It can be extremely hard breaking past stubborn deadlift plateaus. One moment your training is going great, you’re making progress, watching the numbers going up and you feel unstoppable. 

The next moment, the weight feels heavier than normal, you can’t make further increases in weight, your form is suffering and you start using different means of lifting the weight.

If this sounds familiar then you my friend, have hit the dreaded plateau. Don’t panic though - here’s 3 ways you can break through.

DeficitDeadlifts

1. If you’re slow off the floor: Deficit Deadlifts
 

One of the most common troublesome spots when it comes to deadlifts is when the bar leaves the floor. When you’ve been deadlifting for some time, breaking the floor can seem that much harder when you add extra weight on the bar.

There are various ways you can improve here depending on your form however weak hamstrings/posterior chain are common culprits. This is when deficit deadlifts can be a great auxiliary exercise to do alongside your training. Through using a raised box or platform, your amount of hip flexion will be increased and your knees will be travelling forward to keep further upright.
 

Here’s how to perform them:

  1. Grab a box or something sturdy to raise the floor about 2-3inches, anything bigger will interfere with your form.

  2. Approach the lift with same setup as you would a usual deadlift.


Spend 4-6 weeks on these and go back to the floor to see how much faster you now are.


2. IF YOU'RE STRUGGLING WITH GRIP: FARMERS WALK


When you have a lengthly set with high reps, your grip is going to be tested to the limit. Using chalk and straps can help however building up your grip strength is important if you want to lift heavy and progress in the long run.

So if you are not blessed with a strong grip, try adding in heavy farmers walks with kettle bells, dumbbells or a trap bar. Nothing will work your core, back, legs and grip strength like these. 


Here’s how to perform them:

  1. Find a space you can walk roughly 10 steps or more.
     
  2. Pick up a heavy weight and carry it back and fourth with tall posture, braced abs and tight grip.
     
  3. Use small, fast steps and move your feet quickly, shorten your stride to stop the equipment from swinging.


Throw this on at the end of your session. Your aerobic system will also be challenged as an added benefit.


3. IF YOU CAN'T LOCK OUT: BLOCK/RACK PULLS


When it come to heavy deadlifting, you may end up missing the rep if you can’t lock out fast enough. A common reason for this is weak gluteus strength.

Using a raised platform to deadlift from such as a pair of blocks or a rack is a great way to combat this. By shortening the distance that the bar has to travel, you’re allowing yourself to focus solely on improving your lock and work on your glutes.

How much weight you use for this will depend on your own personal programming however I would recommend starting light and work on explosive reps and speed. As the weeks progress you could go for a heavier weight and lower reps.
 

Here’s how to perform them:

1. Set the bar height below knees using two cross fit boxes or squat safety bars. (I’d suggest using boxes if you can, as the plates sit on them like the standard deadlift from the floor.)

2. Now the range is reduced, execute the lift as you would usually focusing on the lock out with speed and accuracy.

3. Make sure you are not lifting solely with the lower back as this could lead to injury. 

 

Try these for a month before you return back to your normal deadlifts.


By JAMES WALKER
SIX3NINE TRAINER


ADVANCED DEADLIFT Class

Sunday 30th April, 13:30 - 15:00