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How To Stop Being Rubbish At Deadlifts With Beth Grace

August 21, 2023

Intro to myself - Hi! My name’s Bethany Grace and I am one of the strongest deadlifters in the UK. 

My all-time best deadlift is 260kg at 73kg bodyweight. 

I’ve had plenty of people ask me how I got my deadlifts to where they are now. Little do they know, my deadlifts use to be is much stronger!

My best tips to increase your deadlifts are to stop doing 1 rep maxes every week. The whole point of training is to constantly increase weight over sets and reps. You also have to remember that not everyone is built for deadlifts. I’ve always found shorter people, with short arms aren’t always the best at deadlifts, but are still amazing at squat and bench. It’s all down to leverages.

4 main things to focus on to help strengthen your deadlift

  • Don’t sit down to try and squat it up. It’s not a squat
  • Line the bar up in the centre of your feet
  • The conventional deadlift is a hip hinge movement. When setting up for your pull, make sure you bend at the hips and imagine pushing something away with your ass.
  • When initiating the pull, imagine lifting the bar off the floor with your chest. And you need to keep it off the floor by keeping your chest high and head neutral.

My thought process for setting up for a deadlift goes as follows:

  • Kick my shoes off. This allows me to be as close to the floor as possible. DO NOT wear running shoes or any trainers that have a spongey sole. This can actually be really dangerous as your feet are on a slant and I have seen people fall forwards because they were wearing these shoes (also don’t wear spongey trainers for squats either. They’re not made for that purpose)
  • Right now I need chalk on my hands, because they’re getting sweaty AF
  • I’ll need my straps on, because there’s no way I’m doing 6+ reps barehand 
  • Next step I need my belt, especially if it’s heavy. Just always make sure you know how to properly brace. 
  • Now to set my feet up, looking down at the bar making sure the bar is going over the centre of my foot (imagine wear your laces are normally on your shoes, the bar should be in the middle of that)
  • Hinging my hips and butt backwards to engage my hamstrings, I reach down an get my hands set up on the bar (don’t go too rigid when hinging down towards the bar. This is completely unnecessary)
  • I pull my shoulder blades back and down into my armpits to help engage my upper back. Always making sure that my arms are inline with the bar not in front as this can pull you forwards
  • Keeping my chest tall I push my knees into the bar and start the pull
  • Always making sure I’m pulling up and back, to engage my back, hamstrings and glutes properly

The best accessories to help build your deadlift

  • Bent over dumbbell rows (great for your core and lat strength)
  • Different variations of deadlifts I.e. Block pulls, sumo deadlifts, deficit deadlifts 
  • Pull ups
  • Lying hamstring curls and seated hamstring curls

 Always have a plan 

I always do my deadlifts in blocks. The first block is aimed at hypertrophy. So I will do between 3-4 sets of reps between 8-10. This normally lasts around 5-6 weeks. Then the next block is aimed at heavier loads but strengthening at a higher percentage than the last block. This block consists one heavier set of 3 reps and then either 2/3 sets of around 4-6 reps

The last block will normally just have one top set of around 2-3 reps and then finish off with accessories only.

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