Q: I’m having problems deadlifting. I start the lift okay, but the movement stalls right above the knee. Are partial-range deadlifts in a power rack the way to go?
A: Partial deadlifts in a power rack are one way to go, yes. Another way to go is with the high deadlift. This exercise was made popular by Bill “Peanuts” West, whose garage was the original Westside Barbell Club. He got the nickname “Peanuts” because he once used a diet that involved eating, every day, one pound of raw peanuts, six spoonfuls of raw peanut oil and a half cup of peanut butter. Bill was the 1966 Senior National Powerlifting Champion in the 198-pound class and could squat 600-plus pounds.
One problem with performing heavy partial deadlifts in a power rack is that they can be pretty harsh on the barbell. In an effort to save their wrists when they do it, powerlifters often release their grip at the finish position. If a low-quality barbell is used, dropping extremely heavy weights onto the safety catches can often cause the barbell to bend. With a high deadlift the barbell is placed on blocks so that it’s positioned just below the kneecaps. Releasing the weight onto blocks, especially if bumper plates are used, will go a long way toward prolonging the life of your barbells and preserving the health of your wrists.
Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit www.CharlesPoliquin.com. IM