• Courtney Ustrzycki

Deadlift: 4 Tools to Increasing Strength

Although the most mentally gruelling for me, the deadlift is by far my favourite of the three main lifts. It’s humbling, and it’s a true form of strength. Over the years I have learned a lot about my deadlift – and you almost need to try it in so many ways in order to find out what works best for you – and these 4 tools are my key to help increase my deadlift.


Volume: because the deadlift is a challenging movement and not the same ‘eccentric-concentric’ movement like almost every other strength exercise, increasing the volume of this movement can be beneficial over time. I like to add in lighter back-off sets to my deadlift training after a few heavy reps, to ensure my form, technique and muscle’s response are all present and being properly utilized.


Variations: adjusting technique and set up can help indirectly build my deadlift. Although I compete with a sumo stance (extremely wide feet), I incorporate other variations in my training such as conventional and hybrid stances, using straps to assist my grip, and height changes like elevated blocks and deficit starting points.


Carbs: you have to eat to growth, right?! Carbs are your body’s main energy source, so if you’re running low on your fuel, how do you expect to improve? I’ve been eating more carbs lately (up over 130g more on training days since February; 8 months ago), which has allowed for not only better performance, but better recovery as well.


Patience: improving a strength movement can be challenging. “Newbie gains” are a real thing, but after a few years of committed training, PRs are few and far between. It can take months or even years to hit a new PR, so being patient is one of the most important tools to apply. That also relates to the pull itself. Having patience when breaking the weight from the floor is going to be extremely important. Because it’s a strong lift and you’re probably lifting more weight on this movement than any other, it’s not going to just ‘pop’ off the ground in a smooth, fluid motion. For me, it takes a few split seconds to break the bar from the floor in order for the weight to move. So having patience in both the weight itself and my strength, is a key tool while I improve my deadlift.


No matter how you train or WHY you train, it's always most important to train smart. Just because something works for someone on social media doesn't mean it will work for you, or that it might not be aligned with your lifestyle or goals. When it comes to deadlift more specifically, executing proper form is crucial in order to prevent potential injury. Train smart and understand why you are doing everything in your programming. By applying these 4 tools and having a structured program that aligns with your needs, lifestyle and goals, you can absolutely increase your strength!

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