The only thing worse than experiencing muscle soreness in the quadriceps post-training is having it in the hamstrings. It may not be a muscle you see fairly often, but you’ll definitely feel it whenever you try to sit or take the stairs down. To make things more interesting, sore hamstrings are rarely unaccompanied by equally hurting glutes. If your training lacks the beauty of such experiences, then it may be time to start working some Dimel deadlifts into your regimen!
Named after a respected Westside Barbell lifter known as Matt Dimel, the Dimel deadlift is a simple yet brutally effective variation of the stiff-legged deadlift that is guaranteed to light your posterior chain on fire. The nature of the movement places constant tension on the back, glutes and hamstrings, and can be used as either a deadlift accessory movement or rotated as a primary hip hinge exercise.
Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit
At first glance, the Dimel deadlift resembles a stiff-legged deadlift done with a partial range of motion. One also wouldn’t be wrong to think of it as rack/block pull done sans dead stops. The key to making the Dimel deadlift work for you is to stretch your glutes and hamstrings as much as possible while creating tension and contracting them explosively as you finish the movement. This is done by executing a pure hip hinge while keeping your knees in line with your ankles. Proper bracing will allow you to keep tension in the right place instead of having it transfer to your back.
You can start by either deadlifting the barbell normally off the floor or taking it off the rack/blocks. Once you’re set up right (e.g. proper bracing, back set, etc.), perform a hip hinge by sliding your hips back, keeping a tight but natural arch in your lower while using your lats to keep the barbell close to you. Lower the barbell to the point where you achieve maximum stretch in your posterior chain, which should be around right where your knee joint is or right above it. Pause for a half-second before completing the movement by squeezing your hips towards the centre.
The Dimel deadlift can also be a useful tool for teaching proper hip hinge mechanics with a straight barbell from the top down, before moving on to a greater range of motion like in the stiff-legged deadlift. Progression can be done with an increase in load or volume, but I’ve found tempo manipulation to be the most effective when it comes to the constant tension-style of exercises. Extending the eccentric/lowering portion of the movement and/or pause at the bottom are great ways to increase time under tension. How ever you choose to go, just be mentally prepared for what comes the day after!