Continuing our off-squat, hamstring-focused strength-work, class hit some full on deadlifts this Sunday, with a follow-up a dose of Bulgarian split squats, before taking things outside for a little three-round finishers between partners.
Sunday’s deadlifts were styled as “singles,” in that each after completing each rep, an athlete was to release their grip on the bar (with or without coming back to standing), then re-set their grip and posture and perform the next rep. We’ve had a lot of success recently working deadlifts in this manner, and it’s clearly related to the fact that the multiple single-reps mean people are really having to concentrate on their set-up. A good solid set-up really dictates how the rest of the lift will go, and the improvement in a lot of people’s form yesterday served to drive this point home.
A few quick reminders on set-up:
Distance – Step up to the bar to set-up with your shins only an inch or two away (when you look down at the bar, it should intersect your mid-foot). This shortens the weight or lifting lever-arm – i.e., the distance between your mid-line (your body’s center of gravity) and the weight’s center of gravity, which makes for optimal lifting.
Feet – feet should be approximately shoulder width apart, HOWEVER, this is somewhat of a personal factor, as different body-types, builds, levels of flexibility, etc. will dictate exactly where and how the feet are placed – not everyone is the same, but the variation should be by small degrees.
Inhale – After you get set and grab the bar, but before you initiate the lift, take a big breath in to really increase your intra-abdominal pressure.
Abs – Along with a big inhalation, really press flex and force out your abs, which will ensure your midsection is secure and strong, helping to keep the low back static when you initiate your lift (as opposed to rounding). Wearing a belt will help this, as you can actually push your abs out against the belt; however, you can also imitate this feeling without a belt by pressing your abs into your thighs when you set-up on the bar.
Squeeze – We’ve all heard this, especially from Tom, but the basic gist is to avoid jerking/heaving the weight off the floor. Instead, pull tight against the bar and then push your feet into the floor, “squeezing” the weight off the floor.
Contact – Keep the bar in contact with your body, allowing it to travel up your shins, over your knees, and then up your thighs (again, the goal is maximizing your leverage (refer to the note above about Distance).
Lockout – Squeeze the glutes to bring the hips under the torso and achieve lockout, rather than hyperextending your lower back (leaning backwards).
Many thanks to Diesel Crew for the Deadlift form-check template used above. I would also recommend checking out Jim Smith’s (also of the Diesel Crew) article entitled “How to Set-Up on the Deadlift,” if for nothing more than the cat-shitting-reference that kicks things off.
The first set of BSS were unweighted allowing everyone to focus on form and incorporating a slight pause at the bottom. Remaining sets could be done with weight added as per people’s preference, holding 1 DB in both hands at the chest (think “goblet squat”) or 2 DBs at the side.
With great weather, class headed outside for a partner met-con. Each partner chose one set of DBs, and decided who would start with the DBs, and who would start with the sprint. At go, one partner took of in a 250m sprint while the other partner pressed the DBs overhead and started walking the same 150m course. When the sprinting partner made a complete loop and caught up to the partner carrying the DBs, they traded places. This switching continued until the DBs had made a complete 250m loop.
After the the DB’s made one 250m loop being carried overhead, they made another 250m loop with the partners carrying them on their shoulders (still with the other partner sprinting), and then a third 250m loop with the partners carrying them farmer’s-walk style.
Thanks to everyone who made it down to Old Town for the Run for Shelter 10k on Saturday. By all accounts it was an extremely successful race, with the weather holding off until all was said and done. Kudos to Julia for all her work on the race, and here’s to an even bigger turn-out next year.