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Tighten Your Core and Build Your Legs With Suitcase One-Arm Deadlifts With Self-Spotting Bar Grip

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Now this is an interesting one...if you've never seen Suitcase Style One-Arm Deadlifts before then the whole concept may be a bit new to you.

The "normal" Suitcase One Arm Deadlift has you deadlifting a barbell with hand, holding it on the outside of your body like a suitcase. The exercise is GREAT for the entire body...core, legs, back, grip, you name it.

With this version of the exercise, I decided to see if, with the other bracing the body on the other side, I could get just as much or more out of the exercise without as much torque on the core area.

Because when you start using 150 to 200+ lbs on the Suitcase One Arm Deadlift, it does tend too put a lot of pressure on the body and is tough to balance, especially when you get to the point where the barbell weighs more than you do you and it's mostly outside your base of support.

THIS version solves the problem of having the weight outside your base of support by having you grip onto a solid object/bar in front of you while at the same time, keeping that uneven tension on the body.

Because with that other hand, you can very easily adjust how much or how little help you want to give yourself balance-wise and pulling to help stand up with the bar.

If you like the Suitcase One Arm Deadlift, definitely give this one a try. And if you've never tried the Suitcase One Arm Deadlift, this is a good variation to test it out on because of how you'll be able to basically spot yourself and control the torque on your body.

So the first thing you'll do is set up a barbell on the floor. I did this one in the power rack, with another barbell set about chest height, to grip onto as the anchor to pull myself up. You don't necessarily need a rack for this but you will need something solid to grab onto.

You can also do this one-arm bar-grip deadlift exercise with a dumbell, just fyi. It'll start down lower to the ground but the dumbell will be easier to grip onto than the barbell and might be a better place to start.

When you do this exercise with a barbell, you have mess around a bit to find the very center balance point of the barbell so that it doesn't tip forward or backward as you stand up. You'll see this in the video - the first few reps, I have to adjust my grip a bit on the bar in order to find that center point when the bar tilts.

I'm using 1 Ton Hooks for this exercise (click here to read more about those).

They're grip assistance hooks that I HIGHLY recommend - I use these things all the time. In the demo, I'm using a barbell loaded to 185 lbs. The first set I did was with 225 lbs. It's tough to grip that heavy of a barbell without it rolling out of your hands, let me tell you. That's where grip asssistance really comes in handy.

So here's the start position. The barbell I'm lifting is set perpendicular to the bar I'm gripping on. I use an underhand grip on the bar I'm gripping on, just fyi. Set your feet by the center of the bar then grip onto the barbell (or dumbell, if that's what you're using).

Tighten Your Core and Build Your Legs With Suitcase One-Arm Deadlifts With Self-Spotting Bar Grip

By gripping onto the bar in front, as I mentioned above, you change the base of support of the exercise, making for better balance when you do the deadlift. Believe me, you still get plenty of uneven tension on the entire body with the barbell on the outside of your body...this gripping just makes it easier to control and work with.

One thing I also found with the gripping is that it allows you to sit back into the deadlift more, making this more of a thigh exercise than the standard deadlift (which tends to hit more the lower back).

So once you've gripped the suitcase barbell, beging the deadlift. The moment you start to stand up, you'll know whether your grip is centered or not. If the bar tilts down to the front, move your grip forward on the bar a bit. If it tilts back and down, move your grip back a bit. If you're using a dumbell, it won't really matter at all (which is why that makes it a good starter exercise for this style of training).

Tighten Your Core and Build Your Legs With Suitcase One-Arm Deadlifts With Self-Spotting Bar Grip

If you're WAY off of center, you'll need to reset yourself right away. If you're only a little off, you may be able to complete the rep before re-adjusting your grip on the bar.

Come all the way up to the fully standing position. As you come up, use your "bar gripping" hand to help counterbalance the weighted barbell. You can also use it to help pull your body up, bring the lats and biceps into play in the exercise.

Tighten Your Core and Build Your Legs With Suitcase One-Arm Deadlifts With Self-Spotting Bar Grip

Now lower back down under control, reset yourself and do another rep! Do all your reps on one side then step over the bar and work the other side.

You can really see in this picture how my grip on the bar in front really allows me to sit back into a squat position, keeping a more upright torso and making it more of a leg exercise than the normal Suitcase One Arm Deadlift. That's why I would actually classify this as more of a leg exerise - I really did feel it more in the thighs than in the lower back.

Tighten Your Core and Build Your Legs With Suitcase One-Arm Deadlifts With Self-Spotting Bar Grip

Same deal...grip the weighted bar and stand up with it, using your other hand to stabilize and help pull, if you need it.

Tighten Your Core and Build Your Legs With Suitcase One-Arm Deadlifts With Self-Spotting Bar Grip

This is truly a total-body type of exercise. It's a very valuable alternative to the barbell squat, if you train at home and don't have a rack but DO have something to grab onto. And holding onto a dumbell makes this exercise even more practical for that purpose. I'll definitely be shooting pics and video of the dumbell version of this exercise in the near future but the execution is basically just the same.

 


 


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