Exercises You Should Be Doing: Hover Deadlift

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Anyone who’s read this site for any length of time knows I have an affinity for several things:

1. Matt Damon1

2. LOLCats2

3. Beef Jerky3

4. Star Wars.4

5. Deadlifts5

With regards to strength and conditioning there’s probably no one topic I’ve written about more than the deadlift.

And, as it happens, I’m currently working on a project for the Personal Trainer Development Center I feel will end up being one of the most thorough (and entertaining) resources on the deadlift ever written.

It’s tentatively titled Deadlift – catchy, right? – and based off my initial draft, looks as though it will run the length of a Dostoyevsky novel. Or a Bret Contreras blog post.

So keep your eyes peeled for it within the next few weeks. Fingers crossed.

And on that note I have a new exercise you should try.

Hover Deadlift



Who Did I Steal It From: Massachusetts based strength coach, Mike Perry. You should check out his website Skill of Strength. Amazing stuff on there.

This is an excellent drill for newbies learning to deadlift correctly.

What Does It Do: For me the biggest mistake many people make when it comes to performing the deadlift is taking a haphazard approach to their setup. The key is to get (and MAINTAIN) tension throughout the duration of the lift (or set).

Ever watch someone deadlift and immediately see their upper back rounding or the their hips shoot up first? This is usually indicative of lack of tension (or the weight is too heavy, but the sake of brevity lets assume the former).

The Hover Deadlift is a simple (and quite ingenious) way to help teach someone how to get tension in their lats/upper back, and more importantly to MAINTAIN that tension throughout their rep/set.

Key Coaching Cues: I used two kettlebells in the video above, but you could just as easily use one if that’s how you roll.

Stand directly above the bells, push your hips back, knees out, and try to melt the handles in your hand(s). This last cue will help teach you to pack your shoulders.

Instead of standing straight up with the weight, you’ll first “hover” an inch or two above the ground. This will ensure you maintain tension in the lats/upper back to prevent rounding (and so that the bell doesn’t move away from the body).

Lock out at the top, squeezing glutes hard.

Return back to the ground, hovering again 1-2 inches above the floor before coming to a complete stop.

Reset and repeat for 6-8 repetitions.

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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.
  1. OMG did you watch THIS?

  2. Because, it’s catsAnd you’ll LOL.

  3. Which I can’t eat for two years because of these freaking braces. FML.

  4. Han shot first, sorry.

  5. Other things on the list (in no particular order): caffeine, Rocky IV, cheese, boobies, Quentin Taratino, oxygen, and of course, my wife.

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