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2 Save (Yet Advanced) Deadlift Options For Building Muscle Mass

By Jeff Anderson Contributor
Updated: July 03, 2008
Deadlifts are thought of by many as the Grand Poo-Bah of all exercises. Along with Elvis, they share the title of "The King", and it's a classic when it comes to mass building!

Unfortunately, the deadlift has gotten an undeserved bad rap as lifters have come to believe it causes back injuries and lead to thick waists. Well, it's true that the deadlift HAS caused many a blown disc (mine included!), but when done properly, the deadlift is no more risky than any other exercise.

The problem is...most guys are using horrible form just when they're doing simple exercises like barbell curls! So watching non-educated lifters go for a barbell deadlift, or worse...the STIFF LEGGED deadlift...well, it just makes my L2 and L3 vertebrae cringe with fear! (If you know what that means, then you've probably tried an incorrect deadlift at some point in your life as well, eh? ;-)

But don't worry...there is hope for you to use the power of the deadlift effectively to build mass without having to make your chiropractor any richer than he already is.

Here are 2 options that you AND your back are gonna love...but you're legs are gonna HATE!


By using dumbbells instead of a barbell, you eliminate the unsafe "lean" forward that makes traditional deadlifts so tricky.

You simply hold two dumbbells (go heavy!) on each side of your body, letting them hang naturally at your sides with your arms straight.

Now, keeping your head erect and your back as straight as possible, bend your knees until your upper legs are at least parallel with the floor. To finish the movement, push through the heels of your feet, raising your body until your legs are almost locked out, but do NOT lock out your knees! This will keep the tension on your legs where it needs to be.
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Knock out 8-15 reps with a controlled movement.


This is one of my favorites that REALLY lets me go for power!

For this exercise, you'll look around your gym for a machine that is meant to be used for "seated shoulder shrugs". (It has an adjustable seat with a handle on the bottom at each side connected to the bar where you would place the weight plates. If you can't find it, ask an attendant at the gym to guide you in.)

Now, either remove the seat or adjust it all the way won't be using it!

However you will be using the backrest as your guide as you bend down and grasp the bars at the bottom (same placement as you did with the dumbbells) and lift the weight up almost to full extension. Keep a slow 4-count descent but don't let the bars reach the point where they're resting again. Keep the tension on your legs and do 8-15 reps (or until you start to see your quadriceps start to burst through your skin).

Whatever style you prefer, don't shy away from deadlifts. The classics are classics for a reason. You just can't go wrong with them.
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