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Bedrock: Beginning Deadlifting

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The mention of deadllfting triggers panic attacks in some beginning trainees. The vision of back breaking reps is more than they can tolerate. Most trainees think of the deadllft as a competitive lilt to be done only by powerlifters. This type of thinking is tar from the truth. The deadlift is a great overall back developer. Some lifters have attained tremendous back development by using only the deadllft. I think it can be safely said that no single exercise will develop the back as well as the deadlift.

The deadllft also invokes thoughts of back injuries. This is an old wives tale, and is definitely not true. If deadlilts are done correctly, they are no more dangerous than any other exercise. In fact, a good deadlift workout will probably go a long way in preventing back injuries, not causing them. I feel almost any trainee would benefit from adding deadlllts to their routine.

The number one question is how do you begin a solid deadllfting program. In this article I will set up a good basic deadllft routine for the beginner and intermediate trainer. The routines that follow can be used by powerlifters, bodybuilders, or the individual who trains at home for no other reason than fitness.

We must first determine who falls into the beginner or intermediate categories. The beginner is the individual who has trained for a year or less and has not done any continuous deadlifting. He may have tried them, but they are not part of his routine. The person in the intermediate category has at least one year of training and has included deadllfts in his/her previous training.

No matter what stage of development you are in, the key to all deadllft training is to begin slowly and work your way up. The only secrets are patience and diligence, along with intelligent training. The individuals who are deadllfting World Record poundages had to start in the same way you will. They paid the price in hard work and were rewarded with tremendous strength and development.

The Beginner

Ader Leather

Power Lifting Weight Belt- 4" Red

The deadliftt calls for more overall body strength than any other movement. When we deadlift virtually the entire body— legs, back, arms, abdominals, etc.— is involved. To start the deadllft, try a shoulder-width alternate grip of the bar. This alternate grip prevents a heavy bar from rolling out of the hands. The foot placement should be a bit more narrow than the hand spacing. Of course, your foot and hand spacing will change after you accumulate some experience, but initially try the recommendations I have described.

Get your foot and hand spacing; lower yourself by squatting down while holding the bar and slowly begin the pull. The pull is started with the lower back, taken over by the legs and finished by the lower back and hips. Come to a standing position with the bar hanging in the arms.., lower the bar under control and repeat for your reps.

The following set and repetition schedule for the beginner should be sufficient:

Select a light weight for the first set and add a bit more for the second set, bearing in mind that they are warm up sets. On the third, fourth and fifth sets, jump to a poun-dage that is challenging, but within your capabilities for attaining eight reps for all three sets. Every second week add five pounds to the third, fourth and fifth sets.

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I do not recommend the beginner to train more than three times per week, with deadllfts being done twice a week. For example, if you are training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, deadlift on Monday and Friday. This will give you plenty of work and help build a good base for the future.


I would consider most weight trainees to fall into the intermediate category as they are fairly well conditioned, but relatively inexperienced in deadlifting. What we are going to do is put them on a power routine consisting of six Bets of five reps. If used correctly, this system will build power relatively fast. This routine is a good compromise between the high rep workout of the beginner and the low rep workout of the advanced powerlifter. It is a real strength builder.

The trainee at this stage should be training no more than four days per week, while deadlifts are done twice weekly. I would recommend working your squats and deadlifts on the same day, with squats coming first. The reason for this is that the squat will not affect your deadlift as much as the deadlift will affect your squat. Right after you complete your deadllfta, do three sets each of lat bar rows and pulldowns. Both of these exercises give the latissimus dorsi a good workout and help with the deadllft.

Sample Workout:

Monday and Thursday

Chest, arms and shoulders can be worked on Tuesday and Friday.

Every six to eight weeks you may want to test your strength with a single repetition. This single will serve a few purposes.

On these single rep days some kind of system has to be used in order to figure out a good weight for that first single. Follow your regular warm up routine. Take your first set of five with the same weight you use in training. For the next three sets, which will be the fours, triples and doubles, use a progressively heavier poundage for each, paying close attention to the ease or difficulty of each set. Let the last set give you an idea of what weight you want for the next set. By using this method you should be able to ease yourself into that single rep without shocking your body. The weight increase between the set of doubles and the single will not be that great at this point. Still, be careful! Do not add too much weight for the last set. At this stage a few pounds could easily change what should be a smooth single into a wobbly grinder with a chance for serious injury. You can be more liberal in choosing your future singles. For now, get a good one in and build on It.

The next time you test your single rep strength it will be much easier because now you have a starting point to work from. When you have to decide what the single attempt should be, use your previous single and relate it to the following workouts and strength Improvement. Slowly work your single up to a respectable weight over the coming months. Always stop and think about any decisions you have to make and use sound reasoning for everything you do.

The preceding program will build an excellent base of strength and development. From this point one can switch to a lower rep, heavier weight routine or continue on with the intermediate routine forever.

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