The deadlift is an exercise that's too often neglected, which is a huge shame. Not in our Spartan training, where it is one of the three lifts that support our whole program.
To execute a deadlift is simple. But this doesn't mean that good form isn't important. Ignore good form on a heavy deadlift and you are asking for injury.
The Spartan Deadlift
Take a barbell and load it with weights. Have it on the floor a few inches from your feet. Your feet should be slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Keep your chest up and your hips down. Squat down to the floor and grab the bar with your hands facing you or, if you prefer, one palm facing you and one palm facing away holding the bar. Be sure to have your head in a neutral position. Pull as you straighten your legs. The bar will stop at the mid quad. That's one rep. Lower and repeat.
The deadlift is a brilliant exercise that will pack hard muscle on your entire body as long as you lift HEAVY. We're talking muscle everywhere from your quads to your arms and shoulders. Literally, your entire body. Not many other exercises can make that claim, maybe none other aside from the squat.
These following tips will improve your success with this important lift:
- Explode Up. If you pull “slow” you will never develop real power in the deadlift. EXPLODE up. As you become more effective with this lift, you'll find your ability to generate force also expands quickly in your everyday life. This is REAL functional fitness. As an added bonus muscle capable of explosive power looks great too. Many people who were never quite able to get six-pack abs often start doing heavy deadlifts and end up unveiling them in less than a month.
Keep Your Core Tight. Your abs, lower back, and buttocks should all stay tight while you deadlift. This is an important way to protect yourself from injury.
- NEVER Wear a Weight Lifting Belt. Not only do weight lifting belts look ridiculous, but they also do more to cause injury than to protect it. They keep your abs and lower back weak. This sustained weakness, while the rest of your torso gets stronger has ended many a weight lifting enthusiast's injury-free streaks. Never buy a weight lifting belt. If someone gives you one, return it and buy protein powder instead!
Deadlift Variations Worth Trying
There are two deadlift variations that are a good fit for our program. Feel free to use either on your second deadlift day of the week if you choose.
The Rack Deadlift. This is done inside a squat rack with the safety bars set at a height equal to your knees, more or less. Place the barbell on the safety bars. This will allow you to lift MUCH heavier since the range of motion is reduced. Otherwise, follow the same form as a normal deadlift. Rack deadlifts are excellent for breaking through plateaus in training and building more power.
One-Armed Deadlift. You can perform this with either a heavy kettlebell or dumbbell. Focus on speed when you explode up. Be sure to do an equal number of sets with each arm.