Deadlifting is one of the most effective and rewarding exercises you can do. It works your entire posterior chain, builds strength and muscle mass, burns calories, and improves your posture and athletic performance.
But to get the most out of your deadlifts, you need the right equipment. In this article, we’ll cover the essential and additional deadlift equipment that can help you lift more weight, prevent injuries, and enhance your technique.
Table of Contents
Importance of Proper Equipment
Deadlifting is not a complicated exercise, but it does require some basic equipment to perform it safely and effectively. The right equipment can make a huge difference in your performance, as it can:
- Support your lower back and core, reducing the risk of injury and allowing you to lift heavier loads.
- Improve your grip and prevent the bar from slipping out of your hands, especially when using high weights or high reps.
- Optimize your foot position and stability, ensuring proper alignment and balance throughout the lift.
- Enhance your grip strength and endurance, which are essential for deadlifting and other pulling exercises.
- Protect your floor and weights from damage, as well as reduce the noise and vibration caused by dropping the bar.
- Provide feedback and variety to your training, helping you overcome plateaus and improve your weak points.
Essential Deadlift Equipment
The following items are the most important ones you need for deadlifting. They are widely available and affordable, and they can significantly improve your deadlift performance.
A weightlifting belt is a thick and sturdy belt that you wear around your waist when lifting heavy weights. It helps you create intra-abdominal pressure, which stabilizes your spine and supports your lower back. A weightlifting belt can also improve your lifting technique, as it cues you to brace your core and maintain a neutral spine throughout the lift.
There are different types of weightlifting belts, such as leather, nylon, Velcro, or prong. The best one for you depends on your preference, comfort, and budget. However, some general guidelines to choose the right weightlifting belt are:
- The belt should be about 4 inches wide and fit snugly around your waist, without restricting your breathing or movement.
- The belt should have a single or double prong buckle, which is more secure and durable than Velcro.
- The belt should be made of high-quality leather or nylon, which are more comfortable and flexible than other materials.
You don’t need to wear a weightlifting belt for every set or rep of your deadlifts. You should only use it when you’re lifting near your maximum weight, or when you feel your lower back needs extra support. Using a weightlifting belt too often can make you rely on it and weaken your core muscles.
Lifting straps are long and narrow pieces of fabric that you wrap around your wrists and the bar when deadlifting. They help you improve your grip and prevent the bar from slipping out of your hands. Lifting straps are especially useful when you’re lifting heavy weights, high reps, or using a smooth or thick bar.
Lifting straps can also help you focus on your posterior chain muscles, rather than your grip strength. This can lead to more muscle activation and growth in your back, glutes, and hamstrings. Lifting straps can also prevent calluses and blisters on your hands, which can be painful and interfere with your training.
There are different types of lifting straps, such as loop, lasso, figure-8, or hook. The best one for you depends on your preference, comfort, and skill level. However, some general guidelines to choose the right lifting straps are:
- The straps should be made of durable and comfortable material, such as cotton, nylon, or leather.
- The straps should be long enough to wrap around the bar at least twice, but not too long that they interfere with your grip or movement.
- The straps should be easy to put on and take off, without requiring too much adjustment or hassle.
You don’t need to use lifting straps for every set or rep of your deadlifts. You should only use them when your grip is limiting your performance, or when you want to target your posterior chain muscles more. Using lifting straps too often can make you depend on them and impair your grip strength and development.
Flat shoes are shoes that have minimal or no cushioning, heel, or arch support. They are ideal for deadlifting, as they allow you to have direct contact with the floor and maximize your stability and power. Flat shoes can also improve your lifting technique, as they enable you to have a shorter range of motion and a more vertical shin angle.
Some examples of flat shoes that are suitable for deadlifting are:
- Converse All Stars
- Wrestling shoes
- Powerlifting shoes
The best flat shoes for you depend on your preference, comfort, and budget. However, some general guidelines to choose the right flat shoes are:
- The shoes should fit snugly and securely on your feet, without being too tight or loose.
- The shoes should have a thin and hard sole, which provides more traction and feedback than a soft and thick sole.
- The shoes should have a low or zero heel drop, which means the difference in height between the heel and the toe of the shoe.
You don’t need to buy special shoes for deadlifting, as long as you have a pair of flat shoes that meet the above criteria. You can also deadlift barefoot, if your gym allows it and you’re comfortable with it. Deadlifting barefoot can provide you with even more stability and feedback, as well as strengthen your feet and ankles.
Weightlifting chalk is a powdery substance that you apply to your hands and the bar when deadlifting. It helps you improve your grip and prevent the bar from slipping out of your sweaty hands. Weightlifting chalk can also reduce the friction and irritation on your skin, which can cause calluses and blisters.
There are different types of weightlifting chalk, such as block, liquid, or spray. The best one for you depends on your preference, convenience, and availability. However, some general guidelines to choose the right weightlifting chalk are:
- The chalk should be made of magnesium carbonate, which is the most effective and common ingredient for weightlifting chalk.
- The chalk should be easy to apply and remove, without leaving too much residue or mess.
- The chalk should be compatible with your gym’s rules and regulations, as some gyms may not allow or provide weightlifting chalk.
You don’t need to use weightlifting chalk for every set or rep of your deadlifts. You should only use it when your hands are sweaty or slippery, or when you’re lifting heavy weights or high reps. Using weightlifting chalk too often can make you rely on it and dry out your skin.
Additional Accessories for Enhanced Performance
The following items are not essential for deadlifting, but they can provide you with some extra benefits and advantages. They are more advanced and specialized, and they can help you overcome plateaus and improve your weak points.
Deadlift mats are thick and sturdy mats that you place under the bar and weights when deadlifting. They help you protect your floor and weights from damage, as well as reduce the noise and vibration caused by dropping the bar. Deadlift mats can also improve your lifting technique, as they prevent the bar from bouncing or rolling away.
There are different types of deadlift mats, such as rubber, foam, or wood. The best one for you depends on your preference, space, and budget. However, some general guidelines to choose the right deadlift mats are:
- The mats should be at least 1 inch thick and cover the entire area where the bar and weights land.
- The mats should be made of durable and shock-absorbing material, such as rubber or foam.
- The mats should be flat and stable, without any bumps or gaps that could affect your balance or movement.
You don’t need to buy deadlift mats if you have a dedicated platform or rack for deadlifting, or if your gym provides them. You can also use other items, such as plywood, carpet, or towels, as long as they are thick and sturdy enough to withstand the impact of the bar and weights.
An Olympic bar is a standard barbell that is used for weightlifting, powerlifting, and other strength sports. It is the best type of bar for deadlifting, as it has some features and advantages that other bars don’t have. An Olympic bar:
- Weighs 20 kg (44 lbs) and measures 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in length, which is the official specification for competition and training.
- Has rotating sleeves, which allow the plates to spin independently from the bar, reducing the torque and stress on your wrists and elbows.
- Has knurling, which is the rough and textured pattern on the bar, providing more grip and comfort for your hands.
- Has markings, which indicate the standard and legal grip width for different lifts, helping you position your grip.
You don’t need to buy an Olympic bar if you already have one or if your gym provides one. You can also use other types of bars, such as hex bar, trap bar, or safety squat bar, as long as they are compatible with your goals and preferences.
Bumper plates are weight plates that are made of rubber or urethane, rather than metal. They are designed for weightlifting, powerlifting, and other strength sports that involve dropping the bar and weights from a height. Bumper plates can help you deadlift more safely and effectively, as they:
- Have a standard diameter of 45 cm (17.7 in), regardless of their weight, which means the bar is always at the same height from the floor, allowing you to have a consistent and optimal starting position.
- Absorb the impact and reduce the noise and vibration when you drop the bar, protecting your floor, weights, and equipment.
- Have a smooth and uniform surface, which prevents the plates from sliding or wobbling on the bar, ensuring a balanced and stable lift.
You don’t need to buy bumper plates if you already have them or if your gym provides them. You can also use metal plates, as long as they are the same size and weight, and you don’t drop the bar too hard or too often.
Accessories for Strength & Technique
There are some accessories that can help you improve your strength and technique in specific aspects of your deadlift. They are not mandatory, but they can provide you with some variety and challenge to your training. Some examples of these accessories are:
- Deficit deadlift: This is when you stand on a raised platform, such as a mat or a plate, and deadlift from a lower position. This increases the range of motion and the difficulty of the lift, especially at the bottom part. Deficit deadlift can help you develop more power and speed off the floor, as well as improve your mobility and flexibility.
- Pause deadlift: This is when you pause for a second or two at a certain point of the lift, such as below the knee, above the knee, or at the lockout. This eliminates the momentum and forces you to maintain tension and control throughout the lift. Pause deadlift can help you overcome sticking points and strengthen your weak areas, as well as improve your form and concentration.
- Snatch grip deadlift: This is when you use a wide grip, similar to the snatch, and deadlift from a lower position. This increases the range of motion and the difficulty of the lift, especially at the top part. Snatch grip deadlift can help you develop more upper back and trap strength and size, as well as improve your grip and posture.
- Hip thrust: This is when you place your upper back on a bench or a box, and lift your hips and a weight on your lap, such as a barbell or a dumbbell. This isolates and targets your glutes, which are the main muscles involved in the deadlift. Hip thrust can help you increase your glute activation and power, as well as improve your hip extension and lockout.
You don’t need to use these accessories for every set or rep of your deadlifts. You should only use them as supplementary exercises, after your main deadlift sets, or on separate days. You should also use lighter weights and higher reps, and focus on your form and technique, rather than your weight and speed.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about deadlift equipment.
Do I need a deadlift suit or a deadlift jack?
No, you don’t need a deadlift suit or a deadlift jack, unless you are a competitive powerlifter or a serious deadlift enthusiast. A deadlift suit is a tight and elastic garment that you wear to increase your deadlift performance, by providing more support and compression to your lower back and hips. A deadlift jack is a device that you use to lift the bar and weights off the floor, making it easier to load and unload the plates. Both of these items are expensive and unnecessary for most deadlifters, and they can also alter your natural lifting technique and feel.
Can I use gloves or wrist wraps for deadlifting?
No, you should not use gloves or wrist wraps for deadlifting, as they can interfere with your grip and performance. Gloves can make the bar thicker and harder to hold, as well as reduce the feedback and sensation from your hands. Wrist wraps can restrict the movement and flexibility of your wrists, as well as prevent the natural rotation of the bar. Both of these items can also weaken your grip strength and development, which are essential for deadlifting and other pulling exercises.
How often should I replace my deadlift equipment?
It depends on how often and how hard you use your deadlift equipment, as well as the quality and durability of the items. Generally, you should replace your deadlift equipment when they show signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, holes, rips, or loose parts. You should also replace your deadlift equipment when they lose their effectiveness or comfort, such as when they become too stretched, worn, or dirty. You should always inspect your deadlift equipment before and after each use, and clean and store them properly, to extend their lifespan and performance.
Deadlifting is a powerful and rewarding exercise that can improve your strength, muscle mass, posture, and health. But to get the most out of your deadlifts, you need the right equipment. In this article, we covered the essential and additional deadlift equipment that can help you lift more weight, prevent injuries, and enhance your technique. We also answered some frequently asked questions about deadlift equipment. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. Now go and lift some heavy weights! 💪