I’m used to training to a set schedule, meaning that I have my weekly workouts all laid out ahead of time.
However, latley I have been straying form my planned approach to training by how I feel.
This has been great for me.
I have had many personal bests by going in to my gym and training by how I feel instead of training what I had scheduled.
An example of this would be:
Monday: I usually deadlift, but what happens if your body has a different plan? Maybe you don’t feel as strong that day, maybe you mentally want to do something else. If so then go for ti.
I may walk in the gym and plan on doing a certain bodypart but then after I warm up I decide to do a full body day (like today)
I find this way of working out to be fun to me, training is fun to me anyways but this way of training has reignited the flame in this old, seasoned body.
Give it a try and see how it works for you.
You might just have a better training session than you had planned.
Today is sunday, I usually never train on sunday but I felt like training so I did and it was awesome.
- Squat 2×8
- BB bench press 2×8
- BB shrug 2×8
- Chin ups 4×5 with weight
- Side Laterals high volume 4 different styles
- Dips on the dip bars 1×20 with weight, then 1×8 with weight
- Band curls high volume 50 reps.
- Weighted ab work on the floor.
This workout took me 45:00 and I felt awesome.
Also bent a nasty piece of steel. Will continue to bend this piece 1x everyday until it becomes very easy and I can bend it multiple times per day.
If you want to get strong then lift something heavy.
I don’t care if you do the Squat-Row or Deadlift, but grab a bar and start throwing some weight around.
This is the key to building strength.
If you lift heavy and shove a bunch of food down your throat then you will gain weight and get stronger.
Simple as that.
The sure way to build strength is via a Progressive method of lifting a weight for a set amount of repetitions. Once this goal is achieved you then increase the weight again and decrease the reps. Keep training until you can now handle this new weight for the “said” reps again. This training module will continue back and forth, increase the reps, increase the weight, decrease the reps. Work back up again.
It is not rocket science to build strength and size.
One of the best exercises I use to achieve this is the Deadlift. I have covered many types of deadlifting on this blog. Today I will use the Sumo deadlift since I started playing around with these recently.
I prefer to pull using the conventional style of feet inside shoulder width, I actually go closer than that placing my feet about hip width. The sumo deadlift places much more emphasis on the leg muscles and in my opinion puts less stress on the back.
The set up to perform the lift is pretty much the same as the conventional style except for a few differences I’ll cover later.
- step up to the bar making sure your shins are in contact with the bar and also lined up with the rings on the bar.
- I point my toes outward
- place my hands on the smooth part of the bar inside the nurling
- be sure to sit your butt as low as you can pretending that your sitting in a chair
- pull your shoulders back as far as possible so that they are behind the bar
- keep your head up, once again shoulders back, chest out, lower back flat.
I use a over/under grip but some like using a double over hand grip. It is your choice find what works for you .
I then start the pull making sure that I drive with my heels and tyring my best to pull back, almost as if you had the feeling that you were going to fall backwards. Do not get on the balls of your feet, tyhis is bad and wiull result in a minimal pull at best.
When I pull using the sumo deadlift style I feel the emphasis mainly in my inner and outer thighs and groin. This could be due to my lack of flexability in this stance.
The main differences when pulling sumo style compared to the conventional style are:
- the placement of your hands is usually much closer than you would place them in a conventional pull.
- your legs are spread much wider, outside shoulder width
- I point my toes outward in the sumo stance and point them forward in the conventional stance
- I feel much weaker in the sumo stance than in the conventional
Remember this will only work 100% if you are feeding your body enough calories. You must eat more than your burning off, I cannot emphasise this enough.
I believe in lifting heavy so my current training program calls for 3 sets of 3 repetitions. Many balk at this type of training saying it is too taxing on the body in the longrun.
This may be true but it worked amazing for me last year beating my personal best deadlift by 15lbs. I was so close to pulling my goal of 675lbs. I’m sticking with this model again because it worked for me. I know my body better then anyone else so I will go according to how I feel. You should do the same. I deadlift from the floor once per week and sometimes I skip a week, again go on how you feel. Pay attention to your body and the signs it is showing you. I missed my peak last year by a few weeks. I won’t let that happen again.
I think the sumo deadlift is a great alternative to incorporate into your training to add variety and also I believe it will assist you in making you stronger when you go back to your conventional stance of deadlifting.
No matter what style, stance or method you choose the deadlift will always remain faithful as the best way to build immense power and muscular size.
*These are my opinions take them and use them to help you or disregard if you find them not useful.
Keep the Faith,
The Deadlift is a very demanding exercise, one that puts extreme tension on the lower back, legs, arms, traps, forearms and the hands. With this in mind in order to pull a maximum lift our deadlift grip must be strong enough to handle the load while under tension.
There are various forms of deadlifting:
- sumo style
- behind the back (hack style)
- round back
- flat back (the most common)
You must find which one suits you the best, meaning you might be weak at sumo deadlifting but strong at the conventional flat back deadlifting. Find what works for you and stay with this deadlift form until you build a good foundation.
All of these deadlift forms require a strong grip. The most common grip is the over/under also known as the switch grip. In my opinion this is the best grip to use for maximum efficiency.
The reason I beleive this is because by placing one hand under the bar (like you were doing a biceps curl) you tighten the bar into your hand by rolling it back into your fingers.
The hand that is over the bar with your palm facing down (like doing a reverse curl) is rolling the bar forward into your palm.
This over/under grip gives us the best chance of ”locking” the bar into our hands for maximum power.
Here is a video of the over/under deadlift grip:
The next deadlift grip is called the double over. This was the preferred method used by deadlift legend Bob Peoples (my favorite deadlifter) at 180 plus pounds Bob pulled an astonishing 700lbs deadlift.
The double over deadlift grip is much harder to use because it puts your hands at a disadvantage. Without one hand under this puts much more emphasis on your fingers to take the brunt of the load.
In the over/under deadlift grip you have the luxury of your hand that is under the bar, with the palm facing up securing the bar in your palm. The double over grip the bar had the tendency to want to roll out of the fingers.
This is the reason why this grip is much more difficult.
I don’t use this grip, however if I do I will use straps. Wrist straps help lock you in to the bar ensuring us a better grip. There are many different companies that make straps. The best I have found are from:
www.aptprowriststraps.com & www.ironmind.com
Both companies are good and the straps are very durable.
By using straps you are able to hold on to the bar even when your grip gives out. Often the forearm and fingers will get tired before the legs or back. If your grip gives up before the rest of your body then you can no longer pull.
Straps allow us to continue pulling even if our hands are fatigued.
Here is a video demonstrating the double overhand deadlift grip, with straps.
Though I only use straps when I absolutely have to they will save your hands and your forearms allowing you to finish the lift.
I suggest not using the straps on a regular basis as it is my experience that they will hinder you more than help you. Remember you must posses a good enough grip without the use of support. By using straps too much you will actually hurt your grip more than help it.
You must build enough grip strength and allow the hands to “callous” or harden up on their own. The hands will become sore, hardened, maybe even blister if you are new to the deadlift.
If you use straps, this paddens the hands thus equalling a weaker grip. Keep in mind I’m basing this off of someone that would want to compete in a deadlift competition. You cannot use straps in a meet. I would rather build up my hands to ensure max strength throughout my hands and forearms.
This will give me the best grip. Once you incorporate the use of straps into your workouts you will be able to handle even more weight which in turn provides more strength and muscle gained.
Find the best deadlift grip that works for you and start hoisting some iron off the floor.
When people think of the deadlift they mainly think of either the conventional style or the sumo style. Both of these are the top two deadlift techniques commonly used by strength practioners today.
However, there is more to the deadlift than just the norm. One of the deadlift techniques that I have started to implement into my workouts is the dumbbell deadlift.
This deadlift form provides me with some extra advantages that I don’t get from the other two deadlift techniques mentioned above.
One of the first things this deadlift form does is increase the range of motion thus making me have to squat lower to get in the proper position to get maximum pulling power.
This increased range of motion is very much like the deficit deadlift seen here:
When you pull from a deficit you increase power throughout the initial drive off the line. The dumbbell deadlift technique provides us the luxury as well.
This is a very important key to pay attention to since it is imperative that you sit your butt back and down as low as you can. Where many people fail during their deadlift is that they keep their shoulders forward, in front of the bar. This is bad and will result in a less than powerful pull.
You must pull your shoulders back and keep them behind the bar at all times. How does this play a part if I’m talking about the dumbbell deadlift form?
Simple, I find it much harder to keep my shoulders back when pulling in the dumbbell deadlift technique. Since your hands are by your side you must focus on where your center is in regards to your hand positioning. With this in mind I alter my deadlift form slightly so I get a mximum pull. I do this by keeping my hands and shoulders in as straight a line as I can. Since the dumbbells are by my side this keeps me locked in and gives me the best angle for maximum power.
If your hands are too far forward then this deadlift form is going to turn into a mess with most of your pull coming from your back. When this happens many times your back will round. Unless you are cast in the mold of the great Bob Peoples then I do not suggest this style of deadlift technique.
The same can be said if your hands are too far back behind your body,when you go to pick up the dumbbells the weight will automatically want to drop forward. Yes you will have a strainght back and good drive from your legs but the weight will not be centered and in line with your body.
For proper deadlift technique in the dumbbell deadlift I find it best to find the center of the dumbbell and line your ankles up with your hands. The fingers of your hands should be facing your ankles.
Now sit back as far as you can on your heels, squeeze your buttocks, pull your shoulder blades back, stick out your chest, keep your head up and slightly leaning back, with a flat back throughout the movement.
This is proper dumbbell deadlift form.
You will gain strength quickly on this exercise so be careful when you get up to using heavier weights. Often these dumbbells are very large and can be a bit awkward. With this in mind I sometimes resort to using straps so I don’t have to worry about the dumbbell teetering or falling on my feet.
A 200lbs dumbbell as seen in the top video falling on your foot or being placed on a toe will not be pretty. The use of a strap lessons that risk of injury by providing us with a bit more stability in controlling these monster dumbbells.
I have been doing my dumbbell deadlift technique as seen in the top video. I tried pulling with the dumbbells placed in front of my legs as I would in the conventional style of deadlift. I found this very awkward and not worth the aggravation. The dumbbells raked up my legs pretty badly and interfered with the pull throughout the motion. This screwed up my deadlift form immensley.
I find the dumbbell deadlift technique to be very beneficial and fun. The form while a bit challenging at first, actually flows smoothly and my strength gains have come quickly.
Currently I pull with this deadlift technique at the end of my leg training, and once per week. Right now I do 3 sets of 5 repetitions then I add a repetition to all sets. Since my dumbbells go up to 200lbers I have to increase the repetitions on all 3 sets in order to still progress.
I look forward to see how this deadlift form will carry over when I start my regular conventional deadlift program this fall.
Here is my last deadlift training video from christmas 2011:
I ended up pulling 660 for a single on my quest to pull 675 I was 15lbs shy of my goal. I look forward to crushing my goal this year with utter destruction and power.
Keep the Faith,