I received a lot of questions about “suitcase deadlifts” yesterday, including where I was traveling and why I needed to pack so much stuff. I coincidentally shot some quick and dirty video of my DL session yesterday, so here is one of my sets of suitcase DLs.
Take away the barbell, and these should look exactly like your normal deadlift. Same set-up position, same lumbar curve, same shoulder/scapular retraction. Because these are unilateral, however, they add a new dimension to the pull. You can’t allow your back to twist, and it’s even more challenging not to let that shoulder drop into the weight. These work your core in a serious fashion – you have to maintain a ton of tension so the weight doesn’t adjust your position throughout the movement.
Finally, while you can use a kettlebell or dumbbell for these, I prefer to use a standard barbell. For one, it looks bad-ass. More importantly, however, it provides yet another challenge, in that you have to manage the weight from the middle, and keep the barbell from tipping in either direction. This works my grip in a way that a kettlebell never could. In fact, I find grip to be my liming factor in this exercise, especially when performing them after a full set of normal deadlifts. By the fourth rep, I usually have to focus a lot of energy on just holding on to the bar.
Start adding these in as an assistance drill, or as a buy-in or cash-out durning your next deadlift day. And feel free to check off “constantly varied” that day.
No fun music or titles on this one – just a quick demo, with 75#. I cut the clip to show just one side, but obviously you want to do these both left and right. Also, I know it looks like I’m doing this little cheerleader shrug at the top, but I’m not. What I am doing is cranking down on my tricep and lat, to try to keep the bar from tipping forward or back.
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You’re right. The barbell looks badass. I think I love you. Don’t tell our husbands. Though, I guess it might turn them on??
Patrick Haskell says
Yes, just let the CF guys get worked up by that kind of talk.
Good one, MB. I was thinking about suitcase deads the day after my last DL session thinking they needed to make a reappearance. Thanks for the reminder. You’ve got that bar locked down nice. Good cue for the tri/lat contraction. Thanks. I’ll put that to use and see if I can’t control that bar better next time.
You do seem to have a habit of throwing in a cheerleader bounce at the top of your lifts: suitcase deads, push jerks, etc. I think you were depreived as a child. Maybe you need to go to a summer camp and get it out of your system.
LOL @ Patrick.
Melissa, can I talk you into moving south? 850 miles is just too long a commute for coaching. :p
Jay Ashman says
oh those deads are GREAT for the core. I used to do them for deadlifting warmups when I was in my heavy phase… Nice form, as always.
I need to borrow you as a coach, work through some of my sticking points.
Lu Crenshaw says
Man I feel so special to know that my sweet cheeks deserve the terms, “ASS-Fit”. I’m actually blushing!!! I will rock ’em!!!
Miss you lady, can’t wait to catch up, I have been learning so incredibly much about business it’s not even funny. My brain is on overload!!!
Melissa Byers says
Kristin has a girl crush on me, Patrick wants to see me in a cheerleader uniform, and I’m considering inviting Ashman’s wife to our coaching session.
This blog has taken a sharp right to Dirtytown today. You people should be ashamed of yourselves.
Nikki 2-K says
ooo. I need to try these! Thanks Melissa :-)
Funny, I just tried these for the first time a couple days ago. I also tried one-handed deadlifts in the front, like regular deadlifts but with just one hand in the middle of the bar. Both were fun and will find their way back into my training soon!
christin street says
Just did these today before seeing your vid…CF East Decatur (local affiliate) threw them in the other day. Much harder with the BB though. Nice.