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Deadlift like a pro [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jan 29, 2019 9:30:00 AM


Deadlift like a pro

Deadlift like a pro 


Deadlifting like a pro is a lot more about mindset than technique. If you follow the advice in this article by the letter you will deadlift like a pro tomorrow. Being a pro will take ten years of deadlifting like a pro.

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What is your goal 


Why do you want to deadlift like a pro? Do you want to get the benefits of being strong? Do you like winning trophies? You are passionate about the sport of powerlifting? Whatever it is that brought you it is important that you dig deeper on the why. When I meet beginners they focus too much on the what and the how. Your why will drive action and make you better. There is a very good TED talk on the topic which I highly recommend to you to get better results across the board. In fitness I see three big areas: 


  • Looks 
  • Performance 
  • Health 


If you are all about looks you will be in for a hard time. The deck is stacked against you as you are up against full-time athletes and models with perfect genetics. This is what you see on the television. So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it. Diet will be the main influencer for your success. Prepare to be hungry m, tired and grumpy. To achieve the perfect looks your choices might not always be healthy or help your performance on the pitch. In the end, you will look like a Greek god. Who knows you might even turn this into a career. 


The next group is mainly interested in performance. Your exercises are picked based on the carry over to your chosen sport. Intensity is your best friend on the road to success. Diet will merely become the fuel for your ambition but not the main driver. The high intensity leads to regular injuries. The choices you make to achieve your goals will not always be pretty or healthy. In the end, you will beat the competition and be victorious.


The last group is mainly interested in health. The choices you make are balanced. You stay out of the extremes and run a low risk of injury and burn out. You might not make it to the podium or front cover. That is ok though while you sip your tea and enjoy the view. 


As you want to deadlift like a pro you are very likely in the performance camp. If you have not done sit down and reflect on your goals. It will help to get better results. 


Be professional 


If you want to deadlift like a pro, be professional. Sounds simple but it is actually hard to accomplish. Show up to the gym in time. Prioritise your training over other activities. Be studious and committed. Keep detailed records of your progress. Stay focused and do not give up. Get enough sleep. Stick to your diet plan.


There are many points which relate to being professional. You need the discipline and mental balance to stick to deadlifting for a long time to become a pro. This does not happen overnight and might even take you ten years. This is the most important factor in my opinion as everything springs from this. If lack the discipline and professional mindset you will never deadlift like a pro. 


Understand programming 


If you are new I recommend studying programming for a month or two before diving really into it. I would have benefitted a lot if I had read more books before I took action. Avoid falling into paralysis analysis and postpone to take action due to lack of data. That is the other extreme. Books that I would recommend to read 


  • Deadlift Dynamite 
  • Simple and sinister 
  • Starting strength 
  • Wendler 531 
  • Principles of strength 


Starting strength is probably the hardest to read. Mark Rippetoe has a tendency to make things unnecessarily convoluted. The information in the book is great to understand the beginner phase of your training. 


Simple and sinister gives you everything you need to know about kettlebells. The method is simple and effective. You will think about kettlebell training a lot differently after reading the book. With this knowledge, you have a great toolset to address your middle section which is important for a good deadlift. 


Wendler 531 and principles of strength are great books for the intermediate trainee. The knowledge from these books will especially come in handy in year 2 - 5 of your training. Chad Wesley Smith and Jim Wendler both come from an athletic background so you can also use their knowledge to apply it sports and not just powerlifting. In addition, their material is actually fun to read. 


Deadlift Dynamite would be the last book to recommend to you. It has great warm-up drills for the deadlift and entire cycles on how to deadlift 1000 pounds. A lot of the information will feel redundant based on what you have read in the other books. Focus on the programming cycles used to build up the first ever 1000 pound pull. 


Plan backward 


Professionals plan backward. They outline every single step in as much detail as possible to be successful. If you want to deadlift 500kg you have to line outs how you get to 100kg, 200kg,300kg, and 400kg first. 


Use Excel spreadsheets to do the necessary calculations. Many programs come with calculators. Plug in your numbers and see what happens. Account for injuries and breaks. They will happen as this is a marathon, not a sprint. 


Keep the plan you made and see how you are progressing against it. Make the necessary adjustments when you are falling behind. This might be a reset or intensification if training based on the phase of your life you are in. 


Work with a coach 


Professionals work with coaches. Coaches can spot your strength and weaknesses and be more realistic about them. Self-analysis is always flawed based on the lack of objectivity and reference points. A professional lifting coach has a lifetime of lifting himself/herself under their belt. They have also observed more lifters and can make a better estimate whether you are progressing in the way you should or not. 


The knowledge transfer will save you years of experimenting to find out these little tips and tricks only a veteran has. Especially when you are having a hard time perspective is very helpful. 


Know your competition


If you want to deadlift like a pro you are in it to win it. Know your competition. Study their strengths and weaknesses. Know when they compete and how they open their meets. 


When you get to the professional level it is as much about the mental game as it is about the lifts. Take every edge you can get by being more prepared and observing what the others are doing. You will pick your numbers better and have fewer surprises on the day. 


Pick your opener wisely 


In powerlifting, it is important to establish at least one successful attempt on each lift to build a total. Pick your openers wisely to achieve this. 


The general guideline is to pick a weight that you can do for an intense triple in the gym. My current max is 150kg on the bench press. I will walk into the gym any day and press 125kg for three. 130kg will be challenging in shitty days. So I establish my opener to be 130kg. My second lift would be 145kg and the final lift 155kg. Make your first lift is a safe bet. Use the second to see how fast it moves. Be sure you can hit it. If that lift flies up, try for a personal best on the third. 


Deadlift like a pro 


Lifting professionally is mainly about three things. First is discipline. Second is planning. The third is taking advice from others. The rest is up to the daily grind which will come easily if you get these three principles down. 


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Topics: Lift stronger, Deadlift, Fitness, Strength