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How to optimize your exercise selection from the gang of nine - Part 3

Similar comments can be made for the deadlift.

Most trainees, however, have average leverages, and average potential for muscle growth.

It may be that any difficulty you have with a particular exercise is related to physical anomalies or soft-tissue scarring, which are correctable or at least can be minimized, with the appropriate, treatment. Follow up on the recommendations given in Chapter 6. The content of that chapter is of tremendous importance. The right treatment can produce wonders.

The parallel-grip deadlift

This is an excellent substitute for the squat, an outstanding exercise in its own right, and potentially one of the most effective exercises.

For a number of years, the parallel-grip deadlift was called the trap-bar deadlift, because the trap bar was the device often used for this form of deadlifting. The rhombus-shaped trap bar was developed by Al Gerard, in a successful effort to enable him to deadlift without the back problems he was experiencing from the straight-bar deadlift. Over recent years, the shrug bar has provided a variation on the trap bar that permits more foot room because of the hexagonal shape of the shrug bar. Furthermore, there are other ways of performing the parallel-grip deadlift — rectangular and square bars, some specially bent bars that don't enclose the trainee, and even a Hammer Strength machine. And a pair of dumbbells can mimic a trap bar or shrug bar, if they are held at the sides of the thighs using a parallel grip.

The trap-bar deadlift isn't an adequate name, because a number of bars and devices can be used to produce the same movement. A general-purpose name was needed, to prevent confusion and to accommodate all the involved bars and devices. The parallel-grip deadlift reflects the deadlift-like movement and the parallel grip that the gripping sites of the trap bar, shrug bar, and other related bars and devices permit.

The dumbbell deadlift has been around longer than the trap bar and other parallel-grip devices; therefore, the trap bar and other devices are simulations of the dumbbells, for the purposes of deadlifting and shrugging. Eventually, for many male trainees, large dumbbells will be required for the parallel-grip dumbbell deadlift, and most gyms don't have such dumbbells.

Large dumbbells are also unwieldy to use, and even small 'bells can get in the way of the legs and thighs. Dumbbells may limit stance width and flare more than the one-piece bars do, and thus hamper optimum technique. Furthermore, dumbbells, because of the smaller circumference of their plates relative to the full-size barbell plates used on a parallel-grip bar, produce an increased range of motion that will produce dangerous rounding of the lower back for most trainees.

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