Deadlift at Breck Rec

I did a workout today at the Breckenridge Recreation Center CLICK HERE It’s just referred to as Breck Rec here. The main part of my workout was based around the deadlift today.

Deadlift Video

Here’s a video I managed to take of two sets in my deadlift workout today. I did them with my phone and you can see when I knocked my phone over after that first set. If you keep your eyes open you can see it happen.

That aside, I had a really good workout and I went on to do squats, shoulder presses, and chin-up and pull-up exercises. For the deadlift I did a brief warmup set of 25 @ 45 lb RDL. That’s Romanian Deadlift, otherwise called Reverse Deadlift. I’ll do another article on that soon, but it’s a deadlift in which you don’t break at the knees at the lower portion of the lift. You use your glutes and hamstrings with relatively straight legs. It looks a lot like the ending position in the video, just before I stand up. Again, look for an article with video soon.

Bar Loaded for Deadlift sets of 1 at 244 lb
Bar Loaded for Deadlift sets of 1 at 244 lb

I then did a warmup set of 10 @ 111 lb. These are metric Olympic Bumper Plates so they might not add up like you’re used to. Bumper plates work with a flexible resilient floor, or deck, to absorb the impact of dropped loaded bars. Then I did 8 x 3 @ 199 lb.That’s 8 sets of 3 reps at 199 pounds. Those were intended to be my working sets and then I was planning on being done. I had some fuel in the tank still, so to speak, so I loaded up some more weight and did some singles. That’s sets of 1 rep. I did 5 x 1 @ 244 lb. There’s a lot of reasons to do this. We discussed this at the Steve House seminar I attended. Powerlifters train like this in cycles. It’s recently been recommended that runners train like this. I’m experimenting right now to see how effective it can be for me in my activities.

Deadlift Technique

You’ll see in the video that I set up with my feet a little over shoulder width apart and toes pointed outward. That works for me. I have very long legs relative to my height. I can straddle a yardstick. Yep. It makes some leg training annoying, like squats, but I’ve become accustomed to it. So what I’m saying is that if you deadlift, don’t emulate my technique exactly. Find your own foot and let alignment.

Then I set my hands outside my knees with about a thumb length between my first finger wrapping the bar and the edge of the knurling. Again, this is to clear my knees on the way up. Your position might be different. That being said, powerlifters like to pull the bar up as short a distance as possible, which means a narrower grip. I’m not training for powerlifting, I’m training for uphill travel, so I’m just getting a good workout in. I’m not going to stress over little details. If I ever work my way up to a 1000 lb pull it might make more sense to worry about it though.

I rock back and forth subtly, maybe you don’t even notice, to take up the slack in my hamstrings and glutes. I straighten my arms and lock my shoulder sockets, and pull. This is a lot of weight and I’m a bit tired now, having done my working sets already. I’m going a bit slower than I like, but near the top as I gain leverage over the bar I snap my glutes to pull my back straight and hold the bar for a second.

I resist the bar as I lower it, so that I lower it slowly. I’m training the negative or eccentric motion here. The concentric motion is the effort of pulling the bar off the floor. The eccentric motion is resisting gravity as you lower the bar. The eccentric motion is what you use hiking downhill. It’s hard to train for many people, and too much heavy eccentric training in the deadlift or any other exercise can lead to DOMS. That’s Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or the pain you feel the day after your workout. For that reason many coaches have their athletes drop the bar as they step away and let the special flooring take the blow. I lower mine to about an inch off the floor before I drop it. That’s the “clang” you hear at the end of each of the two sets in the video.

Sitting in front of the window taking a break between each set of my deadlift workout
Sitting in front of the window taking a break between each set of my deadlift workout

You might notice that I have a tendency to pull my knees out of the path of the bar a bit early. That’s because I have those long legs and when they’re bent it interrupts the path of the bar. Also since I do RDL training with weights in this range of heavy I have a pretty strong glute and lower back area to pull that bar up. Again, your technique might look completely different.

If you’re not sure how to do this, get some local coaching. Most fitness facilities will have someone who is qualified to teach this to you, or help you get good technique or form that works for you safely. Be sure to subscribe to this blog for more updates, or to get a FREE DOWNLOAD of my “Planning Your Home Cardio” ebook, CLICK HERE.