Precision Pulling

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Deadlift or Die!

If I hear one more geek personal trainer or “fitness enthusiast” say that he doesn’t perform deadlifts because he doesn’t want to hurt his back, my next set of articles may be coming from behind bars. I just can’t stand to hear this crap anymore!

The truth is that pulling, like squatting, is hard work! If you aren’t into getting bigger, stronger or making your time in the gym more worthwhile, read no further because this article isn’t for you. However, if you aren’t afraid of what a little sweat equity can do for your strength and physique, please read on and see what “precision pulling” can do for you!

When it comes down to it, the only lifts that use more muscles than deadlifting are the snatch and the clean-and-jerk. I love the Olympic lifts, but to be honest a lot of people don’t have the time or resources to learn them and enjoy all their benefits. Therefore, deadlifting (or pulling as I’ll refer to it from here on out) is an excellent choice for putting slabs of muscle on your frame and making you stronger from head to toe.

In short, if you ain’t pulling, you ain’t really working out!

The Top 9 Keys to Powerful Pulling

Below are some of the specific keys to pulling heavy weights. There may be some points I’ve omitted for the sake of brevity, but following these key points can and will take your pulling power to the next level!

The Perfect Pull

Now that we’ve discussed the key points when it comes to pulling, let’s put it all together to what amounts to a thing of beauty: bar-bending weights and perfect technique to boot!

Before you even approach the bar, get your mind right and your body ready to go. Use a psych-up when appropriate. If you’re just training in the gym I wouldn’t tap into my nervous system too much as it expends a lot of nervous energy, but if you’re going for a PR it’ll definitely up your arousal level and get you primed for some heavy iron. Run through any points you specifically need to focus on with regards to technique as well.

When you approach the bar, work to get the heels as close as possible and underneath the bar. Once you’re comfortable, think of “screwing” the heels into the ground; this will give you a stable base from which to pull. Your shins should be close or touching the bar gently.

Now grab the bar with a comfortable width and squeeze as hard as possible with your hands while taking the slack out of your arms. Some people take a breath before they ever go down, but this doesn’t always work because you end up holding your breath too long before you’re even set up.

Once you have your feet locked in with the weight on the heels, you need to set up the upper body. The slack should be out of your arms, so while you’re still getting ready, take a big breath and get your entire core area tight. From this point, work to find that perfect spot where your hips are high but your chest is up and your low back is arched. You may have to fight to find this position, but it’ll be worth it. If you don’t, your chest will either be caved over and you won’t use your legs, or your hips will be too low and you end up reverse squatting the weight. Once you find this perfect spot, you’re set up and ready to pull!

Again, you have to think of an explosion coming from your core. You need to simultaneously drive your heels through the floor while pulling back with your upper back and traps. This will not only ensure maximum usage of your low body muscles, but also keep the bar in tight to the body. Keep the bar in tight and don’t forget to keep pulling! The bar may slow down or even stop for a second, but nobody ever said this would be easy. Keep pulling, lock out the knees, hips and shoulders at the same time, and revel in what has just occurred: precision pulling!


Pulling is a total body lift that’ll pack the muscle on your frame and pounds on your total. Don’t be the average gym-going geek who’s afraid to deadlift simply because your buddy told you he “tweaked his back doing those things before.”

Remember that the people who get hurt pulling are also the ones whose egos are bigger than their physiques. In the words of the infamous Louie Simmons, “Most exercises that are totally safe are also totally useless!” Until next time, find out what some precision pulling can do for you!


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