The Deadlift is necessary for strength development. It builds a significant amount of power and muscle in the back legs. But frankly, there’s not much to it, and it can get boring if you don’t mix it up a bit.
If you’ve hit a wall in your strength development, these four Deadlift variations may help you break through the plateau.
Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
The RDL is a great way to emphasize strength development in your hamstrings, low back and glutes, and it may help you with the lockout portion of your Deadlift. If this a new variation for you, perform a normal Deadlift first. From the top of the lift, descend as low as you can while maintaining a flat back and a minimal flex in the knees. Return to the standing position. As you become more accustomed to the motion of the RDL, you can begin pulling directly from the floor instead of performing a Deadlift first, then performing the RDL from the top down.
Snatch Grip Deadlift
This variation challenges your grip strength, mobility and mid-back strength. Many pulls are lost due to weak hands, and the Snatch Grip Deadlift is a great way to build grip strength while you perform pulls from the floor.
To properly perform a Snatch Grip Deadlift, keep your middle and upper back engaged throughout the rep. This is where many athletes struggle. The pull of a Snatch Grip Deadlift is longer than a normal pull from the floor, and the greater range of motion increases the workload without increasing the weight, sets or reps.
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Deficit Deadlifts are helpful if you struggle with the initial part of the pull. They are a great way to emphasize the role of the quads during the motion of a Deadlift.
To perform a Deficit Deadlift, stand on a 2- to 4-inch box and perform a normal Deadlift. This exercise increases the range of motion of the pull, and it constitutes another way to generate greater stress on the muscles of the body without increasing sets, reps or weight.
Olympic Deadlifts involve two pulls: the initial one off the ground, and the second one, which starts around the middle of the thigh. The second pull is where you really want to accelerate and explode through the weight. The Olympic Deadlift is excellent for preparing you to perform a Clean, or it can be programmed in place of a Clean if you have a mobility or injury issue preventing you from receiving the bar.
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