Top 5 Tricks of the Trade for the Deadlift

Okay, these aren't really my 5 favorite tips and tricks — they're just the first 5 that came to my head. They're all good ones though, I promise!

Five Deadlift Tips & Tricks

  1. Pow(d)er up. Using talcum powder on your thighs and forearms can reduce friction as the bar passes your knees and helps to make your lockout smoother.

  2. Have water handy.. It's not to stay hydrated, although that's important, too. Wiping off the soles of your shoes with a little water can actually help increase friction and give you a better grip on the floor. I've even heard of some competitors using soda for extra stickiness, although I do not condone that practice.
  3. Strap in quick.. Because the deadlift starts from the floor, the stretch reflex doesn't provide as much of an advantage as on the squat and bench. If you spend all day strapping up, you're getting no stretch reflex at all — and you're wasting time to boot. One quick loop around the bar is all that's needed for a secure grip.
  4. deadlift joe sullivan ben pollack

  5. Don't pull on a platform.. At least not on those cheap portable platforms made by a certain Crossfit equipment company. They're not one solid piece, so the platform itself can easily become uneven or unstable and really throw off your positioning from the floor.
  6. Try using a wall for balance. As with most lifts, your ideal deadlift technique will usually be the one that produces the straightest bar path. Many lifters tend to drift too far ahead of the bar off the floor (to allow the hips to rise and get better leverage from the lower back), but that can really wreck havoc on your lockout. If you struggle with that issue, try setting up so that the bar is just a few inches away from a wall. You'll have to pull straight to avoid hitting the wall, and while it can feel a little weird at first, it can be really useful in practicing good positioning.

Have your own deadlift tips? Share them in the comments below!

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