The deadlift is among the most mythical exercises in the gym. Some do it and love it while others prefer to hold hands with Edward Scissorhands instead of deadlifting.
Once you are an advanced athlete, a heavy deadlift attempt may take two weeks or more to recover from. The main decisive factor when it comes to deadlifting performance is your structure. Some people are built to deadlift, others aren’t.
People Who Are Genetically Gifted Deadlifters
One of the most important parts of a successful deadlifter is arm length. If you have long arms, consider the deadlift your lift. Long arms shorten the movement and allow you to start in a more upright position.
As a result, there’s less stress on the lower back and the lifter can move more weight. When people with really long arms deadlift, the movement is similar to a rack pull rather than a standard deadlift.
Below you can see one of the deadlift routines used by Lamar Gant. An average person will have a hard time surviving this.
Lamar Gant’s 8/5/3
Week 1: 5 sets of 8 with 70% 1RM
Week 2: 5 sets of 8 with 73% 1RM
Week 3: 5 sets of 8 with 76% 1RM
Week 4: 5 sets of 8 with 78% 1RM
Week 5: 5 sets of 5 with 82% 1RM
Week 6: 5 sets of 5 with 84% 1RM
Week 7: 5 sets of 5 with 86% 1RM
Week 8: 5 sets of 5 with 87% 1RM
Week 9: 5 sets of 3 with 92% 1RM
Week 10: 5 sets of 3 with 94% 1RM
Week 11: 5 sets of 3 with 96% 1RM
Week 12: 5 sets of 3 with 98% 1RM
Similar deadlift volume may look like a piece of cake when your deadlift is 220lbs, but once you get over 2.5 times bodyweight (or even less), it would be close to impossible to complete the above without form deterioration of the highest order or death.
Having a Strong Spine Helps Too
In the image below, you can see Vince Anello performing the so-called rounded back deadlift which is something that the noobs are not allowed to do even in their dreams.
Despite common sense and the experts’ opinions, people like Anello and Bob Peoples did not suffer insane injuries from deadlifting in a similar fashion.
The whole point of using a rounded back is to shorten the movement and improve your levers. (A rounded back makes your arms “longer” and reduces the stress on the hips.)
However, there are plenty of legendary deadlifters who did not use the rounded back style, at least not to that degree. Ed Coan is one example. It’s not recommended to mess with this style if you don’t have the needed experience.
Truth be told, most people should not deadlift like that even if their spines can take it. Why? Because it looks ridiculously ugly. I’ve done it in the past and didn’t get injured. If anything my spinal erectors got thicker because you have to “unround” your back to finish the lift – only the erectors can do. Nonetheless, I tried to limit all rounding because the lift just looks grotesque.
Having Long Fingers Is A Gift From God
Many deadlifters are limited by their grip which depends heavily on finger length. One example would be Kirk Karwoski whose short fingers made it really hard to hold on to the barbell during deadlifts. The guys with the best deadlifts often have long fingers and a strong grip. If you can’t hold on to it, it does not matter how strong your back is. A popular example of a deadlifter with really long fingers would be Ed Coan who is known for his deadlift and squat records.
Guys Who Are Not Built To Deadlift
When your arms are really short, you have to bend over a lot to get into a proper starting position. Moreover, the range of motion is insane compared to what the dudes with long arms have to deal with. In general, if the bar crushes your genitalia at the top position, the deadlift is not your lift. The bench is.
Whenever you see a skinny buck deadlifting heavy weights, observe his structure. Most of the time, the lifter will have really long arms and a somewhat lanky build.
A good example would be Tom Martin who can be seen in the video below. He is not really skinny according to normal people’s standards, but he appears thinner compared to other lifters.
Notice that the movement is quite short thanks to the length of his arms.
Happy deadlifting….or bench pressing…if you have T-rex arms.