If building muscle has ever been your primary workout goal, or even if you’ve simply just wanted to get stronger, chances are you’ve done at least one internet search for “how to increase your deadlift”.
And if this hasn’t yet been an interest of yours, it probably should be. The deadlift is a giant compound movement that allows you to move a great deal of weight and involves almost every muscle of the legs and back. The more weight you can deadlift, the bigger your back will generally be. Here are three tips to improving your Deadlift.
#1 – Use Proper Form
Probably the best piece of advice you could receive about how to increase your deadlift would be to ensure you’re using proper form.
Whether pulling with a “traditional” or “sumo” stance, it’s not uncommon for more inexperienced lifters to let their form break when the weight gets heavy or they start to fatigue. Usually what happens is instead of keeping the hips low, head up, and chest spread, they let their hips come straight into the air, pulling with almost straight legs. This shifts the emphasis from the hips, glutes, hamstrings, lats, and upper back to primarily the lower back.
Doing this not only restricts how much weight you can use, but also leaves you more susceptible to injury while not strengthening the primary muscle groups you need for a big deadlift.
Spending time with more manageable weight in order to make near-perfect form virtually “second nature” will take longer, but be more beneficial in the long run.
#2 – Improve Explosive Power
The hardest part of the deadlift is usually the very beginning of the lift when you’re trying to initially pull the bar off the floor. This is because you’re starting from a “dead stop”.
As an aside, it’s also why each subsequent rep that gets “bounced” off the floor is usually easier than the very first rep.
To be able to deadlift more weight, you need to be able to contract your muscles as hard as possible. When you can contract your muscles quickly, you’ll be able to contract them harder. When you can contract them harder, you’ll be able to generate more strength, and in turn, deadlift more weight.
Adding some simple explosive power work to your program in the form of cleans, high pulls, or even kettlebell swings can do wonders for your deadlift.
#3 – Strengthen Your Upper Back
After being able to initially pull the bar off the floor, the second most common place for guys to get “stuck” in their deadlift is at the very top of the movement, just prior to “locking out” a rep. One of the best ways to solve this problem and increase your deadlift is to build a strong upper back.
Doing shrugs for the trapezius muscles can help, as can various exercises for the rear deltoids such as face pulls, rear delt raises, or band pull-aparts. But in general, rowing movements will be your best option here. A favorite amongst many strong deadlifters is kroc rows, where you do a set of single arm dumbbell rows with as heavy of a dumbbell as you can muster for high reps – 15-20 or more – to absolute muscular failure.
Many lifters have reported a significant increase in their max deadlift after having adding kroc rows to their routine for only a few weeks.
Add these three things to your overall workout program and you should find your deadlift improving in pretty short order.