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Tension on the Bar: 2/6/19

When deadlifting, too many people simply bend down, grab the bar and rip it up off the floor. That’s a big mistake.

After you’ve grabbed the bar properly, use it as a lever to pull the rest of your body into proper position. At first you will notice some slack. Pull the slack out of the bar and set your hips down to a point where you feel decent tension in your hamstrings and hips. At the same time, pull your shoulders down and back, developing tension in your lats and upper back from the armpits all the way down.

Deadlift pre-pull tension allows you to:

  • Generate more hip drive off the floor. If you develop no tension before lifting the bar and just grip it and rip it, the slack you didn’t take out will cause you to lose your hip drive and your back position and zap your potential force development and strength output. It could also lead to injury.
  • Maintain good spinal stability. When you generate pre-pull tension, you turn on a giant brace around your spine that will keep you solid, stable and safe. Without a solid brace, things can get real dangerous real fast.
  • Set your back in a proper neutral position. The last thing you want to do is lift anything with a rounded lower back. When you use the bar to help tension yourself, you can easily set your hips and low back in the proper neutral position.

Bottom line: Set up with good position and good tension. Use the bar as your lever to do so.

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