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Fitness & Health

16th May 2019

Boost your deadlift by including this unusual exercise in your workouts

A new British deadlift record was smashed last weekend, but the man who set it says an unconventional gym exercise helped him lift significantly more

Alex Roberts

Deadlift weightlifter powerlifter record

A new British deadlift record was set last weekend

Competing in the British Powerlifting Championships, Chris Jenkins deadlifted 315 kilograms (kg). This was a new deadlift record for athletes in the 83 kg and under category.

Powerlifting tests the following main lifts, known as the ‘big three’:

  • Bench press
  • Squat
  • Deadlift

But what often goes unnoticed is a powerlifter’s assistance work – the other, lesser-known gym exercises they use to boost performance on the bench press, squat and deadlift.

Related: these are the best alternatives to the bench press, squat and deadlift

Speaking on Instagram, Welshman Jenkins explained the methods behind his training in the run-up to the finals.

One lift in particular featured prominently in Jenkins’ training plan – and helped bring his deadlift up to a British-record best.

It’s an exercise more familiar with booty-building gym workouts, and not one you’d typically associate with spit-and-sawdust weightlifting.

The exercise in question is the glute kickback.

Glute kickback

It can be performed on a cable pulley, using a specific machine or with resistance bands as above.

Speaking about this exercise, Jenkins said: “I did a lot of direct glute training which helped a lot with my deadlift. I did a lot of cable kickbacks, individual leg, and hyperextensions bending at the hip.

“I didn’t do a lot of glute bridges with this training cycle, but I do think they’re good.”

How to perform the glute kickback

  • Attach an ankle cuff and hook it up to a low cable pulley
  • Stand facing towards the machine, about an arm’s length away
  • Hold on to the top part of the machine if it helps you remain stable
  • Keeping your lifting leg straight, bring your foot back as far as you can
  • Squeeze your glutes when you feel the contraction, and then lower to the beginning
  • Perform 8-12 reps, then switch sides

Looking to get better at the deadlift in general? These are three key tips from another top British powerlifter.

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