Deadlift like the Dancers: Accessory Tips

With hundreds of resources claiming the secret to the “perfect” deadlift, we asked two of the strongest deadlifters in the sport of CrossFit what accessory movements are best for improving stability and form. We all know we need to push through the heels and keep our hamstrings tight, but what exercises outside of the deadlift can help improve your heaviest lift?
There’s no doubt that Sam and Jennifer Dancer are two of the strongest athletes in the sport of CrossFit. Their team, CrossFit Conjugate Black fought their way to second place at the 2014 CrossFit Games and dominated the deadlift event, coming in first place in both the mens’ and womens’ total.
When we asked Jen and Sam what their favorite accessory movement for improving the deadlift was, they both passionately advocated for the reverse hyper.

As Sam put it, “It can help people figure out how to brace the body while moving the hip independently.” If you struggle with keeping your core tight while fully extending your hips in the deadlift, the reverse hyper is perfect for you. Not only does the reverse hyper teach proper bracing, it also has rehabilitative benefits, decompressing the spine without any vertical compression.

Besides reverse hypers, the Dancers explained that any movement that strengthens the back, hips, glutes and hamstrings at the same time is “gold.” A close second being sled pulls.

The same concepts can be applied here, bracing the back while using the glutes, hips, and hamstrings to do the real work.

Accessory movements can help teach proper bracing of body and engaging of the hips, glutes, and hamstrings, but the couple explained that a strength athlete at any level should still work deadlifts into their programming at least once or twice each week.

Bonus tip? The Dancer’s wear Reebok powerlifting shoes. And who doesn’t want to deadlift like the Dancers?


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