Search icon

Fitness & Health

30th Sep 2018

Increase your deadlift strength with these three tips

The deadlift works virtually every muscle in your body. A British powerlifting champion shares his advice

Alex Roberts

Together with the bench press and squat, the deadlift is one of the ‘big three’ gym lifts

Being able to deadlift more weight is always going to be an enticing goal. It’s one of the main compound exercises – working virtually every joint in the body while stimulating an immense amount of muscle fibres.

Breaking the deadlift down


Assuming you’re performing the conventional deadlift, here is what you’ll need to bear in mind:

  • Your shins should be brushing the bar as you stand over it
  • Both feet and hands should be about shoulder-width apart
  • Using a mixed grip (like in the picture below) may help you lift more weight
  • Keep your back straight and hips down
  • Engage your abs at all times
  • Imagine driving your heels into the ground as you begin the lift
  • Bring your hips forward in a thrust movement

To add more weight to the bar, JOE spoke to Hendrick Famutimi.

Famutimi is a two-time British Powerlifting Champion who won gold in the deadlift at the World Powerlifting Championships. He’s also a personal trainer at Gymbox.

Famutimi told JOE of his top three tips for increasing your deadlift strength:

1. Front squats for core stability and leg drive

You won’t be able to lift as much weight on the front squat as you would the back squat, but it teaches you how to engage your core and keep a neutral spine. Both of these are crucial components of deadlift technique.

Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps.

2. Back and glutes work to help with driving through at the top of the lift

Dumbbell rows (pictured) will improve your ability to activate your lats. This is vital for locking out at the top portion of the deadlift.

Shoot for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps.

3. Dead hangs for grip strength

Dead hangs are essentially the bottom portion of a pull-up. They help with your grip strength, which may start to falter as the weight you’re deadlifting increases.

Perform 3-4 sets, holding the dead hang position for 45 seconds to a minute.

Read more: proven methods for performing more pull-ups