So the deadlift, from a full-body functional standpoint, is probably the most important exercise humans can do. It involves some of the most difficult muscles to engage with weights. A lot of people don’t do the deadlift because there are a lot of injuries associated with it. But with X3, because of variable resistance, the chances of injuries are greatly diminished.
I highly recommend taking this exercise seriously, and you can develop an incredibly strong back, even if it’s compromised.
I have two hemorrhaged discs from rugby when I was in university. So, I don’t feel any pain in my back whatsoever. I have the same feeling in my back that I did when I was a 13-year-old kid. Nothing. And even with those chronic injuries, now the injuries are still there, I can’t feel them because I’ve built so much muscle in my back to support my spine.
That’s what I want for you. Now, a couple of keys to this. First, don’t use straps. Your grip strength is a limit on what you can do in your deadlift. Leave it that way. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. So when you use straps, you get sort of a supernatural loading on your back that you couldn’t get with just your grip. That, by definition, is a problem because the way we have evolved for tens of thousands of years, depending on how you look at it with pre-homosapien, maybe millions of years of evolution, brought us to this point.
Your grip is a limit to what you can place on your back. And it’s a limit for a reason.
If you want to be able to grip it better, do the movement without straps, and you’ll build your grip strength. If you use straps, you build up your back, and you ignore your grip strength which makes the problem even worse.
Now, if you have like an injured hand or you can’t close your hand correctly, that’s a completely different story. But for all those who are fully ambulatory and have use of their hands, forget the straps. Now, we don’t recommend the switch grip or the Olympic grip, as some call it. We do a double overhand because when it gets too heavy, you can just put the bar down. Whereas in a lift, you may drop the bar when you’re lifting regular weights. So we don’t have the same limitations.
The scapula are in two different positions when you have an Olympic grip, and that ultimately gives you uneven biomechanics. We’d rather you have both hands pronated. So you grab on the bar like this and get equal loading on both scapula.
To set up for the deadlift, put the doubled band on the ground and the ground plate on top of it, aligning the middle of the ground plate with the middle of the band. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, with the band aligned with the middle of the foot.
Once you step on the platform, make sure your toes are at the edge or the front of the plate so that your center of gravity becomes the middle of the plate. As you begin to move, make sure your back is straight, not curved in either direction, but straight from the base of the neck to the pelvis.
At no point in this exercise should there be any slack in the band. So, we still need to keep constant tension through each and all of the repetitions. Keep in mind you’re not pulling the bar from the ground but from just below the knee. So at the bottom position, you want to keep a little bit of tension, and then before you lose tension, you reverse direction and start the next repetition.
Many who are doing a standard weightlifting deadlift try and get by the weaker range of motions very quickly. Sometimes when there’s a rubberized floor, they’ll bounce the weight off the ground and try and get it moving again via momentum. Now, when you’re using variable resistance, there’s no momentum. Zero. You can forget about that.
The abrupt movements add to the risk. So, it may be better to pick a lighter band and go slowly through that weaker range of motion. And you’re not trying to bypass any part of the movement because that’s gonna keep you safest. That’s going to ensure you’re firing the right muscles in the right order. And it’ll keep you progressing at the fastest rate with your X3 use and building muscle as quickly as possible.
You can see that Sarah is standing up to propel the bar upward. This is the movement, but she isn’t pulling with her arms or really her lower back, she’s hinging at the hips and driving the bar up with her glutes. Stabilizing muscles are firing all over the body. The hamstrings, the Quadratus muscles, even muscles in your neck … different places in your back, all stabilization firing.
We talked about earlier how beneficial that is. You also wanna make sure that the supporting muscles of the neck, the trapezius muscles, are always engaged in controlling the shoulders so they don’t slump forward because once they do, the back will start rounding. You do not want to do that. That is poor form, and that could cause an injury. You also do not lock out the knees at the top.
Remember, we still need to keep constant tension. You want to maintain this through the entire movement.
Traditional deadlifts with weights carry a lot of associated injury or risk of injury. These injuries typically occur at the bottom of the movement, sort of where your back is most bent, or you’re most hinged at the waist, of course, because of the variable resistance you’re using a lower weight in this position.
And you’re only fatiguing in this position when you’ve already fatigued the other ranges of motion with a higher level of force.
The chances of injury with X3 are very low, and this exercise is one of the most important. So, you’re getting the best of both worlds when doing the X3 deadlift. Don’t ignore the diminishing range with this. Sometimes when people go to fatigue with full repetitions, it’s easy to just put the bar down at the end of that movement. And this is true of all movements, but it’s harder with the deadlift because more musculature throughout your entire body is being used.
You’ve got to stay motivated. You’ve got to truly go to fatigue in all ranges of emotion. It’s very hard to do. I understand why people quit early, but I’m telling you, see it through to the end because that’s the part that counts the most.