An Unconventional Way to Improve Your Deadlift






Today I have a guest post from fellow CSP Coach Miguel Aragoncillo. Check it out!


Deadlifting has become a very fun and enjoyable experience for me. Chalk it up to my height that allows me to personally excel with the deadlift, but I find helping others understand what it means to deadlift to be extremely rewarding.


This article will go over one item that can help improve the sumo deadlift – Zercher Giant Cambered Bar (GCB) Deadlifts.



Note: This specific lift can be fairly uncomfortable due to the “strange” grip position that your forearm and bicep must make. For those with bicep or elbow issues, steer clear of this specific lift.


Analyzing the Zercher GCB Deadlift

You can lose position when deadlifting for various reasons: feet might not be screwed into the ground, there can be collapse at the knees due to a lack of hamstring and glute tightness during the setup, or the upper body can begin to round, the list can go on and on.


If the upper body begins to round more often than necessary, utilizing this lift may be beneficial for you.


This exercise teaches motor control for the body to stay upright, largely since the upper portion of the barbell is higher up, as opposed to down low where the bar originally begins during a sumo or conventional deadlift.

Furthermore, where the bar is held changes the leverages of the lift asking your body to essentially work harder to NOT ROUND.

Remember, this is an accessory lift, so don’t fully replace the Sumo with this.


GCB Deadlift


Interestingly enough, this can offer full replacement in one instance: if you have a hand or finger injury that is preventing you from holding anything during deadlifts, this might be a great variation to try since you are using the muscles that comprise the crux of your elbows to perform this movement.



Cuing for the Zercher GCB Deadlift


Just like any deadlift, the purpose here is to improve positioning of the upper body relative to the lower body.


  1. When I cue this exercise, I first make sure that I have adequately braced the abdominals.


  1. Next, I pull on the barbell, making sure that my torso is behind the bar before initiating the deadlift.


  1. If this goes according to plan, my upper body will have nowhere to go but up – and I will only have the capacity to push with my legs.


This is of utmost importance, because if I normally pull my deadlifts with my upper body, this will be a slightly strange sensation because my legs are doing all of the heavy lifting (pun intended).


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Miguel Aragoncillo (@MiggsyBogues) is a strength and conditioning coach at the Hudson, MA location of Cressey Sports Performance. More of his writing can be found at www.MiguelAragoncillo.com.

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