Raising the Dead(lift)

Posted on April 28 2019

Raising the Dead(lift)

There’s little doubt that the Deadlift is one of the greatest full body strength builders of all time, particularly for the Tactical Athlete. Whether we like it or not, the most critical muscle groups necessary for humping a pack, sprinting, carrying/wearing 50, 60, 70lbs plus of gear or more, are in your back, hips and hamstrings. This is where the Deadlift reigns supreme. 

Additionally, study’s have shown that the most effective performers in the military, law enforcement and fire fighting communities have a ridiculously strong grip. What better way to develop your grip than by pulling a bar off the floor that weighs twice or even three times as much as you. 


How to get the most out of your deadlift:

Our downloadable PDF strength programs contain tutorials for the Deadlift. So without going into the proper mechanics and form of the deadlift, there are a few things you can do to maximize what you get out of the lift as a Tactical Athlete.

  • Dead-stop Deadlifts. When performing multiple reps of deadlifts, it’s easy to bounce the bar off the floor while rep’ing it out. If you’re a crossfitter, great. But if strength is your goal and there’s some real weight on the bar, let the bar come to a full-stop between reps and reset. Not only will you ensure proper form on each rep preventing injury, but you’ll get the full effect of the weight on every single rep. Believe it or not, the bounce, however minimal, does provide some advantage in completing additional reps, form be damned. Instead, keep your eyes on the goal and drop your ego. Do it right.
  • Use a Double-Overhand Grip for as long as possible. There are several grips that aid in the Deadlift but you want to choose the most natural grip for as long as possible. Just reach down and grab the bar with both palms in. The bar will roll and stress your grip so when you absolutely can’t hang on anymore or when you start getting “soft knees” (leaning back and resting the bar on your thighs at extension), then change to the switch grip or hook grip.
Deadlift Straps

*The Strap Controversy. We sell straps at Sheepdog Strong and some ask why. Well frankly, the hook grip is painful on your thumbs and the switch grip can result in a bicep tear if you pull with a slight bend in your arms. Also, some with shoulder issues complain of pain with the switch grip, a common refrain in the Tactical Community. And even if there isn’t pain, there comes a point where you are leaving back and leg development on the table without assisting those little muscles in your hands. So at a certain point, we encourage wearing straps. After all, our primary reason for performing the deadlift is not to build grip strength but to build full body strength. So don’t cut the rest of your body short because you can’t hold on anymore. 

  • Keep your back tight throughout the lift. This lift absolutely is meant in large part to build your traps and back, making you look like the monster you are, so don’t round out your back during the pull. Of course this also helps in preventing spinal injury. When you’re setting up, just before the lift, “tuck your should blades into your back pocket,” flex your lats and keep it tight through lock-out.


There’s nothing more animalistic than walking up to a heavy, steel bar and ripping it off the floor. From the standpoint of the Tactical Athlete, there’s few lifts, if any at all, that can outperform the Deadlift in building necessary muscle to make you effective at your job. So stop curling in the squat rack, tap into your animal side and rip something heavy off the platform.


Founder/Sheepdog Strong




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