Go figure… More deadlifting! I had a pretty long workout tonight, but since I ran into Sam after his last client, I lucked out and got to pick his brain on a few things. I really wanted to focus on proper technique, hook grip, and glute engagement for the entire workout.
I started off my taking a page out of Kelly Starrett’s YouTube videos… He has a video up on ankle mobility, and the kid in the video seems to have the exact same sort of ankle issues going on that I have when I squat. I got set up with a band when I got into the gym and tried holding myself in the hole of a squat and moving around. I could definitely feel some strain when trying to lean over either foot, so I think I’ll keep trying this out to watch for improvement. I started my lift by pulling some pretty low numbers and focusing on a handful of things. The first was keeping the bar off my shins when pulling. As soon as I start dragging it up my shins I know I’m doing something stupid. The next was that my hook grip felt comfortable. At lighter weights, taping my thumbs is kind of pointless, but I’m getting in the habit of leveraging hook grip at least. The third thing I was focusing on with my lighter deadlifting sets was doing static holds right below my knees for 5 seconds. I was able to do this all the way up to 225, but not past that. Finally, I was really ensuring that I could squeeze my glutes at the top of the ROM on each and every pull.
At around 335 lbs, Sam came over to talk shop on my deadlifting. Things were looking decent for what he had observed. I was only pulling singles once I hit 335, so I was still feeling surprisingly fresh. Sam suggested I try something that I had actually noticed I was doing in earlier sets: When I take out the slack in my arms and go to load up my hamstrings, don’t waste any time in “the hole” before my pull. It’s a perfect opportunity to put slack back into my arms legs. On my 355 pull I tried taking Sam’s advice and he said that now I was jerking the bar. When I watched how he demonstrated, it made sense… He was able to take out the slack, load his hamstrings, and then the very first part of the pull was just the bar bending. When I had tried, I was accidentally re-introducing some slack into my body before trying to get aggressive and rip the bar from the ground. I tried deadlifting 370 to hit a new PR for this better-technique deadlift I’ve been learning and really focused on making my setup one fluid motion. Better. I didn’t have as much acceleration off the ground, but the bar came up smoothly. I went for 375 after that and managed to pull that well too. Boom!
The rest of my workout was a back circuit including T-bar rows, pullups, and deadlifting triples at 225. I actually had some little weiner come up in the middle of my circuit and take the handle for T-bar rows, so that ended that. I guess it was his first time in a public gym or he suffers from some sort of mental disability. Either way, I carried on with my workout and did some isometric holds on the back extension machine squeezing my glutes for around 45 seconds for two sets (and a 10 lbs weight on my back… light). I superset that with a couple sets of curls and switched up the isometrics to sets of 15 back extensions. I finished up by using the ab wheel for some core and 10 minutes on the stair master doing 2 minute intervals of two-steps-at-a-time. I’m sure my glutes will be fried tomorrow.