Deadlift Like A Fighter

Deadlifting is one of the best strength exercises for any fighter serious about improving their athletic performance or for a fitness enthusiast wanting the look of a powerful fighter.  Deadlifts described in the simplest manner involve you lifting a heavy object from the ground up, using most the muscle groups in your body.  This exercise is of particular importance for fighters because it builds three important categories that are crucial for success in your sport: your strength levels, ability to synchronize your kinetic chain, and body armor.

Improving Strength Levels: whereas weight lifting was once a taboo for fighters, more and more are incorporating it into their training routines.  The reason being that power is a mix of strength and speed, so in order to improve your power you must first increase your strength.  In terms of exercises to build strength, the deadlift is one of the best because it’s a compound movement that incorporates muscles throughout your body and for most people it’s the exercise where they’re able to lift the most amount of total weight.

Kinetic Chain Synchronization: if you’ve ever seen a fight and wondered why a certain athlete may appear to be very strong but just doesn’t seem to have that knockout power, a very common issue is that they aren’t linking their kinetic chain properly, resulting in a less powerful punch.  Somewhere along their chain they aren’t transferring force properly resulting in a “power leak” causing a weaker punch. Deadlifting is a great way to get a good feel on this biomechanical principles because the lift involves developing initial power from your legs that’ll transfer through your hips/core into your upper body, the same principles necessary for delivering a powerful punch.

Build Body Armor: deadlifts strengthen important muscle groups that’ll reduce your chances of injury.  Deadlifting is a great way to make your trapezius muscles grow (these are like nature’s shoulder pads) this is of great importance for fighters since unlike other contact sports the amount of protective equipment you wear is minimal.  Also the hamstrings are one of the most commonly injured muscle groups in sports and deadlifts are great for strengthening them.


Deadlift Tips

-Stand with feet about hip width apart, toes slightly pointed outwards and your shins about 1” away from the bar

-Grab the bar with a grip that’s shoulder width apart & keep your elbows locked

-Keep a neutral spine and open your chest up (imagine someone is trying to read what it says on your shirt)

-Setup your hips a little higher than parallel (you’re not trying to squat the weight up or lift with your back, the goal is to do a hip hinge)

-When it’s time to lift grab the bar tightly (listen for a clink) and imagine you’re pushing the floor away as you try to stand up tall



3 sets of 8 deadlifts @ 70% 1 RM – 2 or 3 x a week (take at least one day of rest between strength training workouts)

Erick Avila
About the Author:

Erick Avila. Erick Avila is a strength & conditioning coach/nutritionist. He works with top-ranked professional boxers and athletes. He specializes in areas ranging from boxing-specific physical preparation and hormone optimization to general weight loss. Erick's training methods have been featured on various prominent fitness magazines and websites.