Feeling stuck with your deadlift routine? Or simply can’t see the full benefits of it yet? Let us introduce you to 4 exercises that will improve your deadlift performance and help you set a new personal record!
The deadlift is a must-have weapon not only in the arsenal of powerlifters and strength athletes, but also in the one of bodybuilders who just want to put on some more meat to their backs. Among many other things, deadlifts are extremely effective for developing your core strength, meaning the strength of the muscles in your upper and lower back, your hips, your buttocks and your abdominals. When you perform deadlifts, all of these muscles work in unison. And having strong and stable core muscles will have great influence on your maximum force and power, as well as help you prevent back problems.
However, all these benefits and much more can only be unlocked by performing deadlifts with proper form and technique. Assuming you’ve mastered that, it’s time to set a new goal: getting the maximum benefits out of this mega-important exercise.
To get there, check out these movements that will help you push your deadlift up and set a new personal deadlift record!
#1. Good Mornings
When done with proper spinal alignment and good form, the good morning can be a terrific move for improving your back health while strengthening your entire posterior chain, including the lower back, core muscles, glutes and hamstrings. What needs to be remembered about this exercise is: keep the movement slow, the form strict and the weight light. Good mornings resemble squats but with brutal form and you can easily become injured if you’re not careful. However, this move is often the missing link to busting through a strength plateau in deadlifts.
There are several variations of good mornings you can try, such as banded good morning, dumbbell good morning, eccentric/isometric good morning, etc., but here we’ll only talk about the barbell variant.
How to perform a barbell good morning:
- Place the bar on your back in the same position you use for squats.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart with toes pointed slightly out.
- Squeeze you upper back and set a good arch in you lower back.
- Keep your knees slightly bent as you push your butt back.
- Hinge at your hips and lean forward, pushing your butt back and maintaining your back arch.
- Continue bending forward until your torso is almost parallel to the floor. Reverse the motion by contracting your glutes, hamstrings and lower back.
#2. Reverse Hyperextensions
Strong glutes and hamstrings are crucial for performing squats, deadlifts, pulls, running and many other movements. And when it comes to targeting these muscles, we rarely overlook one important and very effective exercise – the reverse hyperextension. This move, that can be performed on a reverse hyperextension machine, bench or GHD set up, can improve your hip extension (the key for nearly every athletic endeavor), prevent injury and translate to more functional strength at your major lifts, especially the deadlift.
Exercises such as deadlifts, cleans, snatches and squats require you to properly extend your hips while maintaining a stable and neutral lumbar spine. Increasing strength and function of the glutes and hams can help you develop better movement mechanics, therefore improving muscular strength and endurance.
How to do a reverse hyperextension:
- Place the weight between your ankles as you lay torso and waist on a bench, allowing your hips to hang off. Keep your legs straight and feet on the floor. Raise legs by extending your hips as high as possible, without your torso coming off the bench.
Important: Let the weight pull you under a little and flex the weight back up while keeping your legs straight. At the same time, raise your chest and flex your upper back. If you’re a beginner, start with body weight and start the movement by squeezing first the glutes, then the hamstrings. Slowly add weight and volume for three weeks.
#3. Barbell Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian deadlift is a movement used by weightlifters, powerlifters and other athletes to develop strength and mass in the posterior chain. Unlike the conventional deadlift, the Romanian starts very differently. You’ll want to first start standing, with the barbell at your thighs. Then, bending down with your back straight, the bar should glide down toward your ankles. Then, you’ll contract your glutes and pull the bar back up to your starting position. Sounds easy, right? Of course it’s not, but believe us, mastering this move will mean more power, more speed and more muscle gained with every deadlift you perform. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter – if you’ve encountered plateaus with your deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts are what your routine needs.
To get the most out of it, use a double overhand grip and a conventional deadlift stance. Pull your shoulders back and slightly bend the knees. Then just push your hips straight back and slide the bar down your thighs. Do this until you feel your hamstrings lock up, then squeeze your glutes to return to the starting position.
The pull-up is an essential compound exercise that involves a large number of big and small muscles, most notably the latissimus dorsi and biceps. Pull-ups are very efficient because when performing them you get to work your biceps, triceps, forearms, wrists, grip strength, lats, shoulders and core, all at the same time!
Performing pull-ups will help you build mass and improve your functional strength, strengthen the relationship between your nervous and muscular systems, thoroughly exhaust your back and core muscles and improve your posture. Dreaming of a V-taper? Pull-ups are your go-to exercise.
How to properly execute pull-ups:
- Jump up and grab onto the bar, hanging from it.
- Use a pronated (overhand) grip.
- Clench your abs and start pulling yourself up using your arms until your chest is almost touching the bar.
- Raise yourself up higher so your chin is above the pull-up bar.
- Keep your shoulders back and low all throughout the exercise.
- Don’t swing your legs front to back or side to side.
- Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat.
COMMON DEADLIFT MISTAKES
In conclusion, here are the most common mistakes lifters make while struggling to acquire the ability to deadlift:
- Pulling too frequently
- Using too much weight too soon
- Looking down
- Jerking the bar
- Pushing straight up instead of driving feet out
- Placing hands too close
- Not enough speed
- Pulling up and not back
Now that you have all of this in mind, we’re sure that you’re ready to hit the gym and turn it into practice! Good luck!