Updated: Jul 20, 2019
1.If you’re slow off the floor - Deficit Deadlifts
Once you have trained hard for sometime put in hours of perfect technique with the bar you’ll potentially start to slow down with progress and the lift itself starts becoming difficult in places it originally never once was. The common troublesome spot in when the bar leaves the floor. People start to feel breaking the floor is much harder, with the extra weight on the bar. We all have strong and weak points its normal.
This can be because your hamstrings/ posterior chain are weak and need to be strengthened. Another possibility is your back. I mean your entire back is letting you down. So you need to work of additional back exercises to build up strength and size. The lift itself puts you in a disadvantage position. The loads used should be reduced to 65-70%.
Lets cover the deficit deadlifts as the main culprit is the hamstrings in most people.
For this variation you will need a box or something study to raise the floor about 2-3inches, anything bigger will intervene with form. You approach the same setup as you would the usual deadlift. The difference is now the amount of hip flexion has increased and the knees traveling forward to keep further upright. From this position you lift how you would normally. All the cues and steps are the same.
Spend 4-6 weeks on these and go back to the floor to see how much faster you now are.
2. If you’re struggling with grip - Farmer walks
When you have lengthy sets with high reps you know your grip is going to be tested to the limits. Using chalk can help, also resorting to straps can be an option. Although building up good grip strength is a must before using straps I suggest. Once you start hitting big numbers then straps can be used.
Getting your grip better and stronger is important if you want to lift heavy and progress over the long haul. Deadlifting over time itself with impact grip strength and can take you far. But if you are not blessed with a strong grip there are other means to implement to help out.
The exercise I recommend you start adding in are heavy farmers walks with kettlebells, dumbbells or the trap bar. Nothing will work your core, back, legs and grow phenomenal grip strength like these.
How you start is simple. Find some space you can do for time, distance or laps. Pick up a heavy weight and carrie it back and forth with tall posture, braced abs and tight grip. Another factor is how fast you walk. Use small, fast steps and move the feet quickly, essentially shorten the stride and stop the equipment from swinging.
Throw this on at end the of a session to finished your grip and body off well and truly. The added benefit is the aerobic system get tested.
3. If you can’t lock out - Rack/Block Pulls
The second sticking point is the lock out. You can be fast off the floor, comes up smoothly, passes the knees then you try to lock the hips forward, but you can’t fast enough, and end up missing the rep.
The reason for being is down to weak gluteus strength. How to combat this is with rack pulls or block pulls, even barbell hip thrusts off the floor.
Using block pulls to help correct this issue is where I recommend starting with. Play with them for awhile, progress like any lift, figure out if you enjoy them. If not a big fan of them you try out barbell hip thrusts instead.
Setting up for block is simple. Set the bar height below knees generally using crossfit boxes or squat safety bars. I’d suggest using boxes if you can, as the plates sit on them like the real lift from the floor, where's using a rack it's only the bar sitting on the rack. This doesn't replicate the same set up as the real deadlift because it doesn't allow the person to use the normal intricacies you would with the plates on the boxes or floor.
Execute the lift normally. Now the range is reduced you can focus on the lock with speed and accuracy. Really put you mind to using the hips and not lifting solely with the lower back - that is incorrect, and could lead to injury.
How much weight to use depends; you can go light and heavy on these comes down your programming. I would start light, work on explosive reps and speed. Another day of the week you could go heavy for lower reps.
Return back to normal deadlifts and look forward to shooting the hips out with ease.
Use these tips and tools to deadlift like a pro you inspire to be. Watch yourself lift monstrous weights with maximum tension and muscle recruitment without the difficulty you once faced. Also, record yourself after and see the changes in your technique and execution.