Add 10 Pounds to Your Deadlift Using These 5 Tips

5 world-class, yet simple tips to increase your deadlift. Do you do all of these?

With the deadlift being a really easy way to build your total in a powerlifting meet, it makes sense to prioritize it in your training.

Think about it this way: if you add 5% to a 500 lb deadlift, you can increase your total by 25 lbs. On the other hand, if you bench 300 and added 5% there, you’d only increase your powerlifting total by 15 lbs.

Don’t get me wrong, your goal should be to get stronger at all 3 lifts, but when it comes to strategy, the deadlift definitely holds an advantage with building your total up (which is what can win the powerlifting meet).

With that said, here’s 5 tips that I’ve used with the powerlifters that I am a powerlifting coach for in Vancouver, BC as well as the online powerlifting clients that I work with.

  1. Pull the slack out of the bar.

    If you have a tendency to get whipped forwards. you’re probably not setting the tension correctly before your pull. Pre-tensioning the deadlift by “pulling the slack out” will allow you to create a strong wedge and optimize your starting position
  2. Pull heavy less often

    Often as lifters get stronger, they will get married to the old idea that has worked in the past for them that they need to pull heavy every week. Once technique is solidified and weights begin to become closer and closer to the lifter’s potential, we often need to reduce frequency of heavy deadlifts. This can be as simple as alternating weeks between medium (~80-90% of your heavy day) and heavy, overload-style deadlift sessions. You’ll probably notice your squat starts to progress again once you space out your deadlift sessions as well.

  3. Wave load

    Given the concentric-first nature of the deadlift, we need to create a LOT of tension right away to have a strong pull – you don’t get the advantage of an eccentric load in the DL like you would in a bench press or squat. As such, a VERY effective tool to create that “ramp up” to peak performance in a session is to use wave loading. In short, you don’t just work up to your top set in a linear fashion, but instead go 2 steps forward, 1 step back, 2 steps forward.

    An example of how you could use wave loading when working up to a 500 lb deadlift triple could be:
    – 400*3
    – 440*3
    – 480*3
    – 460*3
    – 500*3

    The extra “wave” of sets on set 4 and 5 allows you to catch a second wind and deliver a strong pull on your top set. If you’re someone who tends to have your best sets as middle or last sets in the day, this is probably a great strategy to try out.
  4. Train Opposite Stance

    Especially for sumo deadlifters. Building your opposite stance will help to develop neglected muscle groups and in turn build your weak points in the deadlift.

    As a sumo puller, you will find you can develop a LOT of strength off the floor as you build your conventional pull.
  5. Incorporate Tempo Work

    One of my preferred tools for building technical dominance in the deadlift is tempo training – especially using controlled eccentrics. Given that you CAN do the deadlift as a concentric-only lift, it’s easy to neglect the lower portion of the movement.

    Eccentric training is an important aspect to muscle growth and technique development. If your back/hams are lagging in your deadlift, it’s worth incorporating at least one tempo/lighter deadlift session per week and drilling technique.

    Your glutes will probably be sore afterwards🙂

PS – Here’s 3 ways I can help you:

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