What Has Helped My Deadlift

Zach Matheny


The daunting 600lb deadlift has been haunting me since April 2017. This was the first time I attempted to pull it in competition. Since then, I have attempted it in 3-4 meets and have missed it at the lockout every time.  I just recently pulled it in training weighing 191lbs and will pull it November 3rd at the Old School Gym New Philadelphia push/pull meet weighing 181lbs. Here is what I have been doing to help my lockout.

On my dynamic effort/speed days for my deadlift I have been standing on a 3-4in box and pulling my deadlifts through bands with a snatch grip. What this does is create such a deficit between the box and wider grip the lower back/glutes are forced to engage even more so. I have done a couple 3-week waves where I increase weight and/or band tension.

On max effort days the past 4 weeks the 4 AM Crew and myself have been pulling from mats to shorten the pull. I have been setting up in a position that puts me at my worst position, right below the knee. Each week we have been pulling a mat away starting at 3inches and finishing at 1in or the floor.

On some of my squat days if I decide not to do traditional speed work I will set up a pin right below the knee (seeing a trend here?) and pull 275-315 into the pin isometrically for a 3-5 second count.

In terms of accessories I have been hammering low back extensions, very wide belt squat marches, and 2 days of reverse hypers. One day is 3 sets of 20-35 lighter weight and the other day is 3 sets of 12-15 heavier weight.

My lockout has felt so much stronger, both my conventional and sumo stance and I attribute it to these above. Give them a try and see your deadlift increase. Attack your weaknesses!

Zach has been using the Max Effort Muscle post workout to help him recover from his workouts and perform at his highest level possible!