What better way to start off February than with deadlifts?
THE MOVE: Dimel Deadlift
MOVEMENT PATTERN AND MUSCLES WORKED: Hinge: posterior chain, hamstrings, glutes, and upper back.
WHY DO IT: The deadlift and all variations of it thereof are among the most important exercises you should do in the gym. Today, our move is the Dimel Deadlift, and there are many reasons why it would make a worthy addition to your workouts.
The Dimel Deadlift is primarily used as a means to improve lockout strength on a full deadlift from the floor. This is directly beneficial for lifters and trainees who are slow in the upper portion of their deadlift and have trouble finishing off their pulls. In powerlifting competitions, this could mean missed lifts.
As a side note, this is also one of the most satisfying exercises you can do, as the goal should be to lockout as aggressively as possible, and quite simply, to make the plates rattle on the barbell. This is actually a great way to develop speed in the upper portion of the deadlift. When it comes to pulling heavy, speed–and not strength–can be the deciding factor when it comes to whether or not you’ll finish the lift.
However, it’s important that the lockout comes from the proper places. And the Dimel is great for ingraining proper deadlifting technique. The reduced range of motion here helps you get it right, as the last thing you want on a deadlift is to finish by hyperextending your lower back. It’s all too common to see a deadlifter lean back at the very top of the rep, and I’m willing to bet that someone who lifted this way would be feeling it there in the days after.
A proper and powerful lockout, in which the hips are fully extended, comes from the glutes. So squeezed those babies hard. Generally speaking, a Dimel Deadlift is only ever taken down to the knees–not to the floor. This reduced range of motion allows you to focus entirely on proper technique and using your glutes to lockout fully. Furthermore, there is really little excuse not to use good form, anyway. Your torso should be in neutral spine throughout the exercise. In fact, no motion should be occurring in the torso; it’s all about the hips and the hinge pattern in this one. The Dimel makes getting this right very, very easy, and that’s why we love it.
HOW TO DO IT: For today’s move, set up a loaded barbell in a rack. Unrack the bar and walk out from the rack, setting up as if you were at the top of your conventional deadlift. Think about having your joints stacked, with your knees over your ankles, hips over your knees, and shoulders over your hands.
To initiate the exercise, think about letting the bar descend by sitting back into your hips and pushing your butt back. You should feel a slight stretch in your hamstrings, but be sure to have a little bend in your knees and keep your shins vertical. Keep your ribs down and your chest up to maintain neutral spine here.
Descend only until you reach the knee. At this point, reverse the motion and lock out as hard and as fast as you can by squeezing the glutes. Make the plates rattle. Repeat for reps.
The shorter range of motion inherent to the Dimel Deadlift makes it great for a high-rep, low-load scenario. It certainly doesn’t hurt when it comes to developing speed in the upper portion of the conventional deadlift. I’d recommend using this for 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps in the middle of a workout. Don’t be surprised at all if this move gets the upper back, lats, glutes, and hamstrings sore. Let us know what you think on Twitter or Instagram @halevylife !
by Jeremy Lau
Jeremy Lau is a Senior Staff Coach at Halevy Life.
Jeremy graduated cum laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BSc. in Biomedical Engineering and received his Master’s in Exercise Physiology at Columbia University. In addition to his academic accolades, Jeremy is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
Prior to joining the team at Halevy Life, Jeremy completed a coaching internship at Cressey Sports Performance, where he coached both amateur and professional athletes, among whom were many professional MLB baseball players.
As an athlete, Jeremy has played baseball competitively for most of his life.