Okay, you get that bar off the ground. But by the end of the lift you can barely handle the weight. The weakness turns out to be in the tail: the last part of the deadlift, also called the lockout. There are plenty of strong powerlifters who see their attempt stranded there. Do you also have trouble with this part of your lift? Then read below what you can do about it.
TRAIN YOUR EXPLOSIVENESS
Failing in the lockout often has to do with the start of the deadlift. How about that?
A sticky point is a point where you can no longer move forward and therefore stagnate and stand still. However, to achieve that, the speed is gradually decreasing somewhere prior to that.
Compare it to a toy car that you can wind backwards, release it and it will shoot forward. At a certain moment the car stops, but before that the accumulated energy has already been lost. The fact that the car goes further than the accumulated energy is due to momentum.
That is why it applies to the deadlift: a good start is half the battle. That means you have to show some explosiveness when lifting the bar. You can train them in different ways, such as with:
- speed deadlifts with 60% of your 1RM;
- deadlifts with resistance bands;
- (weighted) box jumps: the explosiveness of jumping is almost equivalent to performing an explosive deadlift.
STRENGTHEN YOUR UPPER BACK AND LATS
You are only as strong as your weakest link. A strong back is therefore crucial for a successful deadlift career.
Keep this in mind in the programming of your entire training. Check which exercises are pleasant for you and which transfer to your deadlift, or at least exercises in which you can easily create overload in low rep ranges, so that you build muscle mass and (maximum) strength.
- snatch grip deadlift;
- chest-supported row;
- one-arm dumbbell row (and variants like the kroc row );
- pull/chin up;
- lat pulldown (supinated grip, pronated grip, unilateral);
- straight-arm lat pulldown;
- face pull;
- rear delt row.
FOCUS ON YOUR FAILURE POINT
If your deadlift fails around knee height, make your deadlift stronger around that height, for example by doing:
- block pulls from mid shin;
- rack pulls from mid-shin or slightly below;
- paused deadlifts (pause just below knee height).
If you fail in the very last part of the deadlift, make it heavier compared to the rest of the exercise. By means of chains or bands you can create more resistance in the lockout of the deadlift. For example, if you lift 100 kg (total weight) during the lift-off, then that might be 110-130 kg during the lock-out from the thighs, depending on which tires or chains you use.
Weaker glutes can also contribute to a less strong lockout. You can strengthen them through exercises like
PROVIDE A STRONG GRIP
A grip that is too strong is never possible, but make sure that the strength is as sport-specific as possible. In the case of the deadlift, it is therefore about hold strength. You can train them specifically through
* The duration of the exercise should correspond approximately to how long you are performing the deadlift. Assuming a powerlifter makes a third turn 1RM attempt, this would take a maximum of 10 seconds (when this is going to be very difficult). When you have managed to achieve 10 seconds with x weight, you can increase this weight again, until you can handle this for a maximum of 5 seconds.
Over time you can even load supramaximally, ie with weights that are higher than your maximum strength (1RM). By placing the bar as high as possible on blocks or a rack, you only have to pick it up and hold it.
FIND A COMPETENT COACH
A coach can help you by providing feedback on your technique, providing technique tips and hopefully by coaching you proficiently to achieve your goal (in this case, improve your lockout). Until after a while you can handle it on your own.
Good luck with improving your lockout! If you’d like me to take a look at your deadlift to provide feedback, feel free to message me.
Written by Victor Bosch, Victory Coaching.