It's pretty much a do or die thing on deadlifts, either you do it or not. But nonetheless, it does have its share of "annoying" weaknesses that you have to work through or like history your doomed to repeat it.
Unable to Lockout - This is common mostly because of doing deadlifts for reps. There is nothing wrong if you're a bodybuilder, but a powerlifter that does deads for reps will start to fatigue later.
I'll talk more about this later, but lack of lockout power or the inability to lockout the weight is caused from "reps" on deadlifts. The solution: Heavy Rack Deadlifts are one solution. Like Bench Lockouts, Rack Deadlifts help to handle more weight and will increase your lockout strength.
Example: If you're doing 700 on rack deadlifts and your max on deadlifts is about 500, then locking it out now shouldn't be a problem since you've handled 200+ lbs more than that on rack deads.
Also, Pin Pulls, which is one or two pin settings lower, these really stress the lockout and help with using the legs to lock out the weight. You can find out more about Pin Pulls at http://westside-barbell.com.
Lack of Grip - Down the road, this becomes an annoying problem to deal with. When you have problems holding on to the bar or before you lockout or the bar slides out of your hands regardless of how much chalk you have on your hands is grip issues.
Rack Deads and Pin Pulls also deal with this but also "direct" grip work helps as well. See my previous article on "Grip Training" to learn more, but using grippers (my recommendation: heavygrips.com), doing DB holds, which is taking some dumbbells and w/o straps, holding on to them for a minute. You can time these as well. If you've watched the world's strongest man, its similar to the car lift they had several years ago when it was a timed event.
Barbell and DB shrugs will also help grip issues as well. If you've read my logs or past articles, I've mentioned an exercise that can help with this, Barbell DL Shrugs, which is the combination of rack deads and barbell shrugs. Also, squeezing the bar on everything else you do will improve your grip as well.
Lack of Form - This goes back to what I was talking about. When people all of a sudden start having bad form on deadlifts, it could be from doing deadlifts for reps.
Like I said, there's nothing wrong with doing deadlifts for reps if your a bodybuilder but to a powerlifter I believe this "rep" method teaches bad form because when you fatigue, you start to round out the back, use your lower back more, etc. Once you start doing this more and more often, you often "create" problems you wouldn't have had in the first place.
I've learned this from doing deadlifts for reps myself. Sure it helped me to build a muscular back but my form on deadlifts started to slack up a bit. To me, doing anything over 5 reps is "worthless" on deadlifts. Singles work the best because its one rep and your concentration is good on one reps. This also helps with keeping away from injuries too. Practice form on deadlifts with lighter attempts until you master it.
Using too much lower back - This is what I'm guilty of a few years back and for a while it was working for me because I have a strong lower back, but it didn't last. The heavier weights would start telling on me and nothing would move "easy" unless I used my legs.
You should start the lift with using the legs to pull the weight and use the back to lockout and finish the lift. If you're a sumo lifter, you can benefit greatly from this even more so then from a conventional lifter. Working squats and/or speed squats advocated by Westside Barbell will help with this. Speed Deadlifts will help as well.
Lack of Speed - This is where Speed Deadlifts play another part in the lift. By doing the lift slow, you drain yourself of the energy needed to finish the movement and thereby "dooming" yourself completely.
You have to have some sort of speed going to get you through the sticking point and with that you can gain more energy to complete the lift and not exhaust yourself. Increasing your GPP will also help as well by doing plyometrics, sled pulls, etc.
Weak Hamstrings - If your legs "quake" a bit on heavy deads, this could be the problem to it. This also drains your energy as well and strengthening the hamstrings is the way to bring them up. Various hamstring work will help like speed deadlifts, leg raises and leg curls.
But having a GHR (Glute Ham Raise) machine nails this weakness. Not many gyms have this machine but it really helps with this weakness. You can find out more about this machine here: http://westside-barbell.com or http://elitefts.com.
This covers all of the typical training weaknesses but like I mentioned in the first part of this three-part series, if you don't have training weakness then you haven't found any yet. Training is more than setting personal records (PR), it's also about finding those weaknesses and making them stronger. Until next time, later!
Training Weaknesses - Part Two!
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