Have you ever had a coach or trainer just shout out, “engage your lats” or “squeeze your back,” with little to no results coming from those cues? Most athletes have no clue how to do it, let alone know what a “lat” is, so it can easily end in failure. This can cause some sub-par deadlift numbers.
These two exercises can make things easier. By using a band against a dowel and with a barbell, you have no choice but to engage your upper back. Otherwise, you will be pulled forward and likely fall flat on your face.
Learning how to develop and keep tension is one of the hardest things to nail down on the Deadlift, but once you figure it out, you’ll see your numbers go up. That’s because the back brings together the entire posterior chain, from your upper back all the way to your glutes, hamstrings and lower legs. Adding another link in the chain makes you that much stronger.
You can insert these drills in a few different places in your workout. Your best bet, however, is to do this as a precursor to deadlifting. This will help to ingrain the cue physically and mentally before you take a heavy set.
Click ahead to get full video of the two deadlift hacks to drive your numbers up and increase you back tension.