WSBB Blog: The Deadlift Suit for Beginners
In the realm of geared powerlifting, the deadlift suit is fortunately the easiest piece of gear to learn to use. How you implement it into your training will vary depending on your goals. Geared powerlifters will pull in their deadlift suit less frequently, where a deadlift only or strongman focused athlete will opt to use the suit more often.
Considering powerlifters also have to squat, at least two out of their four monthly ME lower exercises will be a squat or a goodmorning. As a deadlift only or strongman competitor your training will be more specifically focused on improving deadlift strength and endurance to be able to lift heavy single attempts, as well as multiple rep attempts as seen in strongman competitions.
Deadlift Suit Programming for Powerlifters
At Westside, we recommend powerlifters deadlift twice per month. Typically that will mean that one of those workouts will be done with a deadlift suit on, while the other workout will be done in just briefs if you’re a sumo puller. For conventional pullers, both workouts will be done in the suit, with the straps being loosened or completely off of the shoulders for one of the workouts.
Max effort exercises with the straps up should be focused on pulling from the floor, or a two inch mat. These exercises will be performed for a max effort single rep. Max effort exercises with the straps down will include deficit and stiff legged deadlifts. The exercises can be performed for either max effort single reps, or for multiple rep top sets.
Deadlift Suit Programming for Strongman
The sport of strongman requires that you not only have the ability to display maximum strength for one rep in competition, it also requires you to be able to maintain strength over time. Due to this, the way a strongman programs deadlift workouts will be slightly different than the powerlifter. The deadlift is a primary movement for a strongman, squatting is not.
Therefore, a majority of strongman max effort lower workouts will be deadlifts. You will want to always pull in your suit, pulling with straps down until you get around 80-85%. Once you get to your heavier sets you will use the straps and pull as if it is a competition. It is especially important to lift multiple rep sets with the straps up to learn what amount of strap tightness allows you ability to not only lift the most weight, but breathe and maintain stamina.
Wearing a suit with the straps too tight and trying to pull a high rep set is a surefire way to knock yourself out. A good example of a four week max effort lower rotation for a strongman would include one week of deficit deadlifts, one week off of the floor against bands, one week of high rep work, and the final week can be either a deadlift variation or a goodmorning variation depending on recovery.
As is the case any time you are learning gear, try to find some already broken in if at all possible. Ordering sizes online can be troublesome, you may buy gear that fits based on your measurements but it fails to fit the way you move. By finding gear you can buy used or borrow, you will begin to get a good idea of whether tight or loosened gear works best for you, or if you need more support in certain parts of the suit.
Once you begin to attain that level of understanding, you will be able to get a correct fitting suit and get the most out of it. As it was stated previously, the deadlift suit is fortunately easy to learn. It is also the safest considering no weight is being placed onto your back or being held over your face. Get a suit, have fun pulling some heavy deadlifts, learn, and take that knowledge and improve the fit of your suit. Once you have the right suit, all it takes is hard work and dedication to attain the strength you want.