Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Deadlift assistance exercises...

I threw out a caution on Aaron Friday's blog about deadlifting off of a 4" platform and was asked what I feel are the top deadlift assistance exercises. Here we go:

#1 - Get screened for restrictions and asymmetries - FMS, Z whatever you choose but you should have a pain free and full toe touch.

#2 - Deadlift - sumo or conventional - you will not know where your weak links are until you start hitting near max weights so don't start thinking you've got the lift mastered - because you don't. You have to put some time in with your hands on the bar pulling respectable (for you) weights.

#3 - Squat - Classic barbell powerlifting style back squats - nuff said.

#4 - Kettlebell Swings - speed training for deadlifts

#5 - Deadlift off of 1" - 2" elevation - that is correct something as little as 1-2" beyond your normal range will do the trick and give you a strong start and make the lift feel a little shorter.
The biggest mistake I see is people going off an elevation that changes their form and rounds their back because they do not have the mobility to get into a proper position. You will not get good carryover and will likely get hurt. So standing on a 45# plate should be enough elevation to put you "beyond the range".

There you have it - nothing fancy and no secrets.


Unknown said...

Brett, great post. Thanks for the tips.

Joe Sarti said...

Nice post. I am very interested to see how the powerlifting squat effects my deadlift.

PS: When I first trained KBs with Rif in 05, 5months after and shortly after getting certified in April. I did a 2 week cycle of deads and then tested my DL and at 168 pounds I pulled 510. This even surprised Rif and I attribute all the swings and snatches plus a few intangibles with giving me the strength to

Brett Jones said...

Thanks Tim - very glad to see the "holding back" philosophy is working for you.

It will give you a bump and yes I think the swings and snatches provide a great base for the DL and you have a great build for the lift.

Mike T Nelson said...

Great info! Thanks for the tips!
Rock on
Mike N

Mark Reifkind said...

totally agree and well put as usual. a once inch block is plenty for increasing the rom of the dl and not enough to really promote a flexed lumbar spine( depending of course on how you are built and your mobility).
as one who has done so, you really don't want to find out the structural limitations of your vertebral ligaments; it's not a fun ride.
swings rock for dl on so many levels.
simple but not easy.

Rick & The Family! said...


Never got a thing out of kettlebells. Cullen has a full set and I have tried swings, etc. and my deadlift goes stale. If I bring back the staples, the heavy band tension rack pulls from mid shin, the seated goodmornings, the glute-hams, the reverse-hypers, the superman's, and the bottom up close stance squats, my deadlift goes through the roof. Before my pacemaker surgery I hauled up 715 with a lot of strength to spare and after my regular work sets. This was from all of the above.

I used to do a ton of pulls off of blocks, but I stopped because my off the ground strength was much stronger then my lockout. The problem with the higher boxes is, like you said, the form changes. You bow your back and can't get good hip extension at the top, thus your off the ground strength comes up, but your lockout suffers.

My 2 cents. Onward to 800...


Brett Jones said...

Gotta go with what works and it will vary with the individual. Donnie Thompson and Marc Bartley saw great DL improvement from the KB swings etc...and others pull PRs with little DLing from their KB work - but if it doesn't target a "weakness" it won't help and once you reach the upper levels of DLing (as you are) it has to individualized.
I will have to try the rack pulls with the bands at some point.

Glad your pacemaker replacement went well and look forward to seeing 800!
Best to you and your family.

Rick & The Family! said...


We do them with 4 mini bands (2 a side) quadupled around the bottom of the cage (we ahve the Elite Fitness cage) and stretched onto the bar. Adds close to 400 at the top, the bar wants to literally rip from your hands, even with straps. Really builds speed as you cannot pull slow. Pull it slow and you won't lock it out!

I do them after my sumo pulls, and I alternate week to week between sumo and conventional.

Family is good, Amy's knee is 100% and she has taken a liking to bench pressing. She did an easy 155 Tuesday. I am trying to get her to bench at the Pittsburgh meet raw and go for 180. I think she can do it.

Take care-


MikeC in NZ RKC said...

I am getting back into deadlifting but won't be able to squat or do Good Mornings (no rack) so it will be interesting to see if I can get back up to and past 240 -250 kg doing just deadlifts, zerchers, behind back deadlifts and a few other movements. It will be interesting to see if swings and snatches have kept my deadlift strength.

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