We’ve done a lot of different exercises in the Lifehacker Fitness Challenge, from barbell lifts to endurance sports to yoga and more. This month will be special, though: we’re going to take on some lifts that you’ve probably never tried.
For the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of my own time in the gym exploring all-round lifting, a sport involving lifts that most people have either forgotten about, have never heard of in the first place, or are too chicken to try. There are a lot of one-handed lifts, for example, which used to be a thing in the very early Olympics but fell out of favour.
I’ve found I really enjoy figuring out a new lift. Some take weeks or months to master, and lots of thought and analysis and practice. We’ll steer clear of those here, and focus on things that most people can pick up with just a bit of practice. Or at least, you’ll have fun trying.
So this month, we’ll try a different weird new lift each week. First up: the one hand deadlift.
The video above is one I took when r/griptraining announced a competition for this lift. You can read their rules for it here, which are as good as any. (They required a hook grip, which means you tuck your thumb under your fingers. For our purposes, you can grab the weight any way you like.) Basically, you just have to pick up the barbell with one hand, and keep it under control as you stand up with your knees straight.
For our challenge, I don’t care if you use a full size barbell, although it’s fun and I highly recommend it. If that sounds too intimidating and you want to try this lift with a large dumbbell or kettlebell, go for it—the point is to experiment and have fun. If you do go for the barbell, here are my tips:
Consider straddling the bar, like I do in the video above, or standing with the bar in front of you like you would a normal deadlift. Your choice.
Before beginning the lift, test the bar’s balance by cupping your other hand underneath your lifting hand. Lift the bar an inch off the ground and see whether it tilts to one side or another. If so, adjust your hand position and try again.
You’ll lift more weight the better you can grip the bar. Choose a bar with centre knurling (that textured pattern scratched into the metal) if possible. You may want to use chalk. Try a hook grip.
Rest your free hand on your knee, and push with that hand as you’re lifting the bar off the ground.
If a standard barbell is hard to hold onto, try a women’s olympic bar. It’s made slightly thinner than the men’s bar, specifically so that people with smaller hands can grasp it better.
Again, we’re just having fun here, so feel free to play around and see what you can lift, and how. Maybe it’s a training bar. Or maybe you have excellent grip strength and you’re going to do some massive lift once you have the technique figured out. Either way, show us! If you’re on Instagram, feel free to post a video and tag @lifehackerdotcom.