Deadlifts are one of the most rewarding and primal exercises. You pick some heavy ass weight up and you put it down.
Personally, the deadlift is my favorite exercise and it helps any person or strength athlete, regardless of their goals.
If you’ve never pulled off a big deadlift in front of a whole gym full of people, it may be one of the most prideful moments in your life. No need to be overly loud or obnoxious… just pick that sh*t up and put it down.
Deadlifts work your posterior chain which is important for athletes due to its ability to increase your power and explosiveness. Most mirror-bound bros don’t care about a well-developed network of calves, hamstrings, glutes, mid, and upper back.
Find me an athlete that feels like they have plateaued and I will show you an athlete who needs to run deadlift variations.
The deadlift is hard and unforgiving, warming up is a critical part of keeping the exercise safe and helping you stay injury-free.
You’re warming up wrong… and here’s why.
A wise man named Brian Carroll once taught me that a tight muscle is a strong muscle. A stretched out muscle is a weak muscle. So in short, tight muscles = strength. Loose muscles = injury.
All too often I watch gym goers static stretch and run a 20-minute long mobility routine they saw in their favorite fitness magazine. They foam roll, stretch 10 different ways, do a mobility drill, and then deadlift in the Smith machine.
Unless you have prior injuries or imbalances that have nearly ruined your ability to walk and move regularly, static stretching may not be the best activity for warming up.
Dynamic stretching and some mobility work will help you get your body ready and your nervous system primed to lift some bar-bending weights.
Static vs. Dynamic Stretching
Remember the days when you were in gym class and had to stretch all of the damn time? I hated it.
So what exactly is the difference between static and dynamic stretching?
Static stretching is used to stretch your muscles while the body is at rest. You gradually lengthen a muscle to an elongated position oftentimes to the point of discomfort, and then you hold that position for 30 seconds.
Static stretching helps correct imbalances and some weaknesses. People who sit all day for work or have to stay in bad positions all day benefit from this corrective stretching.
Dynamic stretching is beneficial in sports that utilize momentum from form and helps propel your muscle into an extended range of motion without exceeding your static stretching ability.
So basically when you utilize dynamic stretching, you will be “stretching with movement.”
Have you ever watched someone swing their legs back and forth before a squat? They are dynamically stretching their posterior chain and opening up their hips.
3 Simple Deadlift Warm Up Tips
Get Up To Temperature
Just like a car, our bodies perform better when we are warmed up. A short cardio session will get your blood pumping and your muscles warmed up so that you can move onto some dynamic stretching.
Once you complete a simple 5-minute cardio session, jump into some dynamic stretches.
Utilize Dynamic Stretches
Dynamic stretches can be fun and can be very beneficial to your overall wellbeing.
Alleviate those pains in your hips or knees when you deadlift by spending 5 minutes dynamic stretching and get those juices flowing.
Designing a dynamic stretching routine is out of the scope of this article, but check out this article on dynamic stretching for some ideas.
Small Increases In Weight
Doing a few reps at 135 before you jump into your 315 deadlift attempt simply will not cut it.
Once you get your body warmed up, mobile, and ready to lift, try 5 sets of a moderate volume.
Your working sets are 315×5 for five sets. Start with 135×8, 135×8, 185×8, 225×5, 275×3 and then jump into your working weight. This allows more practice on your form, it allows everything to get going for the deadlift, and helps you get into the laser focus you will need.
Deadlifts are hard and require a great bit of attention to detail. Being able to warm up properly and prime your body for this lift will help reduce your chances of an injury.
Try out different dynamic stretches and try ramping up the weights differently to see what works best for you. Some people prefer more low weight volume and less dynamic stretching, while some prefer more dynamic stretching and a more aggressive ramp up to working weight.
Either way, utilizing any of these deadlift warm up tips will help you achieve that 600+ deadlift you’ve been grinding to get.