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Muscle for life

Deadlifting For Dummies: 5 Tips for a PR Pull

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Deadlifting For Dummies: 5 Tips for a PR Pull

If you want to pull more weight in your deadlifts (and look awesome doing it), then you want to read this article.

 

I want to let you in on a little secret: deadlifts cure cancer, science just doesn’t know it yet.

Besides the fact that they activate muscles from your face all the way down to your feet, they also turn average men into grunting, chalk covered savages who are willing to sacrifice their intervertebral discs for a love of the iron.

However, when it comes to training longevity, we’ve got to remember that chasing PRs for short term satisfaction can also lead to long term disappointment if one incurs an acute injury or exacerbates a pre-existing, chronic issue.

So, how can you receive the satisfaction of feeling like the sultan of swole ripping 400 pounds off the ground while still retaining the ability to tie your shoes the next day?

Well, sounds like it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and talk biomechanics.

Strap in chief, it’s about to get serious.

1. Stop Retracting Your Shoulder Blades

deadlift form tips

Whenever you discuss biomechanics you have to remember that deviations at one joint can cause subsequent alterations elsewhere. So, if you cue the shoulder blades directly, you must keep in mind that the spine may be affected as well.

Not only that, scapular position can influence positioning of your ribcage, apical expansion, and intra-abdominal pressure.

Whenever I hear someone coaching a lifter to “pull their shoulder blades back” (i.e. scapular retraction) before a pull, a small part of me dies inside.

Not only that, they’re unknowingly teaching the trainee to increase the range of motion required to complete the lift. Why make the lifter harder than necessary?

Essentially, you want the arms as long as possible in the deadlift. If you’re transiently changing their length, then you’ll have to drop the hips lower in order to grip the bar.

Still not tracking with me? Check out this video where I cover the topic in detail and discuss some of the other mechanics that are affected.

Key Takeaway

Reach through the bar, take your breath, and then get tight.

2. Learn to Pack the Neck

deadlift training

As I mentioned before, you spine is somewhat like a rope – adjust one area and there may be ensuing “waves” at other areas.

In the case of the neck, cervical extension results in lumbar extension due to reflexive erector spinae recruitment.

To quote great physical therapist and strength coach Charlie Weingroff,

…a “packed” neck is strong cervical retrusion with capital flexion.”

Many misinterpret the idea of a “packed neck” as correlating with looking down but in actuality you’re trying to generate retraction of your cranium on the cervical spine.

Jim Wendler simplified the concept by relating it to the idea of wearing a backwards baseball hat and trying to push the bill into the wall behind without tilting your head up or down.

This movement is often accompanied with thoracic spine extension in overhead lifts in order to move the head out of the way and allow the bar to move in a straight line.

I’m sure you’re wondering why small deviations make such a big difference but Mel Siff put it rather succinctly in his book Supertraining:

“Correct positioning of the head will ensure that the back assumes the posture where trunk stabilization is shared between the erector muscles and the spinal ligaments. Action of the eyes is closely related to the action of the head, so it is essential to facilitate correct positioning.”

However, just because one tucks the chin doesn’t mean that they have to keep the eyes down.

Many times oral-facial drivers can play a much larger role than most people realize due to the influence of the vestibulo-ocular reflex.

This reflex occurs in order to optimize vision during movement of the head by stabilizing the line of sight.

So, in this case you’ve dropped your line of sight as your chest hinged to the floor but you can keep a neutral ocular position based upon the positioning your eyes.

Therefore, after you have retracted the chin, keep your eyes up like you’re trying to look out of the top of your eye sockets in order to capitalize on this reflex.

Key Takeaway

Experiment with “making a double chin” to keep the cervical spine neutral but continue to look up with your eyes rather than throwing your head back into hyperextension.

3. Understand and Maximize Intent

deadlift tips powerlifting

When you lift weights you have to remember that the velocity of the bar is of critical importance.

You can use it as an easy way to measure nervous system readiness or critique RPE (rate of perceived exertion) for certain sets in order to determine percentage fatigue drops.

However, with weight lifting the concept of specificity applies to programming, exercise selection, and velocity.

Your focus (i.e. intent) during a lift can play a large role in arousal and output of the central nervous system, here’s how to maximize it:

Key Takeaway

Once you can get into position (deep squat, hip hinge to parallel, etc.) then you need to focus on accelerating the bar explosively – the influence of gravity against the bar and the plates should be the only force slowing you down.

4. Adjust Bar Position

improve deadlift

Scraping your shins on the bar isn’t the best indication of a good deadlift.

In fact, in some cases it might be due to the fact that you’re setup is incorrect and you’re “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

In other words, you’re robbing power from the quads because you’re setting up with the bar too close to the shins and as such your glutes and hamstrings have to work harder.

Key Takeaway

Keep the bar over the knot on your shoe laces and ensure a vertical bar path by pushing the floor away while pulling the bar into your body to prevent any horizontal drift.

5. Generate Tension with the Bar

how to improve deadlift

Your starting position determines your position at lockout.

If you can nail the setup and maintain neutrality while getting your air and hinging down to the bar, you’re already way ahead of the curve.

From there, you need to learn how to use the bar and your hamstrings to actually “pull” yourself into the bottom of the starting position.

Establish tension by taking advantage of the irradiation phenomenon within the hands and couple that with a stable base (i.e. tripod foot) in order to generate a solid platform for power production and force transmission.

If you’re more of a visual learner then give the video below a watch as it will explain the concept in much more depth.

Key Takeaway

Get tight first and then work on trying to push the floor away. Don’t let laziness ruin your starting position as it will also subsequently affect your lockout.

 

What do you think about these deadlifting tips? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

Mike Wines

Mike Wines is a strength and conditioning coach and content editor for Muscle and Strength. He received his B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of South Carolina and seeks to combine personal experience with practical application in order to provide programming and movement based solutions to match each individual's goals.

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  • LifeForMuscle

    da fuck you mean shoulder protraction??!?!

    i don’t think that’s even close to truth man…

  • robert

    hey mike, big fan of all of your work. you have mentioned multiple times in both your podcasts and articles that you are a fan of the traditional deadlift. however, seeing that i am 6’4 whenever i use the tradtional approach i always feel like im squatting the weight up rather using my lower back muscles. is this feeling correct? or should i switch to the sumo?

    • Michael Joseph Wines

      Robert,
      If you feel like you’re squatting the weight up, then you’re likely starting with your hips too low in a conventional stance. Remember, the deadlift is a hinge, not a squat.

      You can certainly try sumo as that sometimes works well for taller lifters. I’m 6’3″ and I pull conventional but I have very long arms so it works well for my anthropometry.

      Ideally in a deadlift you should be feeling it in your upper back and legs. If you’re only feeling it primarily in your lower back then you’ve got a core stability issue or your can’t differentiate between hip extension or lumbar hyperextension.

      • robert

        thanks for the advice, ill try it out and get back to you!

  • ryan

    this is perfect!! I’ll be doing my back workouts in a few hours, and i always start with deadlifts. Let me give this a shot

    • Michael Joseph Wines

      Give it a shot and let me know what you think Ryan!

    • Great! LMK how it went!

  • I found that pretending in my mind that I am actually pushing the floor down with my heels rather than lifting the weight up helped me get a PR deadlift.

    That and, making my stance narrower. I see so many people doing conventional deadlifts that have their feet waaaay to wide to begin with.

    Try narrowing your stance and pretending to push the earth away from you with your heels.

    • Michael Joseph Wines

      External cueing is much more effective than internal so focusing on the pushing against the floor is a better strategy than thinking about positioning of your limbs.

      Also would have to agree with you on stance width. Narrowing your stance allows the trainee to move their hands in which essentially shortens the range of motion of the lift. I typically put my feet at hip width or even slightly inside of that.

  • Clay Bates

    Hey Mike,
    Love reading your articles. Big fan.
    I played sports my whole life and in the weight room was always taught shoulder retraction “pinch the blades” as a general rule for almost every lift. I understand what you mean from a breathing perspective and distance perspective on deadlifting from protracted shoulders…my question is is there more of a danger and risk of injury to the shoulder from this seemingly vulnerable position? After all most people consider the shoulder the weakest joint. Especially when pulling 400-500+ lbs? What you think? And Is this a common technique for professionals pulling near 1000lbs?
    Thanks man

    • Michael Joseph Wines

      Hey Clay,
      Thanks for the kind words my friend.

      I can certainly understand your concern given the fact that you’ve been an overhead athlete your whole life.

      Scapular retraction doesn’t necessarily guarantee a safer position for the shoulder as the shoulder blade can move in multiple planes and the degree of protraction will be different depending upon each person’s goals and experience.

      For example, I wouldn’t start by teaching a rank begin to protract during their setup for the pull. However, if I was working with a seasoned powerlifter then I would definitely teach them small technique tweaks such as this.

      The other aspect to consider is that cueing for an exercise is entirely individual – meaning that one cue may be wrong for one athlete where as perfect for another.

      In this case, if someone presents with a more flexed posture (especially through the thoracic spine – i.e. most desk jockeys) I wouldn’t cue them to protract or retract. Instead, I would teach them how to generate more thoracic extension and cue their lats to generate stability.

      Similarly, if someone was more extended (some overhead athletes for example) then protraction might be the right teaching tool as thoracic flexion often follows protraction due to the influence of the serratus on the ribcage.

      To answer your general question, it would depend on the lifter and their current technique. If protraction allows you to keep a more neutral spinal position then it would aid in shoulder stability. If it puts you in more flexion then no.

      However, the vast majority of folks who deadlift have more issues with lumbar spines, bicep tears, or hip issues rather than shoulder problems.

      Most problems at the shoulder occur during compression or torsion movements (think push press, snatch, bench press, etc.) but in the deadlift you’re dealing with a distraction force which would actually help to aid in building shoulder stability.

      Sorry about the lengthy reply but I hope that helps to explain things a bit more.

  • dave

    very informative! i only started deadlifting couple of months ago and went to a personal trainer to make sure i was doing it correctly.

    First tip i saw i thought “for fuck sake”. told to retract the blades, it definitly shortens the distance and effects the breathing :/ so its more your upper back and lats tightening not the shoulder blades?

    just another question is that i started off on sumo DL as he said my lower back was rounding due to lack of flexibilty. since then my flexibility has improved and doing romanian DL has helped immensely too so i felt i shoould move to conventional. the first pull i did to try out the conventional stance was easier than the sumo and i got to a heavy weight. i felt it in my lower back a lot more but also in my posterior chain. should i stick with conventional ?

    • Michael Joseph Wines

      Hey Dave,

      Unfortunately given the low barrier of entry in the fitness industry and the fact that most trainers just parrot information they hear from others rather than thinking for themselves and applying foundational concepts from anatomy, biomechanics, physics, or physiology, you wind up with a great deal of misinformation that’s just flat out wrong or misconstrued.

      When trying to “get tight” in the deadlift, it’s about more about thinking about activating your lats but not pulling your shoulders down so aggressively that you drive yourself into extension. You can use the cue “squeeze oranges in your armpits” which I discussed in more detail in this post: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/5-reasons-you-cant-deadlift-more-weight

      The low back issue may have not been due to a “flexibility issue” as originally perceived by your trainer as it could have been due to motor control issues at the pelvis (in which case, RDLs would have helped to correct that).

      Conventional may have seemed easier but as you said, you felt it more in your low back (lumbar spine) so it may be that due to your limb lengths you’re more suited to pull conventional. In which case, I would simply stick with sumo if it feels better on your back. Longevity is the name of the game when it comes to working with the iron so whatever puts you in a better positioning biomechanically in the long run is usually the best choice is your goals is health, fitness, and staying jacked as you get older.

      If you have footage of your lifts, it’d be easier to give a proper answer of whether or not you should stick with something.

      • dave

        oh believe me i know about misinformation lol until i found muscleforlife I was doing 5 exercises 5 sets 10-12 reps and eating 3500 calories. come the end of it all i was a fat weak bitch haha! now i look forward to getting as strong as possible on the big lifts but at the same time i be weary about doing deadlifts because of the types of advice you get from “fitness gurus”.

        I am 6″2 long legs and arms and was struggling to get to the bar especially when fully retracting the shoulders. even sitting here typing the “squeeze the oranges” just feels more comfortable than the retraction. Excuse my ignorance but i thought the deadlift was also a lower back exercise and if the conventional hits it but not hurts it is that not the aim? that is what the personal trainer told me. that the pain is not injury but muscle fatigue like any other muscle group and it does feel that way. I mainly feel low back strain when letting the weight down on conventional as opposed to when im doing sumos.

        i usually lift alone in the mornings but i could maybe video using the not so good quality bar thats lying in my house lol but anyways thanks for the reply really appreciate it!
        and i think number 5 in that article is a major one, “You dont trust the process”. each time i go in im wondering am i lifting correctly sometimes the weight feels like it comes off so easily and other times it doesnt and then it makes you wonder if your doing it wrong etc so confidence is a real killer for this i think!

        • Michael Joseph Wines

          Don’t be wary of the movement, with a little understanding in biomechanics and some sound movement principles, you’ll be fine.

          I’m 6’3″ and I’ve been deadlifting since day 1. Not saying that’s the case for everyone as there may be some who will never deadlift with a straight bar due to their hip anatomy but those are few and far between.

          The deadlift is primarily a hip dominant movement so the goal is not to generate excessive fatigue within the spinal erectors. They will still have to fire obviously to prevent the spine from going into flexion but goal is to use the glutes and hamstrings to extend the hips while allowing the core and lats to keep the spine neutral throughout the movement.

          As I said in the article, you still should be able to function the next day after you deadlift. If you can’t tie your shoes because your lower back is so sore, then you’ve got an issue which should be addressed.

          Snag some footage if you want, I’m always more than happy to help if folks are looking for some feedback.

          • dave

            I definitely feel it more in the hammys and glutes when i sumo! I’ll take your advice into consideration in terms of engaging the lats, pulling out the slack in the bar, packing the neck and even my lockout and get back too you! thanks a million, im looking forward to utilising your advice 🙂

  • Mario Salcido

    Quick Question: Are there any supplemental exercises that can help increase strength in the deadlift?

    • Michael Joseph Wines

      Mario,
      Of course – supplemental assistance is typically used to address specific weak points in the lift (lockout, slow off the floor, bar drift, etc.)

      However some general choices would be glute ham raises, romanian deadlifts (snatch grip and regular), DB rows, barbell rows, chinups, good mornings, or certain squat variations.

    • Mario brought up some good ones. Rack pulls are great too.

  • Aikas

    Guys, I spend the entire day trying to piece everything together from Mike’s books, articles and the best youtube videos as to make “THE UlTIMATE INSTRUCTIONAL DEADLIFTING GUIDE”. The only thing that I’m sure is wrong is the breathing part! But, If you correct and add some information to what I’ve written about it.. I believe the following text would be really useful for everybody and you can add it to the article! : )

    1.Your stance should be a bit narrower than shoulder width with your toes pointed slightly out and the bar at the middle of your foot, over the knot on your shoe laces. Your arms should be just outside your legs in the starting position and your elbows completely locked for the entire lift. The back stays locked in a neutral position the entire time. Try to keep the bar on a vertically straight path.
    2.Stand up tall with your chest out, your elbows locked in place and your lower back slightly arched and take a deep breath of air into your diaphragm (not lungs), bracing your core as if you were about to get punched in the stomach,
    keep that tension the whole time. Lean down and pick up the bar while your chin follows your chest thus keeping your head in a neutral position and in line with your spine. Crush the bar hard with your grip.
    3.When you pull, your eyes should look up and then pull. Imagine the explosive drive upward and drive your body upward and slightly back as quickly as you can by applying as much force through your heels as possible. The bar should move up your shins and roll over your knees and thighs. As you approach lock-out, squeeze your glutes to push the hips through the final phase of the movement. At the top, your chest should be out and your shoulders down. Don’t lean back or retract your shoulders back. Exhale at the 6th rep and again inhale and tight your core.
    While keeping your chest up and your shoulders back and down begin quickly lowering the bar by pushing your hips back first, letting the bar slide down your thighs, until it reaches your knees. Bend your knees and lower it down your shins. Repeat the previous part.

  • Piotr Kaminski

    Hello there! Nice to see so detailed and technical post. But I have question about this “retracting of shoulder blades”.
    First, you said that this increased range of motion. Why increased range of motion is “bad thing”? In many exercises we try to maximize this to increase time under tension, and ie. sumo dead lift gives you less stimulation, because of decreased range of motion.
    Secondly, many trainers tells you to retract your scapulae to keep your spine in natural position (its harder to round your lower back, when you have retracted scapulae). And thinking about this help you lock better.
    Also, you talk about hyper-extension and rolling shoulders at top of movement – but it totally different problem then trying to retract at bottom.
    Of course you should not hyper-extend and roll, just finish your move with gluts.
    Basically for me, this retraction is connected to starting position, when you should pull slack from the bar and lock tight, and slight retraction of scapulae helps you lock spine in neutral position.

    And I’m afraid, that some beginners can take away from this, that they should fully extend at start, and that WILL lead to rounding of lower back.

    • Michael Joseph Wines

      Time under tension and range of motion aren’t directly proportional. The deadlift starting position is maximized by keeping the bar over the midfoot, armpits of the bar, and keeping a vertical bar path.

      Retract at the start is biomechanically incorrect and if a train tells you to pull your shoulder blades back then they don’t understand the influence of the shoulder blade on the ribcage or the mechanics of breathing.

      Sure, scapular protraction can cause thoracic kyphosis, I’d agree with that. The point you have to keep in mind is that you must also teach someone how to lock in the lats and pull the slack out the bar to brace against their air.

      Also, if you look at the research on sumo versus conventional deadlifting, you will find differences in muscular activation but to automatically assume that there’s less stimulation is just inherently false.

      Getting back to the topic of retraction, if you’re trying to maintain scapular retraction under 400+lbs, it’s not going to happen. The guys who preach scapular retraction during the setup or the execution of the lift are likely not strong deadlifters themselves. Look at any one who pulls any appreciable amount of weight (Dan Green, Ed Coan, Pete Rubbish, Bryce Lewis, Mike Tuchscherer, etc.) and you will quickly see what sort of upper back positioning they all exhibit.

      A neutral spine is not found with scapular retraction. Scapular retraction is often followed with lumbar or thoracic extension – most can’t differentiate between the two and thus it’s foolish to try and cue someone to use it. “Getting tight” at the start occurs with the lats, not the scapular retractors.

      If you want to dig into more of the details regarding the topic of deadlifting, I wrote 2 other articles on the subject and that should help to clear up some of the misunderstanding regarding the movement:
      1. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/deadlift-domination-5-tips-for-5-plates

      2. https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/5-reasons-you-cant-deadlift-more-weight

      • Piotr Kaminski

        First of all, thank you for your time and detailed answer.
        I read those articles and watch all films, and today at gym I tried to implement as many of your tips as I remembered.
        And I can tell, that you are right, and I was coached wrong.
        Now I see, that “retract your shoulder” is just shortcut and easy way to force new person to perform “correct” hinge and may work at beginning. This is easy, but dead end road.
        And proper, and harder way is through lats engage (“squeeze oranges”), packing the neck, and getting chest a bit forward – with proper air inhaled. But I guess, it can be a bit overwhelming for beginners (but of course, we all should learn proper way from beginning).
        Thanks again!

  • Kim

    This is a great article with the vids, thank you so much. Do you have one for squats too?

  • NoApoloG

    Is it normal to feel more of a burn in your legs than your back when doing deadlifts and barbell rows?

  • dave

    Any videos or tips for the hex bar deadlift Mike?

  • Richard Brown

    Hi Mike, First year of BLS all done and now starting the second year. Question around deadlifting.. I spent about 6 month deadlifting with no problems although as I got heavier and old lower back injury came back.. I have since persisted with the Deadlifts trying higher reps etc. although 3 times now as i go to lifting heavy 4-6 reps the back has failed…. So for the last 2 months I have excluded deadlifting from the programme and included an additional 3 sets of back squats at 8-10 reps…… Now I am considering, should I try the deadlifting again but stick to a higher rep range to avoid injury or should i keep it out altogether… Any thoughts? Rich.

    • Hey Richard! Good job!

      Sorry to hear about the lower back issues. If you’re back is feeling better, go ahead and try deadlifting again. Start with light weight and go higher rep. If all goes well, work your way to the heavier weight and the lower rep range.

      If traditional deadlifting doesn’t end up being workable. Try out hex bar or sumo deadlifting. If those don’t workout, let’s do hyperextensions.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

      • Richard Brown

        Thanks Mike. Took your advice and this week I am now into my second year on BLS so starting from week one again and added sumo deadlifts in today. Stuck with 8-10 rep range (at 90KG) and used a belt which really helped with support. Anyway felt awesome all day and the back actually feels more agile than it has for a good few weeks. Will stick with this for a while and see how we go.

        • Welcome!

          Cool you’re on your second year of BLS and great to hear the sumo deadlifts went well today!

          Definitely keep me posted on your progress and write anytime if you have any questions or run into any difficulties. I’m always happy to help.

  • Will

    Really helpful post. Thanks.

    I’m back to deadlifting after taking a couple weeks off to let my lower back heal. It was aching (probably form poor form on my deadlifts). I’ve been focusing on form and the lower back pain isn’t recurring. Thank god.

    Going forward, I personally feel most at risk of losing form in my lower back on the negative portion of the movement (setting the bar down). What do you think about just dropping it to avoid any injuries when setting the bar down?

    • YW!

      Glad you’re back at it and aren’t experiencing any issues!

      On the last rep (given you’re at a gym where you’re allowed to), you can drop the bar. Otherwise, what I do is lower it to about knee height and then kind of let the bar fall to the ground while still holding on and then do my next rep.

      Keep your form in, and you’ll be fine. 🙂

  • Kal-El

    Hey mike,
    I deadlift 275 pounds for reps. I started using lifting straps recently cos my grip slips at this weight, especially in the second and third sets. Is it okay to continue using straps or should I be working on my grip?

  • Hayden

    Michael,

    I saw someone using a barbell deadlifting but only going half way up. Instead of ending the movement standing up straight the would only raise their shoulders to their hips. Is that a safe and an effective variation of a deadlift?

  • Zak Smith

    Hey Mike,
    What do you think of deadlifts using dumbbells?

    • You can, but it’ll come to a point where it’s unlikely you’d be pulling as much weight, and likely to be clumsy to perform. If you hold them at your sides, you can essentially do a Hex or Trap Bar deadlift, though. However, this shifts the some of the emphasis to your quads.

  • Greg Holden

    Hi guys,
    Quick quest how do reach through the bar, protracting my shoulders, but not arch my back?
    Thanks

    • Hey Greg,

      Keep your back still and only move your shoulder blades. Give it a try without weight, and you’ll see what I mean. The two can be moved independently of one another.

  • sean_noonan

    Hey mike I have a quick question about my deadlift.

    I still seem to still be struggling with form and I have already lightened to 405 . Its been about 7-8 weeks since a workout Where i remember pulling 455 x 3. (my best PR was 495 x 2 at the end of my last RD which makes is weird though)

    I know still being in a deficit doesn’t help especially since I have a lot of form issues already. Im not sure If its mobility or just the setup or If lightening even more weight may not be the answer.

    I have around 2 weeks left in the RD roughly. Would you recommend just to work on form until I hit a surplus with like 315 or so and just get the setup down and work on hamstring mobility?

    I really hope I can get my strength back. Would you say for the bulk solid reps with 405 would be a good goal? I know fixing my form is definitely worth it for sure I just hope I can pull it together.

    • Hey Sean, a deficit on top of form issues definitely doesn’t help. Have you taken a deload at the appropriate time yet?

      Don’t worry. Your strength will come back.

      • sean_noonan

        My last deload was a little over 4.5 weeks ago

        I’m sure once I get in a surplus and correct my form it will come back just gotta stay consistent and keep lifting heavy. I would think it would definitely come back quicker then the first time and I couldn’t have lost all the muscle I would t think at least. And I only have a little less then 2 weeks of the RD then I’ll be at 3600 and probably add cals for the bulk.

        I know I’m not supposed to talk about MFL coaching here but I can’t wait to start and I’m sure that will really help as well.

        • Definitely! You’re going to have a good time on the program with Roger.

          • sean_noonan

            One more thing. do you think If i really dial my training I could still gain a descent amount of size?

            I really think before like during my last bulk there must have been something I was doing wrong that I don’t know. Consistency with everything I did know to do was never an issue though and I never blew anything off even pre/post workout and creatine and the tiny things so I guess thats half the battle.

            It definitely gets frustrating because it feels like you have to work harder or like your not consistent enough but Im sure it was probably some training issue. Im sure when its fixed though I’ll start growing again and I’ll be back on track with the process.

          • You can still grow more muscle over time. Don’t worry about it 🙂

  • vincent

    Hey Mike,

    Quick question. Wondering what your thoughts on rack pulls are? I’ve been reading a bunch of information on them and thinking of incorporating them into my (your) program. Not sure if they are a deadlift replacement or an add on to back day or should I not even waste time with then and stick to row and pullup variations?

    • Hey Vincent! Rack pulls are good, especially if you want to improve your deadlift lockout, but they’re not a deadlift replacement, and I’d rather focus on rows and pull-ups in general. You could tack them on to the end of back day, though, if you really want to incorporate them.

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