Tip: Crappy Genetics? Deadlift Like This

Suck at deadlifting? If it's a leverage or arm-length issue, here's a tip that'll help you yank big numbers off the floor anyway.

You vs. Naturally Good Deadlifters

This is a common issue with guys who suck at deadlifting: they watch guys who are naturally built for deadlifting and try to copy what they're doing.

If you're built like a T-Rex, and you're trying to copy the training style of a guy built like a chimpanzee, then you're probably going to end up a very disgruntled lifter.

People don't understand the significance of an inch or two in a lift's range of motion. A lifter who finishes his deadlift with the lockout right above the knee has loads of leverage advantages over the guy who finishes his lockout at mid-thigh. And mid-thigh guy has tons of advantages over the guy who finishes with his lockout buried in his crotchal region.

This isn't to say that every guy that has good leverages for the deadlift doesn't have some great gems to offer about how to train. But the guy with mile-long arms that's pulling max singles multiple times a week for social media isn't the guy you need to be training like if your friends call you stubby.

Try This: Train Explosively

This was one of the changes I made that finally pushed my deadlift past the 700 pound range. Since I was a really crappy deadlifter I quit trying to mimic the training of guys that were built for deadlifting. My leverages dictated that I needed to train the deadlift in a way that allowed it to "come to me" in a way.

This meant training it in an explosive manner most of the time, with sub-maximal loading, and picking some spots here and there to pull in the near-maximal range. In other words, truly leaving my ego at the door, and doing what was best to improve my strength and not just demonstrate it for social media every week.

I spent most of my deadlifting work within the 70-80% range for my sets of 3-5 reps. Working sets were never more than 2. My goal for each training block was to work up to 90% of my goal and pull it for a very explosive triple. Without fail, if I could smash 90% of my goal for a fast triple, I'd hit my goal PR later with some room to spare.

For example...

  • Week 1: 65% x 2 sets of 5
  • Week 2: 70% x 2 sets of 5
  • Week 3: 73% x 2 sets of 3
  • Week 4: 75% x 2 sets of 3
  • Week 5: 80% x 2 sets of 3
  • Week 6: 83% x 2 sets of 3
  • Week 7: 85% x 2 sets of 2
  • Week 8: 90% x 1 set of 3