HYPOTHESIS The deadlift is a great exercise for increasing full-body strength. Because the sticking point is when the bar reaches knee height, a good way to overcome this is to do lockouts by placing the bar in a power rack at knee height and starting from this position.
RESEARCH Using video, researchers from Kennesaw State University (Georgia) analyzed the lifting biomechanics during the deadlifts of 25 male powerlifters during a regional competition.
FINDINGS The scientists actually discovered that the speed of the lift significantly slows down when the bar is about 2.5 inches below knee height.
CONCLUSION They concluded that the common practice of doing lockouts with the bar set at knee height in a power rack is likely not the best way to train to get stronger in the sticking point. The researchers suggested that a better method would be to do lockouts with the bar about 3 inches below knee height to train the entire area where the bar starts to slow down.
APPLICATION Set the bar in a power rack at about 3 inches below knee level. Do three sets of 3–6 reps from this position at the start of your deadlift workout while you are strongest. Finish with three or four sets of full-range-of-motion deads.