60 Second Deadlift Tip: Squeeze the Orange

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I often tell people that what “connects” you to the barbell during the deadlift isn’t your hands.

Rather, it’s your lats.

Having the ability to engage them and firing on all cylinders during the set-up and execution has profound ramifications on deadlift technique and performance.

The thing is: For some trainees, asking him or her to “turn on your lats” is akin to understanding Klingon or, I don’t know, being able to perform long division.

What are “lats?”

How in the heck do you turn them on?

Squeeze the Orange

External cuing for the win!

This is one of my all-time favorite cues, and one I use often because it accomplishes a lot when it comes to cleaning up deadlift technique:

  • It promotes more full-body tension.
  • It promotes more posterior tilt of scapulae, providing a smidge more of a biomechanical advantage. Hey, every little bit helps!
  • It helps to engage the lats to higher degree, which aids in upper back tension and less chance of rounding.
  • It evidently does NOT help in preventing me from being awkward AF at the end of this video.

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