Deadlift

USED IN: Break-In; Fat-Loss I and III; Strength I, II, and III

SETUP: Load an Olympic barbell and set it on the floor. Squat over it with your feet about shoulder-width apart and toes pointed forward. Grab it with an overhand grip, your hands just outside your legs and your arms straight. Now roll the bar toward you until it's directly under your shoulders. Some guys start with the bar at their shins; others like the bar farther out, meaning they start with less of a bend in their knees. Both techniques are fine, as long as your lower back is slightly arched. Finally, tighten up everything, from your grip to your shoulders and on down to your feet.

LIFTING: Push straight down through the middles of your feet as you straighten your knees. Depending on your starting position, you'll either pull the bar to your

lower legs and then up, or straight up. Either way, the bar must stay in contact with your legs all the way up. With the bar past your knees, push your hips forward as you squeeze your shoulder blades together in back. This straightens your torso and squares your shoulders to complete the lift.

LOWERING: Lower the bar along your body to the floor. With heavy weights, you want to wear sweatpants when you deadlift. Otherwise, expect some scrapes on your shins.

MIXED GRIP: With your heaviest lifts, you'll need to switch to the mixed grip— one hand over and one hand under the bar. This takes a bit of getting used to, since at first it'll feel as if you're applying uneven torque to your spine. But in reality, the muscles that rotate your arm outward for the underhand grip—the rear deltoid and two small rotator-cuff muscles—have nothing to do with your spinal stability. The arm with the overhand grip will be slightly forward of the one with the underhand grip, which is why it feels as if it's twisting your spine. Your muscles, however, have to fire evenly on both sides of your spine, making it perfectly safe for experienced lifters doing Alwyn's Strength programs.

Variations

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