The deadlift is arguably the king of all lifts. It’s a show of brute strength and recruits muscles from all over the body, including the hands, wrists, back, shoulders, butt, and legs. The more you can pull, the stronger you are. It’s the ultimate proof of physical power.
Getting deadlift right, though, is notoriously tricky. Some people manage it with no problem at all. It seems natural. Others can really struggle.
Part of the reason for this is biomechanical. Your body might not be set up for pulling massive weights off the ground. Mainly, though, issues have to do with setup and technique.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at why your max pulls on the deadlift suck and what you can do about it.
You’re Not In The Zone
When it comes to lifting heavy – going all out – your state of mind plays a massive role. If you’re worried about the lift, then it’ll show in the poundage that you ultimately wind up pulling.
People get fired up for massive lifts in a couple of ways. The first is to make a lot of noise and psyche yourself up. You want to make yourself feel pumped, as though you’re about to go into war.
The second is to use zen and appear as calm as a Buddhist monk. “There is no weight.”
Either way, you need to frame it positively. If you don’t, your lifts won’t be as high as you’d like.
You’re Not Prepping Your Hands
When the weight goes above 250 lbs, it can become difficult to grip the bar. Most Olympic equipment has small grip sections etched into it. Still, you might also need liquid chalk and even gloves if you’re struggling.
Going back to the previous point, prepping your hands is also psychological. If you believe the bar is more likely to stay in your hands, then likely it will!
You’re Not Training Often Enough
Philosophers like to say that “we are what we repeatedly do.” And when it comes to deadlift, no truer word has ever been uttered. The more you practice the movement, the better you get at it.
The deadlift is a surprisingly complicated activity. You have to engage practically all of the muscles in your body in the correct order. And you have to monitor the shape of your back to avoid injury continually.
Some people will go into the gym and practice deadlifts once every couple of weeks because it is a major compound movement. But approaches like that are setting you up for failure. You need to practice the motion repeatedly, even if that means doing it with a lighter weight. Practicing many reps prepares your body for the movement and increases the activation of relevant muscle fibres.
Your Stance Is Wrong
For deadlift, your feet should be slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Your toes should also be turned slightly outwards. If you have long legs, you may want to widen your stance out further. Once you correct this, you can often increase your max lift by 10 percent or more.