T Nation

Improving Conventional DL Lockout


#1

My form is pretty solid though I can get a little shakier as I get closer to the top of my abilities.

So how can I improve on my deadlift lockout? I've looked into rack lifts but after reading Jim Wendlers article on them they seem less realistic as a solution due to the lack of ROM...
Is the only way to just deadlift more?


#2

I live and die by kettlebell swings for DL lockout. I also only train ROM progression for my deads, so almost all of my training is partial ROM, but the swings have a significant impact.


#3

I found banded and reverse band deadlifts to be helpful in improving my lockout. It’s where I always miss, so when my deadlift goes up it’s almost always a product of strengthening my lockout, and I saw by far my best gains in the 3-4 months after I bought bands.

You still get full ROM, and you’re able to really hit your lockout hard given the lower weight off the floor. Do this for Max effort. And do speed pulls with bands as well. Will help you become more explosive off the floor, which is another way to attack a weak lockout.


#4

I am in the same boat.

I don’t have access to bands or chains.

I’ve just started incorporating seated GMs. I think those may help, and more Kroc rows. Heck, I figure I might have lazy glutes too, as I never ‘feel’ them squatting or deadlifting.


#5

[quote]sexyxe wrote:
Heck, I figure I might have lazy glutes too, as I never ‘feel’ them squatting or deadlifting.[/quote]

You probably hit it on the head right there. Most people have inactive glutes unless they specifically work on activation, and that will kill your lockout. Unless its a technique problem -pulling with an excessively rounded back so the hips are in full extension too early- glute activation would be where I start.


#6

[quote]sexyxe wrote:
I am in the same boat.

I don’t have access to bands or chains.

I’ve just started incorporating seated GMs. I think those may help, and more Kroc rows. Heck, I figure I might have lazy glutes too, as I never ‘feel’ them squatting or deadlifting.[/quote]

Your profile shows you are in Australia. try this as a band source… http://www.undergroundelite.com.au/search.php?mode=search&page=1


#7

Thanks, i think perhaps the poor glute activation may be playing a role.


#8

How about Kirk Karwoski rows?


#9

For lockout I would recommend doing Good Mornings, KB swings or weighed back raises. Because if you can’t lockout DL, you have weak back. Those did the job for me.


#10

Hey man,

why don’t you post a vid of your form? I thought I had solid form on deadlifts until I got a personal training session with a professional strongman and we deadlifted.

When i got to my knees, I’d emmediately try to pull back, this seems natural, but it’s not. Instead, we worked on standing tall, and bringing my hips to my shoulders… instead of trying to bring my shoulders to my hips by pulling back. When you get past your knees and focus on standing tall and hips forward you really activate your glutes and the lockout is way easier.

As far as working on your lockout I’d do some box pulls from the knee. Never off safeties, bad for the bar. The bar flexes a lot more naturally off boxes and i find it’s more natural.

You hear all the time that guys can rack pull a ton but it doesn’t get their deadlifts up.

I attribute this to 2 things, 1- poor positioning off the floor, and 2 - lack of quad strength. Quads get the bar moving off the floor. So as long as you keep front squatting and have solid form, I think box pulls would be a great help.

My personal favorite however is to use chains and pull from the floor, this teaches you to strain through the lockout better than bands I find, and the deadlift is a strain lift. I also find the chains less taxing on the CNS. You can just google powerliting chains, and then get the right length and head to a hardware store and you’ll have a set.

Best of luck man


#11

[quote]JDiesel666 wrote:
My form is pretty solid though I can get a little shakier as I get closer to the top of my abilities.

So how can I improve on my deadlift lockout? I’ve looked into rack lifts but after reading Jim Wendlers article on them they seem less realistic as a solution due to the lack of ROM…
Is the only way to just deadlift more?[/quote]

Try rack lifts for sure, anything that trains extension of the hip is going to help if done correctly.

Heavy kb swings with hard contraction of the glute, if you don’t have kettle bells use a dumbell and go heavy!

Barbell hip thrusts, working throw full ROM, try it with a pause in the full contracted position.

The exercise will train strength in the glutes which is where most of power to “lock out” ( extend the hip) should come from.

Other exercise for a quality deadlift: stiff leg deads, and glute ham raises.


#12

my cue is “f*ck the bar”
also, Rack Pulls have always worked for me. I used to be weak at lockout; after rack pulling infrequently for about a year I am weak off the ground, but my lockout is strong and my DL has increased over 100lb.

You’ll always have a weak point in your lift, even if you always train full ROM, just keep that in mind.


#13

Good point Zoro, I’ll give the rack deads a trial cycle see what they can do.


#14

[quote]Zoro wrote:
my cue is “f*ck the bar”
also, Rack Pulls have always worked for me. I used to be weak at lockout; after rack pulling infrequently for about a year I am weak off the ground, but my lockout is strong and my DL has increased over 100lb.

You’ll always have a weak point in your lift, even if you always train full ROM, just keep that in mind.[/quote]

Heavy rack pulls for sure.


#15

Not sure exactly what your problem is but mine was that I was missing at the lockout just passed the knees but, it was due to a weak upper back not hips and glutes. Basically I would start the lift with a nice high chest but as the weight piled on by the time I passed my knees my upper back had started to round pulling my shoulders forward over the bar making it almost impossible for me to lockout and push my hips through.

Me and Sam Byrd have this problem and we have both added 30+ pounds to our deadlift (Sam added 50) in a matter of 2 months from hitting upper back every single session. Alternating between Rows or Pull Downs High Reps, Low Reps, Drop Sets you name it killed our upper backs. Also every other week instead of deadlifting twice a week we incorporated stupid heavy Barbell Rows ( 315 for 8-12 for me and 455 for 8-12 for Sam ) keeping a more upright postion and keeping the bar absolutely as close to thighs as possible and using slight leg drive to get moving with as hard a squeeze as possible at top.

You will feel your traps and the middle back between the shoulder blades like nothing else really forcing you to keep a very strong upper back position which carries over to deadlift lockout perfectly. The next week we did Block Pulls alternating between a 4in and a 2in box pulling about 90-100% of our standard max for 3-5 reps for 2-3 sets.

If your problem is hips and glutes then I guess all the above reading is useless but hey maybe it will help you add some quick weight to your deadlift.


#16

[quote]JDiesel666 wrote:
My form is pretty solid though I can get a little shakier as I get closer to the top of my abilities.

So how can I improve on my deadlift lockout? I’ve looked into rack lifts but after reading Jim Wendlers article on them they seem less realistic as a solution due to the lack of ROM…
Is the only way to just deadlift more?[/quote]
Lot’s of rdl’s and basically any glute ham work you can think of will help


#17

Lockout is all about GLUTES - whether it is making them stronger, or tinkering with technique so that your hips are in the optimal position/angle for them to be used most effectively. Any exercise that targets the glutes will help you.

Other than adding glute strength, the higher your hips are at the start, the more hamstring you can engage for speed/power off of the floor. If your hips are too high, however, your legs are locked out or almost locked out with still too much distance for the bar to travel and the glutes are at a disadvantage. I would say have someone watch or video your sets the next couple of weeks and tinker with how high your hips start to find that sweet spot between speed off of the floor and solid lockout.

Once you have established that, start pulling from a deficit for 3 sets of 10 once or twice a week. Think of it as an assistance exercise, so not all that heavy–my competition best is 375, but I only use between 225 and 245 for the deficit reps (I’m a girl in the 148 weight class, by the way–please don’t take advice from a male that pulls less than 500, lol). A former guy I used to lift with uses between 315 and 335 and is planning to hit 600 this weekend in competition in the 198 weight class.

Deficits also train hamstrings and floor speed a ton, but the longer range of motion will help you feel when the movement switches from hamstring to glute, and the volume will give the the ability to grind through a rep that you might struggle to lock out. I also like what someone else a little earlier on this blog said about adding in goodmornings.

Rack pulls are partial, and unless you can manage to do them in the exact same angle you end up in when pulling from the floor, I don’t know that they are worth it .


#18

power shrugs have helped my lock out the most.
Rack pulls from just below the weak also helped, usually did them both back to back.

Stiff leg deads against chains…eat me up, but damn when I was concentrating on my deadlift, I added
close to 90lbs inside three months, just based off those three movements, after full range deads.


#19

Learn to activate your glutes more. I like dead stop zercher squats from the pins in a power rack with a sumo stance. I struggled with this for the longest time. Now I can feel my glutes activate on the deadlift. The hardest part is training the muscle to contract without having to “think” about contracting it imo.


#20

[quote]Reed wrote:
Not sure exactly what your problem is but mine was that I was missing at the lockout just passed the knees but, it was due to a weak upper back not hips and glutes.[/quote]

im with this guy. me and several of my training partners are doing snatch grip deads, sometimes on blocks, sometimes defecit, to help with the lockout. we feel its helping a lot. i know my speed off the floor is way better as well as my lockout.