If you want a strong deadlift, you must become both very strong and very fast. To maintain peak levels of overall strength all year long, you must train both speed strength and absolute strength on different days of the same week. By training these two forms of strength in this nonsequential manner, you will be utilizing a defining feature of the greatest strength-developing technology ever constructed: Westside’s system of “conjugate periodization.”
Speed squat/deadlift day should take place 72 hours after your maximum-effort squat/deadlift day. Speed deadlifts should be trained right after speed box-squats. Load the bar to 50% of your one-rep max (1RM) and place tension bands over the barbell so that an extra 30% of resistance is added at the top (this can be implemented by placing doubled-over mini bands on top of the collars). Perform 6–10 sets of singles, resting only about one minute between sets. Rotate among conventional-style deadlifts, sumo-style deadlifts, and ultrawide sumo-style deadlifts (the latter build great flexibility and very strong hips). Do regular deadlifts while standing on a two-inch or four-inch box, or sumo-style deadlifts while standing on a two-inch box. Conversely, weight can be pulled of a two-inch or four-inch box.
Another good deadlift variation is a conventional pull in the power rack, with bands doubled or quadrupled over the loaded barbell and attached to a higher point on the rack. Depending on the type and arrangement of the bands, a range of band tension—125 pounds, 250 pounds, 350 pounds—can be applied at the top of the pull. As the bar moves upward, the band tension increases. This teaches a lifter to apply maximum speed to the lift in order to overcome the resistance provided. It also enables a lifter to push through any sticking point encountered at any specific point of the lift.
The dynamic-effort (speed) squat/ deadlift day involves high-volume training at moderate intensity. After completing both speed squats and speed deadlifts, incorporate accessory work, targeting (without limitation) the abs, lower back, lats, hamstrings, and upper back. Train abs first then move on to reverse hypers, back raises, and light good mornings. Next, pick a lat and a trap exercise and regularly rotate between them. If possible, do a second shorter (25- to 30-minute) workout that is designed to specifically target your lagging areas. Include some sled powerwalking or wheelbarrow walking forward and/or backward in this supplemental workout.
Are There Really Tricks To Deadlifting?
Well, yes, biomechanically speaking. I devised one trick that trains lifers to assume the correct position at the start of a deadlift. Sit on a chair or box that is roughly 16 inches high. While sitting, lift your loaded barbell to a locked out position, pause, then stand up to lockout. This trick perfects form from start to lockout. The chair deadlift puts you in a perfect pulling position because (1) it causes the barbell to automatically force the legs outward, and (2) it brings the lower back closer to the bar, which affects optimal leverage in the deadlift.
A second trick is to anchor bands to a point on the deadlift platform in front of the bar and then to loop them over the bar and back to the anchor point. This band arrangement forces you to pull the bar toward your center of mass—an absolute key to locking out a big deadlift. It’s especially valuable because (1) it prevents the bar from rolling forward, causing it to be forcefully pulled toward your body, and (2) it allows you to do speed singles or special exercises to develop the hamstrings as well as the entire back: Because the body follows the head, the spinal erectors must straighten the body as the head moves backward.
A third deadlift trick is actually a squat movement. Place a very heavy object in front of the squat bar and hook a set of monster or light bands to it; then, afx the bands to the bar. As you squat, the band resistance pulls you forward, forcing your back to arch and your knees to move outward. This trick develops the hips and perfects your squat and sumo deadlift technique. It also exposes weaknesses in the squat by taxing the lower back, middle back, and hamstrings. The most taxed muscles are “weak link” muscles that need extra work.
The bands identify weak points, just as any good strength coach would. Special thanks goes to Ireland’s Gerry McNamara for this trick.
If all this seems confusing, check out westside-barbell.com, where you can find information that makes these methods seem simple. Also, check out what is happening with Westside’s new supplement line at westsideperformancenutrition.com. Until next time, Good luck and stay strong.