When it comes to working on your deadlift technique, former World’s Strongest Man winner Eddie Hall is the coach you want; he currently holds the unbroken world record for heaviest deadlift, having pulled 1,100 pounds in 2016. In his latest YouTube video, Hall breaks down the three incredibly simple pieces of advice he would give to strength athletes that can have a huge impact in terms of improving their stability and maximize their lifting performance.
“I actually think [deadlift] is one of the most technical out of the squat, the bench, all the other exercises,” he says. “You get one foundation wrong, and it completely goes to shit.”
“Foot positioning, nice and easy. For me, it’s got to be shoulder width, plus half an inch to an inch.” He demonstrates how a shoulder-width stance helps to distribute the body weight in a way that improves balance. “That means you’re solid, you can put all the power down through the floor.”
The angle of the feet is an important thing to consider as well: angle them outwards, and that can throw you off balance as you lean forward. “Feet locked straight, like you’re on train tracks,” he advises. “Create that foundation, and that’s when you can put as much power as you can through the heels.”
Regardless of whether you’re using an overhanded or underhanded grip, holding the bar too narrowly can create friction which inhibits how much you can lift, says Hall.
“If you’re gripping it too narrow, you’re still making the lift a lot harder for yourself, because you’re fighting against your own muscle mass,” he explains. “If you’ve got a wide grip, you’re able to droop the shoulders a bit, and it makes the lift that much easier, and you’re not fighting the muscles in your chest and your armpits.”
Bar positioning in relation to the body
“Does anybody ever notice that the second rep of a deadlift is always easier than the first rep?” He says. “It’s closer to your body 9 times out of 10. What that tells me, if your first rep isn’t easier than your second rep, is that your technique is shit.”
Hall has observed that a lot of powerlifters place the bar too far away from themselves and end up lifting over their toes, adding an unnecessary extra range of motion to the lift. “If you suffer from back pain from deadlifting, that is the case… You’ve got to think of a deadlift as an A to B movement, like a bench press. If you come off that line, you’re making it harder for yourself.”
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