Just you vs. the bar. You either pick it up…or you don’t.
The deadlift is a ‘full body’ exercise – when the weight gets heavy pretty much every muscle fibre in your body will be working hard.
JD Fitness – Bent Over Row
The bent over row is a great exercise to strengthen your lats and lower back, both of which are key muscles throughout the deadlift.
Grab the bar just wider than shoulder width with an overhand grip, then stick your backside out until you’re at about 45 degrees to the floor. Once you’re in this position row the bar into your belly and concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together and squeezing your lats at the back of each rep.
JD Fitness – Assisted Natural Hamstring Curl
Strong hamstrings are essential to get the bar off the floor and this is the king of hamstring isolation exercises.
Using a lat pull down (or glute ham raise if you have one) wedge your heels under the knee pad and kneel on the seat. Have a stick (or similar) to use for assistance throughout.
Once you’re in the correct position pull up as hard as you can through your heels onto the pad and you’ll feel your hamstrings contract. Then lower yourself as slowly as you can trying to put the weight through your hamstrings rather than your arms.
Once you get to the bottom position reverse the movement using as little arm assistance as possible.
JD Fitness – 2-Point Dumbbell Row
The dumbbell row should be a staple in anyones routine, especially those who want to pick some heavy weights off the floor!
A dumbbell row will help build your lats, traps and core muscles, all essential for a good deadlift.
Rest a hand and knee on a bench, while keeping your back flat and abs braced, grab a dumbbell with your free hand. From the stretched position row the weight back towards your waist and try to flex your lat at the top. Lower the weight under full control back to a stretch position.
JD Fitness – Romanian Deadlift
There is no better better exercise than the Romanian deadlift to strengthen your lower back, hamstrings and glutes.
From standing grab a bar with a shoulder width grip, with a slight bend in your knees push your hips back as far as you can until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings (imagine someone has got a rope around your waist and they’re pulling your hips back). Once you feel the stretch reverse the movement and try to flex your butt as you lock you.
JD Fitness – Deadlift from Blocks
The starting point of the block pull raises the bar about 6 – 10 inches off the floor. This feels different from a ‘normal’ deadlift and will change your starting position.
For most this is actually a more comfortable exercise than a regular deadlift from the floor and is therefore a great way to drill proper form. The extra room under the bar will mean you’ll be able to keep a neutral spine and lead with your chest.