Strength

Exclusive: Eddie Hall on how to get strong

Eddie Hall has deadlifted 500kg – 40 kilos more than his closest competitor – and came third in last year’s World’s Strongest Man competition. He’s a Protein Dynamix sponsored athlete, and lives in Stoke

In July 2016, Eddie Hall took to the stage at the World Deadlift Championships and hoisted 500kg off the deck: a competition PB by 35kg. He’s now got his sights on his first World’s Strongest Man win. Here’s what he’s learned.

1 Use speed reps as well as maximal weights
I got stuck on a plateau three or four years ago, and I realise that you can’t just come into the gym every week and lift maximum weights, you have to incorporate different speeds to work different fibres. You’re basically training your slow-twitch and your fast-twitch. Doing your speed reps you’re letting your slow-twitch fibres rest. It’s something a lot of people can’t get in their head, but something that I understood pretty quickly and used to my advantage. I deadlift once a week: your body can barely recover from training once a week – if you did more you’d be going backwards. I’ll do 8 sets of 2, or if I’m in a rush 5 sets of 3. Full recovery between sets, anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes.

2 Find the setup that works for you
I like to use my body’s levers. I find that if you get low and then lean back and then sort of rock forward, it gets you in that perfect position to almost leg-press it up rather than using your back. Essentially that’s what my deadlift is, it’s a leg press. I do still leg press once a week – I’ll usually work up to about 90% for three sets of about 6-8 reps. Nothing too strenuous, just enough to keep my slow-twitch muscles active, then I train my fast-twitch muscles on the deadlifts.

3 Get a stronger upper back
Once you get the bar above your knees it’s all hips and upper back. Upper back stuff helps a lot with my lockout: lat pull-downs, one arm rows, bent over barbell rows. That’s all I do, basically.

4 Recovery’s as important as training
You’ve got to get recovery right – there are probably a hundred different things that I’m doing for recovery that other people aren’t doing. I’ve got a hyperbaric chamber in my garden – it’s basically pure oxygen under a heavy PSI pressure. One hour in there equates to about twelve hours of recovery. So let’s say I’m doing 10 hours a week, I’m getting a hundred hours of recovery on every other athlete. That might be too far, but you’ve got to take everything into account: sleep, food, quality of rest. It all counts.

5 …and don’t be afraid to use accessories
All I wanted was 500 kilos. If people want to cry about me using wrist straps and a deadlift suit, then…fuck them, basically. I’ve pulled 500 kilos, that’s what I said I’d do and that’s what I did.

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