What has been on my mind a lot lately is the limiting factor in a heavy deadlift. Yes, that’s the kind of thing keeps me up at night. Not really, nothing keeps me awake. But I have given it much consideration. Between spilling words writing my deadlift book, and deciding that I wanted to push my 1RM PR up, I’ve given a lot of thought to where the deadlift breaks down. As it happens, my buddy Bret Contreras is thinking about the same things, as my phone rang this afternoon with Bret on the other end breathlessly going on about Romanian Deadlifts and hip extension torque before I could get a word in.
After that phone call, I had to go to the gym to train. I worked up to a 1RM PR of 415 and 365×5 in the barbell hip thrust, and then came up with an upper back variation that I think could be very useful. It may not be anything new, but I’ve never seen it. Before we get to the variation, I have to show you Jen’s lifetime 1RM PR of 305 she pulled today. On her birthday no less.
On to the upper back. What you’ll do is set a power rack to a pin height where you can reach the bar with your knees and hips fully locked out, and only your upper back rounded. Depending on your arm length, this will be a few inches above the knee. Leading from the upper back and shoulders, you’ll stand up to full extension and a tall chest-out posture.
Start light if you’re not accustomed to a rounded thoracic position.
Test this out and let me know how it works for you.