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How To Dead Lift For BJJ
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How To Dead Lift For BJJ

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It’s been said time and time again that strength does not matter in Jiu Jitsu, technique is the only the thing that matters.  Is that accurate? What are your thoughts? Tom DeBlass has said in many of his videos, strength does in fact matter. Does that mean you can bicep curl your way out of an arm bar, not hardly… 

The reality is that when two opponent’s that are similarly matched in skill set and technique ability, strength can be and likely will be the differentiator.  Now, before you go telling your instructor you read on Fanatics that you need to lift so you are skipping class to hit up the local gym understand that strength training is supposed to supplement you Jiu Jitsu training, meaning add to, in addition to, however you want to say it, but in no way should it replace that training.  Personally, I prefer to do strength training early in the morning when there are no Jiu Jitsu classes going on. Do your whenever you find the time to do it, just don’t let it take over for Jiu Jitsu, remember technique is still very important, you aren’t going to muscle your way out of someone’s submission attempt they drilled for hours and hours while you were doing preacher curls. 

So now that we can agree that strength does matter, and that you should incorporate some sort of strength training program into your training schedule, let’s look at how to do a proper deadlift, one of the best lifts you can do to build real strength.

When deadlifting you want your feet to be hip width apart with hands a little wider than should width which should put your arms on the outside of your legs.  As far as grip you can use either a standard overhand grip or you can opt for an alternating grip which is one hand over hooking the bar while the other hand is under hooking the bar. 

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It’s imperative that you bring your hips down to 90 degrees in order to start the lift.  Before pulling contract your lat muscles and lift first with your legs as you stand. A common issue here is many people allow their legs to begin to straighten lifting their hips up before actually pulling the weight which is more of a stiff leg deadlift than a traditional deadlift.  Once you reach the top to finish the lift it is important to push your hips forward aligning them under your shoulders.  

Congratulations, you just completed a deadlift.  I’m guessing you want to put the weight down. When it comes to putting the weight down you have a couple of options.  Option one is the easiest, and what you will often times see Olympic and CrossFit lifters do and that’s simply drop the weight.  Now, before dropping the weight you want to make sure you have the right equipment to do that. You need to make sure you have quality bumper plates before you drop the weight, dropping steel plates can be damaging to equipment and even harmful to you.  Always check to make sure you are following the gym rules as well, some gyms require there to be a certain number of plates or certain amount of weight on the bar before they allow you to drop the weight. Typically this distributes the weight more and helps prevent damage to the bumper plates. 

The second option you have when looking to lower the weight is to follow the same process you did to lift it but in reverse, slowly lowering the weight down to the floor being careful not to arch your back on the way down. 

Let’s face it, finding time to supplement your training with a strength and conditioning program can be difficult, but very necessary.  Finding the time does not mean you have to dedicate hours a day to strength and conditioning training. It could be as simple as a few minutes after each training session, or a quick workout every morning or night. 

The next challenge after you find time in your schedule is determining what to do during that time you have allotted.  Bench press, shoulder press, curls, deadlifts, crunches, squat jumps, dead bugs, hyper extensions…. There are hundreds of exercise options, how do you know what’s best?  When you start doing research you will find dozens of sites trying to sell you on the latest and greatest plan to get you ripped and adding lean muscle. My thoughts on this are simple, while I am sure there are good programs out there from these sites, I would focus on finding someone in our sport that is doing, or has done what you are looking to do and follow their advice.  We are fortunate to have athletes like Tom DeBlass and Gordon Ryan who have experimented with the best way to build functional strength and created simple easy to follow plans so that we don’t have to worry about all the trial and error, just the results. 

Tom DeBlass compiled his diet and fitness plan into a 12 week easy to follow step by step guide titled “Ripped in 12 weeks Intermittent Fasting & Easy Bodyweight Fitness” – by Tom DeBlass.  This video guide is proven to help you shed those unwanted pounds while maintaining your strength.  With this video instructional purchase you will also get access to a private facebook group where you will be able to interact with Tom and others on a journey like yours. 

Gordon Ryan’s “Getting Swole as a Grappler” will help you learn the secrets of the most defective weight management including cuts and gains.  These are the secrets previously reserved for professional athletes only. If you look back at pictures of Gordon, he has worked his way from 163 pound skinny kid all the way up to a 232 pound monster, and then cut down to the chiseled 194 pounds that you see him at in many of his fights.  

Regardless of which plan you decide on, make sure it aligns with your grappling goals and isn’t putting you in a bad position with overworking certain muscles, or not actually building functional strength.  Find something that works for you and supplement your training when you can so that when you meet your match in technique, you have the advantage in strength.

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