Building Technical Proficiency in Supplemental Deadlift Movements

TAGS: deadlift off of blocks, deadlift with reverse bands, deficit deadlift, deadlifter, Eric Maroscher, accommodating resistance, training program, deadlift, powerlifting

COACH

Although we never will fully master the big three lifts, you should be able to look at your technique and say that it is, at minimum, highly proficient, with moments of mastery occurring on a more frequent basis. When you have reached this point, your proficiency with the big three should then extend to similar supplemental movements. Take deadlift for example. Similar and supplemental to the deadlift could be deficit deadlift, deadlift with reverse bands, deadlift with bands as resistance, deadlift off of blocks, and deficit deadlift with accommodating resistance, just to name a few.

When you first begin to implement these new movements, they will be uncomfortable, awkward and will be difficult in specific areas of the lift that are different than the difficulties of your traditional deadlift. And they should be.


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A few hundred years ago I ran track and was a sprinter who ran the 100 and 200 and ran on the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. In addition to plain old sprinting, we worked on the start of the race, the lean at the tape, and the hand-off of the baton. While the race is the full out sprint, there are areas such as the start and lean that directly contribute to the success or lack thereof with regard to the race.

With the deadlift this also holds true. There is the entire deadlift movement, but there is the pull off the floor, the grind in the middle, the lockout at the end, the hold at the top, and the controlled placement back onto the platform of the barbell. If any of these components are weak points for you, the entire deadlift is compromised. If you are the fastest sprinter in the race but you have the weakest start out of the blocks, well, that weakness might be just enough for the second fastest sprinter to eek by you at the finish. Likewise, if you are the deadlifter who just drops the bar from the top position and does not fully take advantage of that critical controlled down (as it is the down that enhances the up), that might be just the chink in your armor that costs you that precious 15 pounds on your total and causes you to lose the meet. As the saying goes, nobody wins silver, they lose gold.

Consider adding any, some, a few, or several of the deadlift-esque movements to your training program and work to be as masterful as possible with these new movements. Initially they will be considerably uncomfortable and awkward, just like the big three were when you first started powerlifting. The better you are at mastering them, the more you will get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

The accompanying video captures deadlift movements, some off the floor with accommodating resistance, some with reverse bands, some off deficit or off blocks, all of which are initially out of the norm for those having never done them, thus introducing something uncomfortable that when mastered and applied correctly can greatly enhance the essential and basic movements.

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