Suitcase-Style One Arm Deadlift is one of the
most powerful, results-producing exercises you
will NEVER see anybody in the gym do until you
actually do it yourself! The reasons? First, it's
NOT a common exercise, even though it's been around
for many years. Second, it's a tough exercise
to do! But as you know, the toughest exercises
are always the most productive.
Suitcase-Style One Arm Deadlift places extreme
torque on the core and will help you develop an
incredibly tight and powerful midsection. Basically,
instead of using both arms and doing a barbell
deadlift in front of your body as you normally
would, you'll stand BESIDE the barbell and pick
it up with one arm.
reaching down and picking up a suitcase sitting
beside you. That's the Suitcase-Style One Arm
Deadlift but, of course, using a heavy barbell!
will be a link to pictures and a video of this
exercise in action at the end of the article.
How To Do Suitcase-Style One-Arm
if you're doing this exercise off the floor, load
a barbell with a 45-lb plate on both ends. To
lift this amount of weight, you should be able
to deadlift at least 250 to 275 lbs in a normal
you wish to use less weight for this exercise,
set the safety rails in the power rack to just
below knee height and load the bar with however
much weight you want to use. The reason you'd
want to use the rack is, because you're using
smaller plates, the bar will start too low to
the ground and you'll need to lean over too much
to the side to pick it up.
beside the barbell and reach down and grasp it
with one hand. When you do the One-Arm Deadlift,
you should grip the bar slightly off-center. Your
thumb and index finger grip should be about a
centimeter (about a half inch or so) from the
edge of the center grip surface. This uneven grip
will prevent the bar being lifted unevenly and
tilting as you are lifting.
reason for this is that when you grip the bar
with one hand, your thumb and forefinger grip
area become the main pivot point. If that main
pivot point is not close to the real center of
the bar, the bar will tilt when you pick it up.
By sliding your hand down so that your thumb and
forefinger grip area is closer to the real center,
you will have a much easier time keeping the bar
you pick up the bar, make sure your shoulders
are level and your entire core area is tightened
up very strongly. Pick up the bar, focusing on
keeping your shoulders level as much as possible.
The weight of the bar on the one side will place
an EXTREME stabilizing load on the other side
of the body. You will be pushing HARD with the
same side foot as you're pulling on the bar, e.g.
if you're picking the bar up with your right arm,
you'll be pushing hard with your right foot.
your lower back tight and arched as you stand
up. Come all the way up to the top position and
hold for a few seconds then lower the bar back
down slowly. Gripping the barbell with one arm
in this fashion is also VERY challenging to the
grip. You'll need to hold on tight in order to
keep your grip on the bar.
the bar down on the floor between reps and relax
the core. Re-tighten everything then start your
next rep. This exercise should only be done for
low reps, e.g. 3 to 5 reps per set. Any more than
that and the stabilizing muscles of the abs will
become fatigued and cause the torque to go into
the lower back instead of the abs, where you want
position - standing beside the barbell
position - other arms is out to the side for
balance. Maintain tight core!
- stand up straight and hold for a few seconds.
This hits the abs hard!
shows the proper position of your grip on
the bar. Your thumb and index finger grip
should be closer to the center balance point
of the bar than the actual middle of your
This is because
for this exercise, the thumb and forefinger
are the pivot point of your grip. If you
grip in true center, the bar will tip backwards.
first time you do this exercise, start with a
conservative weight. It's deceptively tough, especially
if you've not done a lot of movements that are
weighted on only one side. The torque on your
core will be a very new thing! The incredible
tightness you'll feel all along your side abs
the next day will show you just how effective
this exercise is.
you're a strong deadlifter or find your grip strength
limits the amount of weight or number of reps
you can do, I would DEFINITELY recommend grip
assistance in the form of either lifting straps
or a product called "1 Ton Hooks." The
grip assistance will allow you to use heavier
weight and hold onto it longer. It will also prevent
the bar from rolling out of your fingers as your
recommend the hooks over the straps in all cases.
"1 Ton Hooks" are cast iron lifting
hooks that are designed to allow you to hold extremely
heavy without worrying about your grip strength.
These hooks, in my opinion, should be in the arsenal
of EVERY serious lifter and I highly recommend
them. To put it in perspective, I've used these
hooks to do partial deadlifts with more than 900
lbs and the hooks held up fine!
Click here to read my full
review of "1 Ton Hooks"
Give the Suitcase-Style One Arm Deadlift a try
in your next back workout - I can promise you'll
either be thanking me or cursing me for the next
two days after you do it! Your entire core will
be worked in a way it has NEVER been worked before.
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