Ask The Trainer #173 – Dominate The Deadlift

Ask The Trainer #173 - Dominate The Deadlift


Chad, Hope all is well! I know I have messaged in the past, but wanted to send a quick message and see if I could get your thoughts? I have gained about 4 lbs and gone up in strength since my last message, but wanted to see if you had any advice on clean bulking? And your thoughts on how I can get better on deadlift? I know you can DL a lot of weight and was curious if you had any good tips? I can do around 385 once right now. In terms of diet I am 6’0 and weigh 172, and I would really like to get to 180-185lbs but wanted to know the best way to gain some lean mass? Any diet ideas and exercise tips would be awesome. As always thank you for your time.



Hey Ian! I think that your goals sound very reasonable. Pulling 385 pounds isn’t a bad deadlift considering your height and weight. In fact, I think you could definitely pull more using a proper strategy and better techniques.

Deadlift Technique Tips

Don’t “Pull”: Instead, the deadlift is actually more of a “push”. Yes, push. You have to use your hip muscles. Drive through your heels and push your hips forward once the bar reaches knee level. Then, lock the weight by squeezing your glutes hard at the top. Understand Deadlifts Are NOT Squats: Your hips have to be higher to pull big weights and so you don’t hit your shins on each rep. Raise your hips so your shoulder-blades end up over the bar. Use Your Legs: Your hips should be higher than when you Squat, but not too high. Otherwise, your lower back will do all the work. Don’t Fix Your Technique With A Mirror: If you do, your hips will usually end too low. Instead, ask someone for feedback or just video yourself. Pull Faster: The faster you lift, the more muscles fibers you’ll recruit. That translates to moving more weight. By the way, lifting “fast” isn’t cheating nor is it dangerous or bad for your joint. You just have to control the bar and use proper technique. Proof of this is that all Olympic lifters pull explosively yet they have low rates of injury. Accelerate the bar from the floor as fast as you can. Don’t worry if the bar speed decreases as the weight goes up. Just apply as much force to the barbell as you can. Be sure to focus on popping your chest out at the top of the movement. You have to pull your warm-up sets fast to be quick on your work sets.

Deadlift Boosters

Strengthen Your Grip: It doesn’t matter if your legs and back have the strength to Deadlift the weight. If your hands can’t hold the barbell, it will obviously never leave the floor. Here are 3 keys to a stronger grip – 1) Avoid using wraps for pulling exercises. 2) Use chalk 3) Use a mixed overhand/underhand grip. Wear A Belt: Breathing into your belly and pushing against the belt with your abs increases intra-abdominal pressure. This is why you can easily break your Deadlift plateau and add 30lb to your max almost instantly by wearing a belt. Begin the movement with the bar tight against your shins and keep the bar as close to your body as possible throughout the movement. Deadlift In Socks Or Slippers: Doing so reduces the distance you have to pull the bar.

Eating For Lean Mass

To add lean mass, should focus on consuming wholesome foods containing very few empty calories. I suggest you try to eat 3 well-balanced meals per day with some quality protein snacks between meals. Whey protein shakes are a great way to bridge the gaps between meals. Other convenient sources of protein are hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, and various types of nuts (almonds are good). Nuts will provide some essential fatty acids to your diet as well.

Diet Staples

Protein: Whole Cage-free eggs, whey protein, beef, chicken, wild caught salmon, turkey, low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and canned tuna are very convent. Carbohydrates: Broccoli, spinach, green beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, tomatoes, asparagus, yams, sprouted brown rice, squash, sprouted grain bread- and green salads. Fats: Extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, flax seed, chia seed, fish oil, almond butter, and almonds. Stay away from processed foods, fast food, sweets, juices made from concentrates, and alcohol. Ok, all of this should put you on the path to crushing your old deadlift weights and hitting all-time records!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,

Chad Shaw

Have A Question For Chad?

Just click the button below. ASK NOW