Doing The Jefferson Deadlift - AnabolicMinds.com
    • Doing The Jefferson Deadlift



      by Dean Somerset T-Nation

      Here's what you need to know...

      The Jefferson deadlift covers a lot of areas for just one exercise, some of which are missing in people's movement habits.

      There's no one ideal way to the lift so experiment and find the best leverage for your body.

      Simply straddle the bar, grab it under your shoulders, and stand up. Try it with the left leg forward, the right leg forward, different grips, and see what works best for you.

      The Jefferson deadlift also known simply as the Jefferson lift is a classic strongman movement that for whatever reason has gone the way of the 8 track cassette and hair metal. That's a low-down dirty shame because the Jefferson deadlift is great for strength, power, core stability, and hip durability. It should be a staple in any serious strength athlete's routine.

      The movement is a great way to encourage people to get their knees open so they can take a wider stance in their squats while building some rotational range of motion. It also coaxes them outside of a pure saggital plane movement pattern that can become dominant if not addressed.

      Dave Dellanave holds the world record in the Jefferson deadlift and it's one of the main lifts he prescribes to trainees. Here's Dave setting the world record for a 605-pound Jefferson lift at a bodyweight of 202 pounds:


      The Jefferson deadlift is really useful because it hits a lot of training areas, some of which are sorely missing in most lifters' movement habits. "You get asymmetry, rotation, hip hinging, and heavy loading all in one movement," says Dave. "The asymmetrical position seems to be especially helpful for people who struggle with pain or movement issues in more traditional or symmetrical deadlifts.

      "The lift also tends to be self-correcting in that there's no one ideal way to do it, so people are free to find the best leverage that works for their body, provided they're not doing something egregiously dangerous and outside their limits. Interestingly, I've seen a not-insignificant number of people for whom doing only one side of the Jefferson works out better."

      The biomechanics of the lift are straightforward. Your center of gravity is vertical over the load and your feet straddle the bar to provide a large base of support through which to generate force.

      In a conventional deadlift, you have the majority of the weight behind the bar, thus the base of support is relatively small compared to the Jefferson. The sumo stance has a wider base, but again the majority of weight is behind the bar at set up, which means leaning and increasing shear forces on the low back.

      If you use a Jefferson stance, though, you can increase the vertical position of the spine and thus allow more compressive forces and fewer shear forces, making it an easier exercise for guys with jacked-up low backs.

      If you want to increase the amount of weight you lift, having your center of gravity vertical over the load along with a larger base of support equates to better leverage, and that translates to bigger lifts. I tried it out yesterday, cold and still in my work uniform, just to see what would happen with heavier loading.


      I started with 225 and then did 315, each for 3 reps, using a double-overhand grip. I did one rep at 405, but my grip failed when I got to about mid-thigh. I switched to a mixed-grip and 405 felt pretty easy, considering my lifetime max for a conventional pull is 455. As far as my effort, I'd say I hit about a 7 out of 10.

      I'm sure I could do some serious weight, given that there was no strain on my low back and it felt relatively strong. Maybe 500 pounds isn't far off?


      How to Do It
      The cool thing about a Jefferson deadlift is everyone will have a slightly different way of approaching it. The basics are as follows:

      1. Straddle the bar
      2. Grab the bar
      3. Stand up with the bar

      More specifically:

       Make sure your spine remains relatively linear so you aren't rounding or seriously deviating away from a neutral position.

       When you start pulling, make sure your knees don't collapse towards the midline in a valgus party you sure don't want to be invited to.

       Don't lock out your knees before your hips get through the movement; otherwise you'll be doing a really awkward good morning with nothing but your hips.

       Take a grip that's vertical under your shoulders and not wider.

      Above all, play with it. Try the Jefferson deadlift with the left leg forward, the right leg forward, different grips, and see what works best for you.

      Work with higher reps, lower reps, heavy weight, lighter weight, and everything in between to achieve the full benefits. The Jefferson deadlift allows for many small alterations that will introduce significant variety to your workouts.

      Source: http://www.t-nation.com/training/how...erson-deadlift
      Comments 27 Comments
      1. Piston Honda's Avatar
        Piston Honda -
        One of my favorites, and I swear I'm the only one at my gym who does them.
      1. TheMovement's Avatar
        TheMovement -
        Me to, Its literally top 10 for me
      1. McCrew530's Avatar
        McCrew530 -
        I may have to work this in on my next leg day to try it out
      1. JD261985's Avatar
        JD261985 -
        Never heard if it til now. Looks like a sweet lift
      1. rphash49's Avatar
        rphash49 -
        I will have to try this. Looks awkward
      1. Piston Honda's Avatar
        Piston Honda -
        Originally Posted by rphash49 View Post
        I will have to try this. Looks awkward
        The bar should be transverse between your legs, feet either side by side or slightly staggered. Keep arms shoulder width. You'll have one arm reaching in front and one behind the bar. Probably won't have to bend as low as a regular deadlift. Try three reps then switch positions.
      1. Piston Honda's Avatar
        Piston Honda -
        Alternate your grip. Underhand grip will be in front of your body and inside your knee.
      1. kisaj's Avatar
        kisaj -
        Awesome, awesome article. Like mentioned above, I am the only one that ever does these and I don't work them in enough always falling back on traditional DL and sumo.
      1. rphash49's Avatar
        rphash49 -
        Originally Posted by Piston Honda View Post
        Alternate your grip. Underhand grip will be in front of your body and inside your knee.
        Might be a dumb question but What about the movement? What should that look like?
      1. Piston Honda's Avatar
        Piston Honda -
        Originally Posted by rphash49 View Post
        Might be a dumb question but What about the movement? What should that look like?
        Pick it up, put it down. Can be a bit more upright than a deadlift motion
      1. kisaj's Avatar
        kisaj -
        There are great tutorials on Google, but the best part about it is that it is hard to do wrong.
      1. tcslick's Avatar
        tcslick -
        This is my first time seeing this lift. I'm going to give it a try for sure on this weeks leg day.
      1. Adrena1ine's Avatar
        Adrena1ine -
        Originally Posted by McCrew530 View Post
        I may have to work this in on my next leg day to try it out
        I see very little benefit from this exercise. It looks like such an akward movement.
      1. kisaj's Avatar
        kisaj -
        How can you make a comment like that when you obviously don't know about it?
      1. w8lifter's Avatar
        w8lifter -
        Who's freakin huge legs are those in the pic? That you
        Ronnie?
      1. Piston Honda's Avatar
        Piston Honda -
        Originally Posted by Adrena1ine View Post
        I see very little benefit from this exercise. It looks like such an akward movement.
        When your legs grow and your heart rate gets jacked up from reps and you sweat early on in your set, you will know the benefits
      1. Piston Honda's Avatar
        Piston Honda -
        I prefer it over standard deadlift. You're not behind the bar and possibly straining your back, the bar is in line with your body.
      1. rpm57's Avatar
        rpm57 -
        Kai green has an awesome video on this lift... Can't seem to find it though.
      1. Adrena1ine's Avatar
        Adrena1ine -
        Originally Posted by kisaj View Post
        How can you make a comment like that when you obviously don't know about it?
        I just read the article... I now know about it. Nothing normal deadlifts and squats cant accomplish with half the chance of an injury. If this is your exercise hats off to you.
      1. kisaj's Avatar
        kisaj -
        LOL, ok.

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