Strengthen Your “Secret” Deadlifting Muscles

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OMG – I just completed an awesome bench session with Greg Robins and Jamie Smith, and after mustering up enough energy to drag myself to my office I turned on my laptop to check emails and received a note that my latest article on T-Nation just went live.


I know what some of you may be thinking:  “Dude, Tony, we need another deadlifting article about as much as we need another Kardashian spin-off.  What’s the deal?”

And I get it. I know there’s only so much you can say when it comes to deadlifting, and I talk about deadlifting a lot.  Maybe too much. But this isn’t entirely an article on deadlifting.  Rather it’s about addressing what tends to be weak in most lifters – upper and mid back strength.

Give it a read, and I’d love to hear what you think about it on the LiveSpill on T-Nation’s site.

Lifters go out of their way to pull heavy things off the floor, yet many fail to make much progress due to a lack of upper and mid-back strength. Here’s how to fix it.

Let’s first address the elephant in the gym. Yes, rounding your back when deadlifting isn’t ideal. And yes, there are plenty of examples on YouTube of guys pulling with atrocious technique and it’s a miracle they haven’t shit their spleen.

In most cases they deserve the criticism. But what dumbfounds me is when people watch a video of say, Eric Cressey pulling 650 pounds at a bodyweight of 170, and start playing technique police.

Note from TG: There’s a video that goes here, but you’ll have to click on the link below to see it. Don’t roll your eyes at me!  Just click on it, okay.  Do it!  DO IT!!!!!

Many who watch Eric’s heavier pulls will cry that he’s rounding his lower back, when it fact most of the “rounding” is coming from his mid and upper-back.

This is significant because he, along with many advanced lifters in the same boat, has programmed himself to stay out of the danger zone, which is those last 2-3 degrees of end-range motion in his lumbar spine.

By contrast, he’s reverted to getting a bit more ROM where there’s more of a safety net (the mid and upper back). So, in short, no, he’s not rounding his lower back.

Second, unlike the vast majority of beginner and intermediate lifters, guys who are pulling upwards of two to four times bodyweight have generally built up enough strength to literallynot buckle under the pressure. They’re able to prevent their spine from collapsing like a melting candle when things start to get ugly.

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Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

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