Building a Better Deadlift

by Roger LaPointe

Promotional poster for the Tractor Pull Championship Weekend Meet.

What is the ultimate measure of strength?

With the Olympics currently taking place, now is a good time to ask this question. Obviously, to many people it is the total of the two hand snatch and two hand clean & jerk, but to many people this is actually a question up to debate. After all, why have Powerlifting contests, if Olympic weightlifting is the ultimate measure of strength?

Then there are the old Odd Lift Contests, which evolved into the All Round Weightlifting Association, as well as the various strongman contests. When it comes to variations on the deadlift, I can come up with a dozen pretty quickly.

In the days before the Trap Bar, guys were really trying to find a way to deadlift that would more closely replicate the upright body position of an Olympic weightlifter’s front squat. One method was the Jefferson Lift. The Jefferson Lift is also called the Straddle Deadlift. You literally straddle the Olympic barbell and have on hand holding the bar in front and one in the back. While this seems a little goofy, with potential danger to certain body parts if you lift the bar too high, there have been some really significant poundages lifted like this. For example, ask anyone in the USAWA 80 kg (176 pound) class about Bob Hirsch. Bob so totally dominated the various deadlift type events that his Jefferson Lift record is the absolute world record, regardless of weight class, at 318.5 kg (702.2 Pounds).

We will be contesting the 2 Inch Diameter Bar Jefferson Lift at the 2nd Annual Atomic Athletic Tractor Pull Championship Weekend Meet August 18th. It will be a three lift meet that also includes the Crucifix Hold and the One Hand Barbell Deadlift. Make sure to get your application in soon. Here is a link to the page:

If you want to see some incredible All Round Lifting, including some amazing Jefferson lifts, check out our Moore Muscle Classic:

or the USAWA 2000 Nationals, which doesn’t have the Jefferson Lift, but does have the Hack Lift, Zercher Lift (off the floor) and 6 other great lifts.

Never let it get boring…

Today is a good day to lift.
Roger LaPointe

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