The Deadlift - Tips, Technique and Requirements by Derek Cope

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First of all let's talk about frequency of training. The deadlift can be very effectively trained by training it just once a week.

The deadlift uses more muscles than any other singe exercise so you need ample time to recover after a hard session A common mistake I see in gyms is that some lifters let their ego be their guide and attempt to deadlift heavy every time they are in the gym. This is a mistake as consistent heavy training can lead to a breakdown of technique, staleness and injury.

How I cycle my poundage is by starting my cycle with light poundage's and higher reps and then gradually increase the poundage over the weeks while decreasing the repetitions, thereby preparing my body for limit poundage's for a tournament. The advantage of this type of training is that your body does not get used to a particular rep range and is not hammered by heavy weights all the time. As soon as I have competed I leave the heavy weight alone but still train hard but use higher reps, sometimes going as high as fifteen or twenty reps in the deadlift. I might do this for a number of weeks and then I will start decreasing the reps whilst increasing the poundage and so another cycle begins.

Another key to longevity in the sport of Powerlifting is to remain drug free. Without getting on a soap box it is a fact that drug abuse will shorten your career. The lifters who took steroids when I was in my twenties are not around anymore. Yet I am still going in my late forties and hitting deadlifts equating to 2.5 times my bodyweight or more. On a personal note I do not drink or smoke I have never taken steroids or recreational drugs and I sincerely believe that by living a clean live this has aided me to have a long and enjoyable lifting career.

Let's get down to brass tacks now and discuss correct technique for the deadlift. Read through the list carefully because application of the points might well lead to increased poundage for you whilst helping you to avoid injury.


1. Keep back flat at all times.
2. Keep hips low during the initial phase off the floor.
3. Set and maintain your position at the start of every repetition.
4. Keep the bar close to the body throughout the pull.
5. Look up this helps align the spine and prevents rounding of the back.
6. Start the lift with fully inflated lungs
7. Avoid any tendency to lean back at the top of the lift.
8. Do not lower the bar back to the ground. Keep the hands on the bar and let gravity take the weight down.
9. When deadlifting always wear supportive trunks or pants.
10. Footwear should have as flat a heel and sole as possible

So in conclusion, think about your training and practice good technique on one of the most productive lifts in the gym: The Deadlift

Cycle your poundage and avoid the temptation of training heavy all the time.

If you apply the 10 tips above, look after your body and use good supplements you can look forward to a bigger, stronger deadlift and could still be lifting well in to your 40's/50's

Most important you also need high quality nutrition and good diet to enable good recovery and muscle growth. Effective supplementation is also very beneficial, my preferred brand is Maximuscle, I've been using them for the past 6 years. Their protein powder Promax, Maxpure Creatine powder Creatamax-300 and muscle and strength builder Cyclone are regulars for me and I rate them very highly.

Derek Cope
World Drug Free Powerlifting Champion

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Mark King   |.
Not sure about point 7. You've got to stand straight at the end.
Hammer   |.
point.7 says just don't lean back, not don't stand up straight.
I saw derek
cope deadlift once in a Maximuscle open day in the charring cross bodyactive
shop (few years back). He was awesome, he was lifting like 600lbs and talking on
the mic whilst doing it, whilst only wearing a lifting belt, no suits or straps.
A real nice guy also who spent ages afterwards talking to everyone and true
natural also. Top bloke.
Michael   |.
Point 8. It really peev's me when people smash weights down to the floor no
matter how heavy the weight being lifted (At my best I have lifted, clean i must
add, 220kg for 5 reps under total control so dont tell me it cannot be done and
that i dont know what in talking about). It is disrespectful to other gym users
as it annhiliates the equipment, making it dangerous to use. If you can't pick
up AND put down the weight under total control DONT pick it up-period!!!

P.S.People who throw dumbells to the floor after seated shoulder presses
should be shot! You think you look big and clever doing this? - if only you
David   |.
Dude, I must say that what i can shoulder press without injury is alot more than
I can pick up off the floor and guide up to press position then do 8-10 reps
then slowly lower the weights again without hurting writs and joints. I
understood u need to lift heavy to gain muscle so maybe thats why alot of the
larger weights are rubber and the gyms have rubber mats so that people can drop
the weight to avoid injury?
Ras Robert.   |.
Keep up the good work everyone,am 46 yrs old this month and still working
out.Got more body fat these days,my lady wants me to lose it by April? My two
year old baby girl loves to pick up heavy objects when shopping and at home,her
mum's 4kg dumb-bells! looks like I've got a future strong bodybuilding champion
to help me work out?
(ONE LOVE) Nuff Respect to all bodybuilders!
Mr   |.
Kenedy   |.
Point 7 is fine - he means stand up straight - there is no need for forced
hyperextension or shrugging
simon smith   |.
I would love to get in touch but cannot find a contact number for you.
Please call me or email me at above address.


Mr St Albans
nix   |.
msg to simon smith
this is derek cope's girlfriend, i would be willing to give
you his number but feel uncomfortable giving it out in a public forum
nix   |.
i suppose it can't hurt. he say's he'd love to hear from you.
derek's number is
[edited by admin - send it by email please]
he's doing well and is fit and
healthy. he's actually just won another british title! he's too modest about it
though.if you can't get through immediately then leave a voicemail and he'll
definitely get back to you.
look forward to your call!
mr m assive   |.
copesy the man!!
cleveland 1997 272.5kg no suit!
Glen   |.
Can the dead lift be performed with straight legs, or does it have to include a
'squat' type motion ?
danielle curzon   |.
Hi Del

I've been trying to get in touch with you to see how you are. My tel:
CeceRalsacegO   |.
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Charlie  - Ex girlfriend's Nix comment   |.
have to say if you are the g/f of Del then you should really not be offering his
phone details on web. He is a private man that I have come to know over the
past year and certainly commands more respect in his discipline than most are
giving him credit for. His power is in his nature, his aura and the sheer
dedication and commitment that he gives to his sport. He is a leader in his
field and despite his age at 50 yrs he certainly can lift and look far young. I
don't believe Del will ever need the compentence of written prose, he has too
many that offer him full support. He has won in the time I've known him 2
British titles and 2 World Championships and I do wish him the very very best
for this year. Nix he is private and you know that leave him that way and don't
keep using the site to air your view you really desimated him than any loss in
tournament could ever have done. Get real young lady and recognise that the man
Charlie  - Danielle curzon   |.
I may be able to help you contact Del please email me and maybe I can assist
you. He's a close friend of mine and I know he probably isn't looking at this
these days.
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