By Joshua Bidwell
If you don’t have the form down, you’re not only hurting yourself, but you’re wasting time, neither of which is very appetizing. Do yourself a favor and make sure that your form is right. And don’t think just because you’ve been doing it for a while means you form is perfect. Have you heard the saying ‘practice makes perfect?’ Well, sorry to disappoint, but that’s not true. PERFECT practice makes perfect. So every three months or so take a video of your lift.
Doesn’t need to be heavy, moderate weight will do. Watch your form, feet and toes shoulder width and slightly pointed out, placing your shoulders over the bar, back arched. If you don’t know if you’re rounding or arching your back, it’s easily to check -just keep your head tilted back. Anything else I haven’t covered on form can be found here How to Deadlift
2. Assistance Exercises
Anything that works the same muscles as a dead is an assistance exercise. Yes squats count (technically), but that’s its own lift altogether. I use squats for the leg portion of the lift. For assistance exercises I use a good bit of different ones. My go-to’s are Romanian deads, sumo deads, and rows. For rows I do both barbell and dumbbells. Barbells I use both grips, starting palms down, then switching when I can’t hit my reps. For the dumbbells, I only do one at a time, and always always do them heavy. Like, crazy heavy. You should really have to push yourself.
Then there are sumo deads. A nice lift, it shortens the distance your legs have to go, but keeps the back work essentially the same.
And my personal favorite is the Romanian deads. Also referred to as the “stiff legged deadlift.” This is done like a normal dead, but your legs are all almost locked out. Legs rigid, grab the bar, and in this instance, lift with your back. These have proved the best for me when trying to get that next 5 pounds.
I know what you’re thinking- you’re thinking, “I’m way to hardcore to be wasting time on little fish.” Lucky for you, I’ve got your ticket. A nasty little isolator called a ‘good morning.’ Rack up like a squat, but don’t squat. Place your legs the same as in the Romanian. Bend at the waist, come chest just short of parallel to the floor, and back up. Have fun with those.
If these don’t focus on your back enough to suit you, hit the pull-up bar and the roman chair for some back extensions.
And if you heed but one thing in this article, let it be this. Never leave out bridging. The simplest of all assistance exercises, you need nothing but a bit of floor space, and a happy place to go to as you sweat out what feels like pure pain as you try to make it to 3 minutes. So, if you’re having trouble with your next max and deads aren’t doin it for you, split it up into a few of deadlift variations and see how you fare.
We all have those days when we hit a 10 out of 10 in the weight room. And if you’re devoted to your training, a good number of your days will hit the mark. In case you didn’t get the memo, growth occurs when you rest, not when you’re doing the work. So, rest rest rest. Get bigger, stronger, and more badass in general. And if you just can’t miss that new episode of House, Tivo it. You don’t have Tivo? Have a friend do it for you. No friends? You should probably spend a little less time in the weight room.
I don’t know about you, but after a good session I’m like a bear coming out of hibernation. As a matter of fact I stay like that. So what do you do? Eat big. Eat often. Fuel those muscles for the next go around.
I said eat big, not eat Big Mac. It’s your life, do what you will. But if you’re looking forward to being ahead of the Jones’s when the numbers come in, go for the good stuff.
Luckily, the big man upstairs made it real easy. Eat lots of colorful fruits and veggies. Pretty colors means good for you. You’d be hard pressed to go overboard too, unless you have an unhealthy attraction to prunes. Meats are also simple. Lean is good. But you need fat. If you like some bacon with that plate of eggs go for it. I’m not your mom, just remember your success is directly connected to your discipline. Nuff said.
Focus – Set short and long term goals. Know what you want. Thomas Edison once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right.” This is where it all comes together. The focus must be maintained. It’s with you as you pull that last rep. And it’s with you when you pass that KFC, and all of its tasty fried gold just a fiver away. Willpower is key. Stake your claim. And no matter what you’re doing, keep those goals first and foremost in your noggin.
Photos are of Konstantin Konstantinov and credits to Alexander Trinitatov.