Explosive exercises and plyometrics can unlock your strength potential in the big lifts because they “prime” the central nervous system. Here’s a primer to do before deadlifting.
Twitchy Jumping Jack + Medball Slam + Horizontal Jump
- A1. Twitchy jumping jack, 3-5 reps
- A2. Explosive overhead medball slam, 3-5 reps
- A3. Depth broad jump from box, 1 rep
Do 2-3 total supersets with 30-45 seconds rest between bouts.
Because the deadlift is a relatively “slow” movement to the naked eye, it’s easy to forget that this lift needs to be explosive if you want to get stronger. But since the deadlift is notorious for being a backbreaker, people gravitate towards doing passive prehab work on their spine, hips, and shoulders to prepare for pulling, which is exactly what NOT to do when trying to train explosively with maximal torso stiffness.
Instead, match the deadlift with a neural primer that helps create maximal stiffness at the core while generating an immense amount of force output and fiber activation.
How to Do It
The first movement in the giant set is the old school jumping jack that’s performed with twitchy explosiveness in and out of a lat stretch in the overhead position.
Why the jumping jack for deadlifts? Easy. The lats are some of the broadest muscles in the body with huge splaying attachment points throughout the back of the rib cage, lower back, and pelvis. You need them for deadlifting. By tapping into their activation you can help achieve better stiffness in the shoulders and torso during pulls. Stick with 3-5 fast reps, coordinating the feet with the arms up overhead.
The deadlift is based on a hip extension movement pattern, so you’ll also need to train it with CNS primer movements. The overhead slam is the perfect way to train triple extension (hips, knees, and ankles extending) in a coordinated fashion.
The slam also requires you to be explosive in the overhead position, which places an emphasis on both the lats and torso. Focus on fully extending the ball up overhead with the entire body and coming into a powerful flexion to slam the ball as hard as you can into the ground for 3-5 reps with maximal velocity.
The final step is to do a depth broad jump. This is a hip-dominant jump which complements the deadlift (a hip hinge dominant pattern). By starting your jump on a low box about 2-5 inches off the ground, you can create kinetic energy and accentuate the stretch reflex of the lower body to trigger a strong neural response.
This depth drop will fool the body into being more explosive than it is naturally. You’ll only need a single jump at the end of each of superset, so keep quality and effort high.