Updated: Jun 24, 2021
Here are some deadlift variations to help us train through the parts of the lift we suck at.
1. Deficits and pause reps help off the ground, if that’s where you fail when the weight starts climbing. Adding a 2” deficit to your pull can help emphasize exerting as much force into the ground through the lower half by forcing the glutes to lengthen even more than normal. Should make a regular from-the-ground pull easier by comparison.
2. Adding a pause sucks, but it teaches us to keep tension in the lower half where it belongs. Spine angle doesn’t really change from the ground to wherever you choose to pause. And if the upper half doesn’t change, that implies that the lower half is doing the work.
3. Horizontally opposed deadlifts teach us to keep tension in the lats throughout the pull, which will help with torso rigidity and fight the spinal flexion that sometimes occurs especially as fatigue sets in. Lats are the biggest muscle in the upper half. Let them help!
The key thing to remember with whatever variation you choose is that your process and setup should remain constant, and we should treat these as though we’re pulling traditionally. None of the cues change, we’re still looking to exert as much force into the ground with the legs as possible, still driving the hips into extension as soon as we get the barbell to the knees, and we still hinge down.
TL;DR- deadlifts are helpful, do them. If you find that they’re difficult, they’re difficult for everyone. Use these when you get stuck somewhere.