There's nothing like ripping a new deadlift PR off the ground. And there's nothing more defeating than seeing your progress slow down or realizing that you just aren't strong enough to hit your next PR.
And to make matters worse, you start to round your back, the cardinal sin of deadlifts. So you do your squats, hamstring exercises, and core exercises to build your pull. You get those exercises stronger, yet no luck on your deadlift.
So what's the problem? It could be your lats. And we're not just talking about the kind of lat strength that allows you to knock out pull-ups, but also isometric strength.
Keeping your lats tight is essential for a big deadlift. If you can't do it, you can guarantee a sore lower back and numbers that may not reflect your true strength. When you have strong lats that can hold tension, it prevents the bar from drifting away from your center of gravity. It allows your hams and glutes to power the movement, instead of your lower back and quads.
How do you train your lats for this? By doing the snatch-grip Romanian deadlift.
This Olympic lifting variation forces you to keep stronger tension through your lats. And starting at the top of the movement allows you to get your lats set before you start, getting into the position you want.
To do this properly...
- Point your elbows away from each other to activate your lats.
- Pull the bar into your body, keeping it close to your center of gravity.
- Make sure you only go to the end of your hamstring mobility. Don't reach all the way to the floor. You'll lose tension in your lats, train your lower back, and defeat the purpose of the exercise.
As a bonus, the time under tension needed for this exercise will cause an explosion of mass creation.