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Ripping heavy weight off the floor will make you bull-strong. But if you’re more interested in packing slabs of mass onto your back, a simple deadlift tweak can do the trick: Lower the bar just below your knees.
This deadlift variation, made famous by six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, will still strengthen the muscles needed to pull big numbers—your spinal erectors, hamstrings, and upper back.
And keeping the bar suspended throughout the move places more tension on your traps, shoulders, and back than a traditional deadlift as they fight to pull your scapula back into place (as the weight pulls them down).
“Dorian’s technique in the deadlift did not allow for any rest between reps, making it even more intense than the standard method,” says Eric “Merlin” Broser, a bodybuilding prep coach.
And more tension on the muscle equals more damage—and more damage equals more muscle. Broser recommends following a “two weeks on, one week off (meaning do regular deadlifts)” approach if gaining back mass is your goal. A final note: You may be wondering how a Dorian deadlift is different from its Romanian counterpart, and you’re right to wonder. They’re not that different, but the range of motion on the Dorian dead is shorter than the RDL, which has you lowering the bar to your mid-shin or lower. This slight tweak with the Dorian dead keeps the tension more on your back and less on your hamstrings. Don’t believe us? Lower the bar another six inches and feel your hammies light up.
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