How to optimize your exercise selection from the gang of nine - Part 5

In the parallel-grip deadlift there are advantages relative to the squat:


The parallel-grip deadlift is less technically challenging than the squat.


The bar is held beneath the body rather than precariously near the top of the spine as in the squat, and thus there's no bar bearing down on you.


No squat stands, power rack, or safety bars are needed for the parallel-grip deadlift.


It's easier to dump a failed parallel-grip deadlift than a failed squat.


Spotters aren't needed for the parallel-grip deadlift.


The parallel-grip deadlift is easily done from a dead stop at the bottom position.

The parallel-grip deadlift is tailor-made for many trainees who don't squat well. The parallel-grip bar will, however, benefit any type of trainee. Encourage the management of where you train to get a parallel-grip deadlift bar. It's not expensive. It should be a required piece of equipment for all gyms. It's more valuable and less costly than many pieces of equipment that most gyms consider essential, but which are only marginally useful at best.

Generally speaking, the parallel-grip deadlift carries a lower level of risk than the squat because the former is technically simpler. That's not to say the parallel-grip deadlift is inherently safe, and the squat is inherently dangerous.

It's easy to injure yourself in the parallel-grip deadlift if you don't use correct technique, just as it's easy to injure yourself with any incorrectly performed exercise. Correct technique in the parallel-grip deadlift includes keeping a naturally concave lower spine at all times, minimizing forward travel of the knees, and avoiding extremes of torso positioning — neither leaning forward greatly, nor exaggeratedly upright. Perform the parallel-grip deadlift correctly, or not at all. See Chapter 12


How much lower-back stress the parallel-grip deadlift provides varies according to the degree of forward lean, which is related to body structure, stance, and technique. If you parallel-grip deadlift with substantial knee flexion, hands never forward of your legs or thighs, and only a little forward lean, the exercise would stress your quadriceps more, and your lower back, upper back, and hamstrings proportionately less than if you were to parallel-grip deadlift with less knee flexion, hands forward of your legs or thighs, and substantial forward lean. But parallel-grip deadlifting with exaggerated forward lean, and reduced knee flexion, isn't the form I recommend.

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