll quickly go over below. 

Double Overhand Grip

The double overhand grip can be used with or without the hook grip (see below). This is a great grip to help develop grip strength and have an application to the Olympic lifts. Some lifters do experience issues holding onto loads using this grip (which is why it is a great way to develop a better grip).

Hook Grip

The hook grip is the grip of choice for Olympic weightlifters due to the ability to have more security as the barbell spins during the turnover stages and rack positions.

To do it, you’ll grab the with both palms facing you. Instead of keeping your thumb on the outside of your hand, you’ll tuck it around the bar and inside your hand. Be warned, while this is an effective grip, it is not a comfortable one. 

Mixed Grip (Over-Under Grip)

The mixed grip, also known as the over-under grip, is a secure grip that prevents the bar from rolling out of the hands as you pull. It has you hold one side of the bar with your palm facing you and the other facing away. However, this grip does promote some rotational stress on the body and may lead to asymmetrical back development and can (rarely albeit) put additional stress on tight biceps tendons

Deadlift Variations

Below are four deadlift variations that can be done to increase overall deadlift strength, address limitations and sticking points, and regress or progress the deadlift for different experience levels.

Block Deadlift

The block deadlift, or rack pull as it’s sometimes called, can address sticking points at the top of your deadlift and be used as a regression or lifters who may struggle to maintain back tension from the floor.

Stiff-Leg Deadlift

The stiff leg deadlift is a variation that places the knees at a slightly increased extension angle, which loads the hamstrings to a greater degree. This is ideal for lifters hoping to integrate deadlifting into a program to increase the hamstrings’ size and strength. This can also be used as an accessory exercise for powerlifters and strength athletes looking to maximize deadlift performance.

Deficit Deadlift

The deficit deadlift is done by standing on plates or an elevated surface, usually 1-4 inches in height. This is a good variation to use when addressing the hips shooting up off the floor, weak leg drive in the deadlift, and form breakdowns right after the setup.

Snatch-Grip Deadlift

This is a weightlifting-specific deadlift, as it’s done with the same grip that a weightlifter uses for the snatch. However, any lifter can benefit from this exercise. Because your hips are lower, your glutes and hamstrings are more involved. And a stronger posterior chain will help you lift more with the standard deadlift. 

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Set/rest: 4 x 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest

Start on one foot with 1 kettle bell in the opposite hand. Pull yourself into a hip hinge, keeping your spine neutral and hips level with the floor. When you reach a comfortable stretch, drive your foot down into the ground and squeeze your glute to pull you into extension. Pull back to a neutral position and then stand back to starting position. Repeat.

  • Here is why I switched to doing sumo deadlifts and why you should give this exercise a try too

Biomechanics

This is where things get a little bit more technical.

Planes

To make this section a little easier to understand, you need to understand planes of movement.  There are three basic planes:  sagittal, frontal, and transverse.  The sagittal plane cuts something in half top to bottom and front to back, and it’s where flexion and extension take place.  The frontal plane cuts something in half top to bottom and side to side, and it’s where abduction and adduction take place.  The transverse plane cuts something in half front to back and side to side, and it’s where rotation takes place.

Here’s a crucial point:  abduction, adductio

Here’s a crucial point:  abduction, adduction, and rotation are defined by the frontal and transverse planes relative to the torso.  Flexion and extension, on the other hand, are defined relative to the bones and joints where they’re taking place.

Most importantly for the deadlift, hip and knee flexion and extension are defined by the sagittal plane relative to the femur.  Imagine a plane that cuts your femur in half front to back and top to bottom.  

If your knees are pointed straight ahead, then the sagittal plane relative to the femur may be parallel to the sagittal plane relative to your torso, so assessing knee and hip flexion and extension demands simply by looking at the lift dead on from the side will be very accurate.  

However, if your hips are abducted and externally rotated, the sagittal plane relative to your femur will intersect the sagittal plane relative to your torso, meaning you’d incorrectly estimate knee and hip extensor demands simply by looking at the lift dead on from the side.  You need to assess knee and hip extensor demands in three dimensions, not just two.  

Escamilla previously demonstrated how assessing knee and hip extensor demands in just two dimensions could produce pretty large errors when analyzing the deadlift.

In the frontal plane relative to the body, but sti
In the frontal plane relative to the body, but still in the sagittal plane relative to the humerus, so it’s still elbow flexion and extension.

Here’s an easy way to think about this:  There are probably 1,000 types of curls.  There are barbell curls, concentration curls, preacher curls, and the list goes on.  I don’t think anyone would argue that a curl isn’t essentially pure elbow flexion and extension.  However, when the shoulder is internally rotated (as in a concentration curl), the forearm is moving in the frontal plane relative to the body.  I don’t think anyone would argue that a concentration curl is actually elbow abduction and adduction.  That’s because elbow flexion and extension are defined relative to the humerus, and you’re always performing curls in the sagittal plane relative to your humerus.  The exact same principle is in play with the deadlift.

Basic Demands in the Deadlift

There are four basic challenges you need to overcome in the deadlift:  a spinal flexor moment, a hip flexor moment, a knee flexor moment, and, obviously, you need to be able to hold onto the bar (grip will be addressed separately later).

The spinal flexor moment increases as the horizontal distance (perpendicular to gravity) in the sagittal plane (relative to the torso) between the bar and any intervertebral joint increases.

The more inclined your torso is and the longer your torso is, the higher the spinal extension demands will be.  This is the main reason why more conventional deadlifters are limited by back strength than sumo deadlifters – your torso is inclined farther forward at the start of a conventional deadlift.

In the conventional deadlift, knee and hip extension demands are pretty straightforward.

Knee extension demands are pretty low; odds are very low that quad strength will limit how much someone can deadlift with a conventional stance (feet close together, with the arms outside the knees).  The external moment arm for knee extension – the front-to-back distance between the system center of mass (roughly over the middle of your foot) and the knee joint – is always going to be pretty small because your knees simply can’t track forward very far.  

If they go too far forward, your shins will get in the way of the bar early in the lift, either forcing the bar to move forward (which would decrease the knee extension demands while also throwing you off balance), or your knees will need to shift back (which would also decrease the knee extension demands).  

If you deadlift with perfectly vertical shins, knee extension demands will be lower than they would be if your knees started over the bar or slightly in front of the bar, but the knee extension demands will be pretty low regardless.

The main role of the quads in the conventional deadlift is simply to anchor the tibia in place and keep the knee extending to counter the contraction of the hamstrings.  In all likelihood, the hamstrings themselves provide more resistance for the quads in the conventional deadlift than the weight itself does.

As you can see, the center of mass passes almost d
As you can see, the center of mass passes almost directly through the knee joint – the knee extension moment will be tiny.

The hip extension demands in the conventional deadlift are equally simple – how much weight is on the bar, and how far are your hips behind the system center of mass (again, generally located over the middle of the foot)?

The farther your hips are behind the bar, the harder the lift is for your hip extensors.  Although your setup for the lift (to be addressed in a moment) can influence hip extension demands to some degree, the largest determining factor is simply how you’re built.  People with longer femurs and/or shorter arms (all other things being equal) will need to incline their torsos farther forward at the start of the lift, and start the pull with their hips farther behind the bar.

The hips start considerably behind the bar, and ge
The hips start considerably behind the bar, and get closer to the bar throughout the lift.

In general, hip extension demands are highest at the start of the lift, and progressively decrease throughout the pull.  If you start the lift with your knees over the bar or slightly in front of the bar, your hips may drift back slightly as the bar leaves the ground, momentarily increasing hip extension demands, but on the whole, the first ~1/3 of the lift should be the hardest for your hip extensors.

In the sumo deadlift, knee and hip extension demands are slightly more complicated, but not extremely so (the technical explanation can be a little confusing, but the practical interpretation is pretty intuitive).

For starters, keep in mind that knee and hip extension demands are defined in the sagittal (front-to-back) plane relative to the femur, not the sagittal plane relative to the torso.  This is an important point to keep in mind, because it’s easy to compare your hip position from the side in a sumo and conventional stance, see that that there’s less front-to-back distance between your hips and the bar in the sumo stance, and then conclude that sumo deadlifts are way easier for your hip extensors than conventional deadlift.

As you can see, the hips are much farther behind t
As you can see, the hips are much farther behind the bar in the conventional deadlift, primarily because the back is much more inclined, and the hips are not as abducted.

However, when you analyze hip extension demands in the sagittal plane relative to the femur, rather than the sagittal plane relative to the torso, it becomes clear that deadlift style shouldn’t (and doesn’t) influence hip extension demands to a huge degree because the distance from your hip joint to the system’s center of mass (which with a very heavy deadlift, is approximated by the position of the barbell) in the plane of your femur would be approximately the same.

This picture was taken roughly perpendicular to my
This picture was taken roughly perpendicular to my femur. This gives you a better idea of the hip extension moment arm in the sumo deadlift.

The next thing to account for is lateral force.  This is the more technical of the two considerations.  In the sumo deadlift, especially with a very wide stance, you don’t just drive your feet straight down through the floor.  

You also drive your feet out against the floor (as if you were trying to rip the floor between your feet in half).  As a result, you’re creating both vertical and lateral forces against the floor with your legs and hips.  Therefore, the resultant force vector would be pointed up and toward the midline of the body, instead of straight up (as it would be for the conventional deadlift, for all intents and purposes).  

As far as I know, there’s no published data comparing the magnitude of the lateral forces to the magnitude of the vertical forces to quantify how large of an effect they have; however, these lateral forces would serve to increase the knee extensor demands to some degree, and decrease the hip extensor demands to some degree. In effect, these forces would allow the quads to help out the glutes, hamstrings, and adductors.

The top picture shows what happens when you accoun
The top picture shows what happens when you account for lateral forces. The hip moment arm gets longer, and the knee flexor moment increases. The bottom picture, discounting the lateral forces, shows a slight knee EXTENSOR moment arm, and a much larger hip moment arm.

If you’ve read my bench press guide, this may sound familiar to you.  The role of the quads in the sumo deadlift is very similar to the role of the triceps in the bench press. In the case of the bench press, the lateral forces applied by the triceps allow them to help the pecs by reducing horizontal flexion demands a bit.  This is analogous to the role of the quads helping out the hip extensors in the deadlift.

When you take both of these effects into account, the hip extension demands in the sumo deadlift are very similar to those in the conventional deadlift.  The hips generally start a bit lower in the sumo deadlift, causing the femur to start a bit closer to parallel with the floor, which would tend to increase the external hip extensor moment.  However, the lateral forces applied by your quads and hip abductors would decrease the hip extensor moment a bit while increasing the knee extensor moment, likely nullifying the difference caused by the slight discrepancy in femur angle.  

So, at the end of the day, the same factors that increase the hip extensor demands in the conventional deadlift (relatively longer femurs or shorter arms) have the same effect for the sumo deadlift, and the difference in hip extension demands between the two styles is negligible.  However, the knee extension demands are much higher for the sumo deadlift, and would largely depend on the lateral forces applied when deadlifting.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that even though sumo deadlifts are harder for your quads than conventional deadlifts, your quads still probably aren’t going to be your limiting factor. In two studies by Escamilla, the knee extension demands were roughly 15% higher in the squat vs. the sumo deadlift with 1rm loads in similarly skilled lifters, so quad strength probably isn’t going to limit most sumo deadlifters, though it may limit some.

And, of course, knee, hip, and spinal extension demands increase as you add more weight to the bar, but that part should be self-explanatory.

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How to deadlift properly

When learning how to do them, proper deadlift form is extremely important. It’ll help you avoid injury and ensure you’re working the right muscles. Getting it right will improve your overall strength, particularly your glutes, which are often weak in people who spend long periods at their desk, says strength coach Joslyn Thompson Rule.

  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, the barbell on the floor in front of you. Bend at the knees and hips, sliding your hands down your thighs and take hold of the bar with an overhand grip. Tense your abdominal muscles.
  2. Keeping your head up and back straight, tighten your shoulder blades (imagine trying to snap the bar). Straighten your legs slightly and lift the bar a little so that the bar touches the weight plates.
  3. Now send your hips back and lift, keeping the bar close to your legs. Engage your glutes at the top of the move but don’t thrust so far that your back overextends.
  4. Lower slowly back down to the original position.

Lifting the damn bar

By this point, you should have everything related to the setup squared away. You should have your stance and grip set, have your deep breath, found your point of balance, engaged your lats, and pulled tension into your body.  Now it’s time to actually pull some heavy weights.

The biggest key to picking a heavy bar up off the ground is … to pay as little attention to the bar as possible.  Beyond gripping the bar and pulling the bar into your body to keep your lats engaged, your focus should not be on the bar itself.

When you focus on moving the bar, it’s easier to lose focus on what your body is doing.  Generally, when people who are relatively new to the movement think “pick the bar up,” all the work they put into their setup goes out the window; their hips shoot way up, their back rounds, and they find themselves in a generally shitty (and less safe) position.

This is generally what happens when you just focus
This is generally what happens when you just focus on picking the bar straight up.

Instead, focus primarily on what your body is doing to ensure that 1) you don’t squander the setup you put so much attention into 2) you execute the lift as efficiently as possible.

To complete the lift, you need to extend your knees and hips while keeping your spine stiff.

Generally thinking “chest up” will help keep the spine stiff through the pull.  That requires you to, at the very least, attempt to extend your thoracic spine.  Most people will naturally extend their lumbar spine as well when attempting to extend their thoracic spine.  Drive your chest up as you’re engaging your lats while setting up, and keep trying to drive it up throughout the pull.  If your spine (lumbar, specifically) still has a tendency to flex when trying to drive your chest up, check out the section below in the FAQ about this problem.

To initiate the pull, think “drive the floor away.”  For whatever reason, focusing on pushing the floor away instead of picking the bar up helps people keep their hips from rising too quickly at the start of the pull.  This is the cue for just the first 3-4 inches of the pull; after that, it’s all about hip extension.

Once the bar’s moving off the floor, the quads aren’t going to be a major player anymore.  At this point, it’s all about extending your hips without letting your spine flex excessively.  The classic cues “shoulders back” and “hips forward” get the job done for most people.

Off the floor: chest up and drive the floor away.
Off the floor: chest up and drive the floor away. As the bar approaches the knee: shoulders back, hips forward.

If you don’t understand what you’re going for with the “shoulders back” cue, try some high bar good mornings.  The way you have to drive your traps back into the bar at the bottom of the good morning to initiate the ascent should give you a feel for “shoulders back.”  Alternately, you can try some light deadlifts with a band around your upper back to accentuate the way the bar tries to pull you forward; the way you need to drive your shoulders back to resist the band is the same way you should drive them back with just the barbell.

If you don’t understand what you’re going for with the “hips forward” cues, two great exercises to try are hip thrusts and deadlifts with a band around your hips.  Both require you to forcefully drive your hips forward in the same way you have to when deadlifting.

So, just to recap, use the cues “chest up” (in conjunction with a cue to engage lats if needed) through the entire pull, “drive the floor away” to initiate the pull off the floor, and “shoulders back, hips forward” once the bar starts moving.  By focusing on these cues, which all relate to how your body moves through space instead of focusing on the bar itself, you’ll keep yourself in good positions to pull safely, powerfully, and efficiently.

When learning the movement, generally “chest up” (to keep the back tight) is the first cue to focus on.  Once you don’t have any issues with keeping your spine extended with submaximal loads, move on to “push the floor away” if you have bigger issues at the bottom of the pull, and “shoulders back, hips forward” if you have bigger issues locking weights out.  It’s very hard to focus on more than one (or two, at most) cues at a time, so pay the most mind to the one that addresses the biggest issue you’re having with the movement, and then move on to others once you’ve addressed the first problem.

One final consideration:  Perform each rep as aggressively as possible, applying maximal force throughout the lift.  Research has shown that lifting at maximal velocity causes roughly twice the strength gains of lifting at purposefully slower velocities.  If you need to slow down the reps as you’re learning the movement, that’s totally fine.  However, once you have the technique ingrained, rip every rep as powerfully as possible.

On top of the research backing this strategy, two of the strongest deadlifters of all time – Andy Bolton and Eddie Hall – both swear by “speed deadlifts” (still with 700-800+ pounds) for building their world record deadlifts.

Performing the pull:  Sumo Contrast

With the sumo deadlift, the same basic cues apply, with two exceptions:

  • The “drive the floor away” part tends to last a bit longer, since the lift is slightly more quad dominant and since your torso will be a little more upright through the whole lift.
  • Just as with the setup, focus on forcefully “ripping the floor in half,” at least until the bar clears your knees.  This will help you keep your knees out and keep your hips from drifting back.

In general, it’s a bit less likely for a sumo DL to pull you forward and round your spine excessively since your torso will be more upright throughout the entirety of the lift, so most people don’t need to focus on “shoulders back, hips forward” until the bar has cleared their knees and is nearing lockout.

Similar cues to the conventional deadlift, with th
Similar cues to the conventional deadlift, with the addition of “rip the floor in half” as you start the lift.

Locking out

To complete the lift, your spine, hips, and knees need to be straight – that’s all.  You should just be standing upright in a pretty natural, neutral position.

Many people have a tendency to hyperextend their hips and spines at lockout.  This is unnecessary for competitive purposes, and it’s unnecessary to gain the training effect you’re aiming for with the lift.  It makes the lift harder without any real payoff.

Moreover, you’ll be more likely to re-flex your knees if you hyperextend at lockout, which will get your lift disqualified in competition.

Below are pictures of how your lockout should look, and what a hyperextended lockout looks like.

On the left: nearing lockout. Top right: Standing
On the left: nearing lockout. Top right: Standing straight up with hips and spine extended in a solid lockout. Bottom right: hypextended lockout, with knees re-flexing.

Many people who have issues locking out heavy pulls (and who are prone to hyperextending at lockout, even if they’re not trying to) can fix their problem simply by engaging the glutes properly.

A lot of people with lockout issues pull with anterior pelvic tilt and a very hamstrings-driven hinge pattern.  When they’re reaching lockout, their lower backs are super arched, and the bar just stops moving right before the hips are fully locked out.  If they do finish the pull, they’ll have to hyperextend to lock out the hips.  By simply squeezing the glutes and bringing the pelvis back toward neutral alignment, they’ll be able to pop their hips forward to complete the lockout and avoid having to hyperextend at the top of the lift.

When you’re nearing lockout, you should still be thinking “shoulders back, hips forward,” but you should make sure the “hips forward” aspect is mainly accomplished by squeezing the glutes.

Put another way, the deadlift lockout is basically just a loaded pelvic thrust.

Simply practicing locking out forcefully with lighter loads will generally ingrain this pattern well enough, but adding in cable pull-throughs or kettlebell swings with a focus on squeezing the glutes and finishing the movement vertical instead of over-arched can help as well.

Lowering under control

Once you’ve completed the lift, the final step is sitting the bar back down.

You should sit the bar back down the same way you picked it up: under control and with your spine extended.

I frequently see one of two bad habits with sitting down deadlifts:

  1. Dropping the bar (this is a bad habit I’ll admit to having)
  2. Letting the back round and just generally not controlling the bar on the way down.

There are four main reasons I advocate for lowering deadlift reps under control:

1. Eccentric exercise seems to give a more potent hypertrophy (growth-promoting) stimulus than concentric exercise.  At the very least, combined eccentric and concentric exercise seems to cause larger gains in size and strength than concentric exercise alone.  This isn’t something you really need to worry about when performing most exercises, since the majority of exercises you’d perform in the weight room – squats, presses, pullups, rows, curls, etc. – have both an eccentric and concentric component unless you purposefully exclude either portion of the lift.  With deadlifts, on the other hand, there’s no eccentric before the first rep, and you can effectively cut out the eccentric between reps by either completely dropping the bar, or by lowering the bar so quickly you’re really not resisting it on the way down.  By doing so, you’re cutting out half of each rep, and losing some of the strength and growth-promoting potential.

2.  Safety.  This isn’t an issue if you just drop the bar, but if you don’t pay much mind to the eccentric part of each rep, your form can break down, your back can round, and you can unnecessarily increase your risk of injury.

3. Respect for the equipment.  Some bars and weights are made to withstand being dropped (bars made for Olympic weightlifting, and rubberized plates used for Olympic weightlifting). Most standard power bars, however, will weaken and wear out faster if they’re frequently dropped (or effectively dropped, if you’re leaving your hands on the bar but not really resisting it on the way down), and metal weights can chip from being dropped repeatedly.

4. Preparing your body for the next rep.  Your muscles and nervous system will be better-prepared to exert maximal force on each rep following a meaningful eccentric phase via the stretch shortening cycle.  This would definitely apply for pulling touch-and-go style, but it would likely apply even if letting the bar rest for a moment and resetting between reps (the distinction will be discussed more later) since some of the components of the stretch shortening cycle seem to stick around for a couple of seconds after the initial stretch.

So, to lower the bar, simply sit it back down the same way you picked it up:  chest up, hips back until the bar is to knee height, and continue pressing through the floor as you lower the bar back to the ground.  Keep control of the bar, and make sure it only lightly makes contact with the floor.

I have a quick anecdote about using controlled eccentrics in the deadlift.  I’ve mostly trained in “hardcore” gyms catering to powerlifters, Olympic weightlifters, or bodybuilders (at various times).  Most of those places didn’t care much about dropping bars or about making a lot of noise sitting the bar down loudly (from not lowering it under control).

However, the two times I’ve made the fastest deadlift progress were when I trained at commercial gyms with strict rules about controlling the bar and not making much noise when deadlifting.

At first, these rules annoyed me since I was used to being a “hardcore” dickhead and making a ton of noise when I deadlifted, but I sucked it up and was respectful to other gymgoers, controlling my deadlifts and making sure I set the bar down gently between reps.

Even though my bench and squat have tended to make faster progress in gyms with a more “hardcore” environment conducive to heavy lifting, I’ve realized my deadlift increased much faster when I was training in those commercial gyms where I was forced to control the eccentric phase of the deadlift.

Obviously, there are plenty of confounding variables since my training style has also changed over time; however, that realization was enough to make me pay more attention to my deadlift eccentrics, even though I’m now training at another gym that’s more amenable to loud noises and dropping bars.

Joe Holder

Master trainer Joe Holder teaches you his holistic approach for better workouts, more effective nutrition, and a healthier mindset.

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