T Nation

Eric Cressey's Deadlift


Eric Cressey is a very good deadlifter. No doubt about it. I was watching him pull 660 at a very light bodyweight and this part confuses me a little bit. How does he get so strong WITHOUT adding any muscle? He is by no means a big guy at all.

I don't want anyone to think I'm hating on Eric because I'm not. I'm a huge fan of his I just want to know how he stays so small while being so strong. I know that for me personally deadlifts add a lot of size. If I got to a 660 deadlift I would be a lot bigger then I am now.

I'm just curious what he does to keep his size down. The two things that come to my mind are either low volume training or he doesn't eat very much. I wanted to get other people's thoughts on this.

Again, I'm not hating on him. I think his deadlift is VERY impressive.


I'm guessing his expert knowledge of kinesiology has something to do with it.


Extremely well developed CNS with favorable leverages would be my guess


Eric has actually written a couple of blog posts and articles on training for relative strength athletes. Here's the only one I can remember off the top of my head: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/5_relative_strength_myths&cr=

At the very basic level, the two ways to gain strength are an increase in muscle cross sectional area and an increase in neurological efficiency (I'm sure Storm could go into better detail than I since I'm pretty sure that's what his Master's is in). A relative strength athlete (meaning someone who is restricted to a weight class) is going to rely less on the former and a lot on the latter. Training wise, this generally means lower rep brackets, speed/power work and singles above 90% of a 1RM.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that your weight class is the highest weight you're allowed to hold year round either. It's called an offseason for a reason. Matt Kroc regularly walked around at 250-260 and cut to 220, EC 180-190, etc.


If you read his book, maximum strength, he gets into that. There are probably articles on this site where he addresses it if you want to look back through them.

Essentially, there are multiple ways to get stronger, and only one of them is muscle size.

Good technique + leverages + muscle attachments + supper CNS = impressive lifting


Just food for thought here...
Do you think that Cressey doesn't WANT to add muscle? I doubt it. He probably just trains his ass off and competes wherever his weight is at. It's no different than Brian Schwab and some of the other lighter guys that are ridiculously strong, they are just built for it.

I guess the point I am trying to make here is-I don't think that ANYONE goes out of there way to keep their weight down. Usually the idea is to get as strong as humanly possible. If you weigh 221 you're going to cut to make 220 instead of 242...or if you're highly competitive you're going to cut from 220 to make 198. But training-wise and diet etc. I don't think anyone purposely tries to limit muscle gain.


Disagree. There are different reasons people have for getting bigger and/or stronger. Some people just want to be big and don't care what their lifts are (see professor X's comments in the BB section). Why is it hard to believe the opposite can be true too?


He's not as small as you think he is. He's stated he's close to 200lbs at 5'8-ish, and I imagine he's dense as a brick shit house.


Like many have said, he trains for strength, but I would say a larger part of it is the leverages. His deadlift is awesome at the expense of his his squat/bench (which are still good, but not on par with his deadlift).


I think that's a lot more likely than the "he's an expert in kinesiology" line of thought. There are innumerable knowledgeable keyboard warriors who will never pull 405.


Probably knowledge and advantageous leverages. But I have a hard time believing that there are even a handful of keyboard warriors let alone "innumerable" with the level of knowledge he has.




He has gotten a lot bigger. He is a naturally small guy who has a hard time putting on weight, he put on a lot of weight but was so small to begin with that he still isn't huge. He also has very good leverages for deadlifting, there is your explanation.


I am a physical therapist. My knowledge of biomechanics/leverages should be up there. Still don't know half as much about proper deadlifting as my coach, who deadlifts mid 700s around 200-210, and I think he has about a semester of college on his academic resume. My point: The idea that Eric Cressey's knowledge in kinesiology plays more of a role than about 10-15% is ludicrous.


Yeah that's how I feel about it too. Just because someone is an amazing basketball coach doesn't make them a great basketball player. Same thing applies to lifting... you could be a master of biomechanics and know every insertion and origin of every muscle in the body it doesn't mean you're going to be a good lifter. I'm not saying it will hurt at all but I don't think its enough to explain Eric Cressey's deadlift.

Who is your coach btw? You need to pick his brain about how he got such an amazing deadlift and then post what he says on here lol.


Not meaning to hijack the thread, but I am getting help from Shawn Frankl at the moment through a mutual friend. I deadlift convo, and am fast off the floor, ewak at lockout. The main thing he yells at me about is to keep the chest up and "get under the weight" once I get it past my knees. Everything is individual, though. There is no cure all deadlift technique tip. Just lots of trial and error.


Gost, if you like Eric Cressey, you'll love this guy:


^^that is one ugly woman. She could use some conditioner in that ponytail too


NOt sure if srs...


Christ... 792 pounds at 180lbs bodyweight. If I hadn't watched that video I would have said that's impossible. What's crazy is he's only 223 pounds away from the world record and Magnusson weighs in the mid 300's I believe?