Ending the Deadlift Confusion Once and For All

The deadlift is one of the most confusing exercises there is.

I know what you're thinking:

"It's the easiest fucking exercise on the planet. You bend down and pick the weight up, how could there possibly be any confusion?!"

Let me explain.

On one hand you have the camp that says you need to deadlift from the floor with a straight bar, lest you're a pussy.

And don't even think about pulling sumo style. That shit's reserved for women and weak manginas.

So conventional only. The heavier, the better.

On the other hand you have the camp that says you're gonna blow your spine right through your lower back, landing next to the leg press machine in the corner as soon as you go above two plates on the bar.

My take on that?

Disagree with both.

Yes, I believe everyone should deadlift.

But that doesn't mean performing them off the ground with a straight bar, powerlifting-style, is the optimal way for most athletes.

In fact, barring a few exceptions, I don't let my hockey players pull that way.

The injury risk to the lower back becomes too high for my liking once we enter heavy territory.

And they can beat you up pretty bad in-season.

Can't have guys complaining about their spinal erectors feeling so stiff they can barely bend down to tie their laces going into games.


Keep the deadlift pattern in your program. Just pick exercises that carry less risk and are easier to recover from.

Trap bar deads, pulls off pins or blocks, single-leg and double-leg Romanians...

All great options for hockey players to go heavy on.

For a non-confusing training program designed to drive your strength up, visit:


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Yunus Barisik

Yunus Barisik, CSCS, specializes in making hockey players strong, fast and explosive. He has trained 500+ hockey players at the junior, college and pro levels, including NHL Draft picks and World Champions. An accomplished author, Yunus has had articles published on top fitness and performance sites, including T Nation, STACK and Muscle & Strength. He also wrote Next Level Hockey Training, a comprehensive resource for ice hockey players on building athletic strength, size and power, while staying injury-free.

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