How Important is the Deadlift?

It’s pretty freaking important. For the average Masters II powerlifter in the USAPL last year, the Deadlift was 42.5% of their total. When you consider that to win a Powerlifting Competition you must put up a total higher than your competitors, a big Deadlift is imperative to putting a W next to your name. It would stand to reason then that a powerlifter should devote considerable training time and attention to improving the Deadlift, so I’m going to attempt to.

Deadlifting is hard work. It’s a brute of a lift starting as it does from the floor, comfortable with its place in the Universe and the close relationship it has with gravity. You must wrench it free from its earthly confines and hoist it aloft for at least a short period of time, before setting it back down relatively under control (Red Lights will be issued by judges who deem a lifter did not maintain control of the weight on descent). It will tax the entire body, most noticeably the posterior side. Hamstrings and glutes will be strained,  spinal erectors and abdominal muscles will isometrically contract, rhomboids and trapezius muscles will be stretched and pulled, and the lower back will curse your name. So dedicating time and attention to it must be done with consideration for the holistic impact it will have on the body. In short, it will kick your ass so you better be smart about it.

I’m going to approach training the deadlift by backing off the intensity somewhat so I can increase the frequency somewhat, and using a lot of variations to strengthen all those muscle groups I mentioned above. Pausing the deadlift, deadlifting to the knees, pulling off blocks, pulling from a deficit, stiff-legged versions and lots of front squatting to strengthen the abs and back. As I’ve mentioned ad nauseum, I’m not going to compete without a total I can be proud to claim. Let’s face it, my 195-lb Bench Press isn’t going to get me to the promised land. I believe I have a decent build for deadlifting with the long arms that help make me a lousy bencher, and I’ve pulled some decent weights before my bicep tear in 2013. I never focused on deadlifting to get there either, so some dedication and commitment may pay off for me.



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