Enter the Lightning Deadlift

by: Josh Bryant 

The late Bob Peoples, of Tennessee, was the first man to deadlift over 700 pounds. In training, Bob would lift a weight out of a jack at lockout height. He would then lower the weight to the floor and lift it back up; with this technique, Bob could lift more weight with greater speed because he artificially introduced a negative which exploited the stretch reflex to his advantage.  

With this in mind, Bob Peoples inspired the lightening deadlift.

I have implemented this exercise with some of my world-class lifters, intermediate lifters and traditional athletes! The commonality is the astounding results all have received.   

Speed is king in the deadlift!

Here is why.

Both the squat and the bench press have a true eccentric (negative) phase and true concentric (positive) phase. Even with a one-second pause at the amortization (switching from negative to positive phase), around half of the original stored elastic energy is available to aid in the positive portion of the lift. 

Deadlifting is deadweight or a concentric-only lift.

The force produced at the beginning of a concentric contraction that follows an eccentric contraction is much greater than the force at the beginning of a concentric contraction that was not preceded by an eccentric contraction.
Lightning deadlifts create a powerful eccentric phase that teaches you how to deadlift explosively.

Lightning deadlifts are performed for doubles. The first rep is performed with a chain on the bar, generally for speed. These are done with 50–75% of one’s maximum deadlift and the chains are an additional 10–20% added on the bar. 
The first rep is performed with the chains on the bar. Immediately, when the bar touches the ground, have the two people on the sides pull the chains off the bar. Then, pull the weight as explosively as possible to lockout without chains. This will be the most explosive deadlift you have ever pulled—you will literally feel like you are going to fall over backward. 

Some guidelines to remember with lightning deadlifts:
·       Have two component helpers.
·       Do not pull the second rep until you hear “go” from the designated helper.
·       Pull each rep as explosively as possible.
·       Do three to six sets.
·       Do doubles—any more or any less will eliminate the benefits.

Lightning Deadlift Demo

Final Thoughts
Lightning deadlifts will teach you new meaning to pulling explosively—it will train your CNS to learn and adapt to that explosive motor pattern, resulting in bigger pulls and, if you’re a powerlifter, bigger totals!

Grab the bookthat spawned the movement: