Improving your deadlift lockout is usually hammered with glute exercises out your butt (pun intended).
While some of these exercises can certainly help you do this, positioning is just as important to ensure you can use your glutes when you need to.
If you’re stuck in an extended position, good luck ever getting your ass to fire when you need it.
Snatch Grip Deadlift off Blocks/Mats
This is one of my favorite exercises to program for those that have lockout issues. The wide grip forces a quality upper back position while pulling off the blocks ensures we have to hinge well, but also safely. Hit these for heavier sets of 5-8 reps after your max effort work.
Safety Squat Bar Good Morning
I like using the good morning to emphasize more upper back position rather than hip extensors. I just feel that the risk isn’t worth the reward on going super heavy with these either. The safety squat bar provides us the feedback to know we’re in good position but also builds up a strong backside to finish any deadlift (and squat for that matter). Use these for sets of 6-10 reps for 3-4 sets after your max effort work.
GHH/Back Extension off Glute Ham Raise (GHR)
This exercise is essentially a back extension of the glute-ham raise. However, I want this exercise to emphasize the glutes doing the work versus the lower back.
Too many people use this as a lumbar extension exercise, and I prefer this as a glute exercise. This is an amazing finisher at the end of a training session to get dozens of reps in. I like these for 3-4 sets of max reps, or to accumulate 100 total reps in a session.
Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
I’m big on the basics, and I’d be a fool to not recommend the RDL in any deadlift article. We all know the number one issue with the deadlift is that it lacks a true eccentric training effect.
This is where the RDL comes in to fill that gap. The nice thing about it is that we can program these in a variety of ways: from higher reps, versus bands or chains, with tempos, or even single-leg options.
I prefer to program these as supplemental work after a hard dynamic effort day for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. If you want to use them on a max effort day, try with them tempos and 5-6 second eccentrics to really finish off your hamstrings and work on that lockout.
The pull-through is one of the best accessory exercises out there, and it’s amazing for helping improve your lockout. You can use bands or a cable system, but the emphasis it puts on the glutes and hamstrings is phenomenal.
If you’re a sumo puller, this is also up your alley as most lockout work is usually done with a more conventional based stance, but the pull-through is done only with a wider based stance.
Since this is more of an accessory based movement, look to program these for 3-6 sets of 12-30 reps to finish off your glutes and hamstrings after a hard training day.