• The Deadlift: From the Floor to Lockout (Part 1) - By Matt Gary

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      The squat is the king of all exercises but the deadlift is the purest test of total-body strength. The deadlift primarily focuses on the musculature of the back, hips, and legs while recruiting just about as many muscles as any other exercise. The concentric-only nature of the deadlift is unique to the powerlifts because the squat and bench press both afford the lifter an opportunity to lower the bar first before actually lifting it. Without the eccentric phase, itís nearly impossible to generate any momentum and stretch reflex utilization is practically non-existent. A belt, knee sleeves, suits, and wraps offer the least ergogenic aid in the deadlift. Accordingly, oneís performance in the deadlift is largely determined by three factors: genetics, technique, and training.

      Genetics (Leverage)
      As with all athletic endeavors, genetics play a major role in aptitude and performance. The most favorable physical attributes for the deadlift are a short torso, long arms, and long legs. Lamar Gant possessed all three traits in addition to having severe scoliosis which helped him become the only person to deadlift over five times bodyweight in two weight classes. The torso acts like a lever and does the lionís share of the work. A shorter torso makes for a shorter moment arm while longer thighs creates a higher pivot point at the hips. Long arms simply decrease the distance of bar travel from the floor to lockout. A deadlifterís physique is mostly opposite to the desired characteristics for squatting and bench pressing. Longer arms and legs usually translate to more work being done. But, in the case of the deadlift, longer limbs actually mean a more efficient movement. ...MORE
      Comments 3 Comments
      1. Razephon's Avatar
        Razephon -
        Comprehensive article on deadlifting. Although I wish someone would go more into the nuances of the leverage debate. I.e. discuss different body types.

        I.e. myself, I'm a short torso, longer femur but short armed individual. My half ass Sumo PB (with very little Sumo pulling experience) was almost as good as my conventional PB which I primarily trained since I began strength training. So fair enough I guess both pulling methods are viable for me. Or perhaps Sumo has more potential if I actually learn the movement.
      1. Mike Tuchscherer's Avatar
        Mike Tuchscherer -
        The best way to find out is to give both an honest attempt. The deadlift style for you will be the stronger one that responds to training. Usually if there isn't one that's a clear winner, you haven't given it enough time. Usually we start with 4 weeks and stretch to 8 weeks as needed.
      1. Razephon's Avatar
        Razephon -
        Quote Originally Posted by Mike Tuchscherer View Post
        The best way to find out is to give both an honest attempt. The deadlift style for you will be the stronger one that responds to training. Usually if there isn't one that's a clear winner, you haven't given it enough time. Usually we start with 4 weeks and stretch to 8 weeks as needed.
        Yeah, fair enough. I just haven't really given Sumo an honest chance. As much as I'd like to, I need to nurse my back injury first before I deadlift anything!