10 Tips For A Stronger Deadlift

10 Tips For A Stronger Deadlift

I am pretty obsessed when it comes to training and lifting.

It’s all I do, non stop and it’s been like this since I was 17 years old.

At the moment between coaching my students, coaching my lifters for PowerLifting and training for the IPF Raw PowerLifting Worlds In Johannesburg South Africa I eat, sleep & breath lifting.

In doing so I am reading more, studying more and learning more and always TESTING to see what works for me and my students.

I have been really focusing on my deadlift recently and also identifying that a deadlift is a deadlift but everyone has a different body and mechanics and injuries.  This is when it gets fun.

So here are 10 ttips that you can use to improve your deadlift, get stronger, reduce injury and of course lift HeavyWeights.

10 Tips For A Better STRONGER Deadlift.

1. Set Up

The most important thing for a good lift is a good set up, so always practice your set up over and over and over.

Treat your light weights like HeavyWeights and always be working on your set up.

Remember… A Good Set Up Is A Good Lift.

2. Get Your Stance

Find your stance, conventional, sumo, mixed, whatever works for you.  It’s always good to mix your stances as well to avoid pattern burn out and long term injuries.

When it comes to a stance play around and find what stance feels good for YOU.  Everyone is different and finding your foot placement, bar placement goes hand in hand with your set up.  So find your stance, and dial it in.


3. Get Your Grip

Most of my training is done with over/over grip and I use straps when I train, except for when I compete.

Sometimes hook grip, sometime straps (2 bicep tears is not fun).  I leave the over/under mixed grip for when I go heavy.  Gotta save my biceps for competing.

In general training I would recommend doing as much as you can with an over/over grip to avoid wear on the distal bicep tendon (the lower end of the bicep tendon towards your elbow) as well for long term shoulder alignment issues.

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You will always be stronger with an over/under grip.

Generally your dominant hand will go as the under grip, but I recommend to most of my students to just grab the bare naturally without thinking and use whatever grip comes naturally.

It’s very important to “break the bar” along with “white knuckling” the bar.  You want your grip and tension as hard as possible.

For more information on Deadlift Grip check out my blog post “What’s The Best Grip For Deadlifts?”


4. Attack The Bar

As you get heavier you need to get more aggressive with the weight, so be sure to raise your intensity as your weight goes up.

HeavyWeights need maximum focus.

The worst thing you can do when things get heavy on a deadlift is conserve and hold back.  When things get heavy you have to get more intense.  You have a much higher chance of injury with the lifts that you miss versus the lifts that you make.

Have confidence that you will “Make The Lift” and don’t hold back.


5. Get Your Breath

How you breath is critical when lifting.  I take a belly breath when my hips are high, I press all my core into my belt making my core as tight/braced as possible.  I won’t let my breath go until I make the lift.  Then repeat.

You want to create maximum tension and LOCK in your core tight as possible.  You want to keep your ribs locked down and breath into your belly (for squats and deadlifts).

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Learning how to breath and getting your breath is very important for strength and reducing your chance of injury.


6. Create Full Body Tension

A deadlift (like any lift when done properly) is a full body lift.  you want to get every single muscle tense and tight.  I always say “Get Tight”.

You need to learn how to utilize every single bit of strength, muscle and energy and turn your whole body into a one maximum output.  The deadlift done properly pretty much works everything.

If you lose tension you have a higher chance of getting hurt.  So learn to create full body tension and “Get Tight”.


7. Push Away The Ground

On the first pull of the deadlift focus on PUSHING the ground away, not picking the weight.  Get your legs into the deadlift by pushing the ground away.

Never try to pick up or pull the weight up, try to focus on pushing the ground away.  Pushing the ground away will force your legs to do more of the work than trying to pull through your back which is a big no no.

From the ground to above the knees focus on pushing the ground away from you, which leads into our next tip.


8. Hips Into The Bar

Once the bar crosses the knees then focus on driving you hips into the bar.  Think squeezing your bum and driving your hips into the bar. You want maximum glute/hips at this part of the deadlift.

Don’t focus on trying to pull the weight back, this will get your lower back too much into this and change the pathway of the bar, instead focus on having the bar slide up your quads and driving your hips into the bar.

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This will dramatically improve your lockout (and build a nice booty as well).


9. Eyes Up Chest Up

I like picking a spot in the horizon and looking at it and not moving my eyes or head.  Some people like to look down for a neutral neck.  I don;t like it, but whatever works.  Drive your chest forward, lock in the lats and keep the upper body tight.

If you have a logo on your t-shirt think about having that logo facing forward and not down.

You want your eyes looking forward on the horizon and you want your shoulders tight.

Always think “Eyes Up Chest Up”, for females a great cue is “Ass Out Girls Out”.


10.  Make The Lift

Don’t miss lifts in training.  If your stepping into deadlift make the lift and get it.  If your doing heavy then focus 100%.  The heavier the weights get the more focus you need.

If your putting weight on the bar MAKE THE LIFT.

I borrowed this from my friend and mentor Dan John and it has always stuck with me.


Here are some of my deadlift videos of both sumo and conventional.

Keep in mind that a 500 lb deadlift is not a huge deadlift, but at a bodyweight of 183 lbs with 1 herniated disc, 3 bulging discs, 2 torn biceps i am VERY VERY happy with this.

I will be representing Team Canada for the Masters 1 Division at the IPF Worlds in June and 3 years ago my back was so bad I couldn’t tie my own shoes or deadlift 225 lbs.

Keep training hard and never stop.


If you enjoyed this article and you like deadlifting check out my PowerLiftIn42 Online Program.

If you would like to focus on powerlifting and maybe even step on the platform contact me via email.


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