No good guy, no bad guy. Just you and the damn weight. That's how I like it; a level playing field. There is no negative movement, no “bounce”. You must create your own energy. The deadlift is a popular movement among some of the most massive lifters in the world. Others shy away from it due to the fact that it requires so much mental and physical energy. Incorporate deadlifts into your routine and you will get increases in your upper and lower back, traps, glutes, and hamstrings, not to mention increased grip strength and forearm power.
Proper Execution Of The Deadlift
There are two styles, conventional and sumo. For bodybuilding purposes, the conventional method will suit your needs more as it utilizes much more back involvement (what we are after). The deadlift will create a thickness in the upper and lower back that you cannot otherwise duplicate.
Use a shoulder width stance, toes pointed out slightly. Keep your ass down, and arms straight and locked. Grip the bar where the knurling on the bar starts. The wider you stand, the wider you must grip it and the further you then must pull the weight. This obviously requires more work and will decrease your leverages. So instead use a closer stance, hence a closer grip and therefore cut down on the distance of the bar and so you can lift bigger weights.
Use an over under grip (most use strong hand over). To initiate the movement make sure firstly that your back is flat and not rounded, head slightly up. PUSH YOUR FEET THROUGH THE FLOOR. That is what you should think constantly about, pushing your feet through the floor instead of lifting the bar. Initiate the pull with your legs, not your arms. Do not jerk the weight. Keeping the back flat, keep pushing the feet through the floor, keeping your head up.
Keep the bar in close to your body-it should drag up your shins and remain in contact with your body throughout the movement. Once it passes the knees, throw your head back and thrust your hips forward, then lock your knees. Congrats. You have done one rep of the king of the mass builders. On every rep, ensure you let the bar rest completely and DO NOT BOUNCE THE WEIGHT. Also, one word on straps: If you can get away without using them, do so. If your grip is weak, the only way to overcome it is to train it, and nothing trains the grip better than heavy deads.
How To Incorporate Deadlifts Into Your Routine
Heavy deadlifting should be done a maximum of once every seven days-even better is once every ten days. It is a very taxing exercise. Warmups should be just that, warmups. If I were doing a set of five with 405, warmups would go 135x5, 225x3, 315x1, and maybe 365x1. I would then chalk my hands lightly and pull my 405x5 reps.
I don't advise doing more than two top sets of deadlifts. Reps over 5 are not recommended. It is a power movement and five rep sets are best for building a good power base. Start out with weights that are medium, and try to NEVER miss a rep in the gym. You should train your squat a minimum of two days before your deadlifts. Your lower back will need to be ready to rock and roll come deadlift day.
You should wear a good power belt for your heavy sets, and flat shoes such as wrestling shoes as you want your feet level, which provides a solid pulling base. Also, you need not pull heavy more than two weeks in a row. A light week or off week from heavy pulls will keep your progress moving in the right direction.
What To Expect
After some heavy weeks of deadlifting, you should notice increased back musculature from top to bottom. Your glutes will be in better shape, and your hams and traps should have great results as well. Your grip will be better, and hopefully you will have an Animal Attitude to match. You'll need it to pull up some big weights. NOW- set a goal to deadlift 500 and earn a back people will stare at. You have to #%&*ing want it. So go out and make it happen. Start pulling heavy, like an Animal. Set a goal, and go kick ass and attain it. Make it happen. If I can do it, you can do it.
Editors Note: When Sgt Rock first started deadlifting he could only pull 335 pounds. He has pushed that up to 800 pounds. At 5'11” and 230 pounds, he is several time and current world deadlift champion.