Deadlift Dynamite by Andy Bolton and Pavel Tsatsouline - Book Review
The authors of "Deadlift Dynamite" do not need an introduction to anyone involved in the world of strength sports. Andy Bolton was the first man to pull more than 1000 pounds, deadlifting 1003 pounds and following it up with another record pull of 1008 several years later. The co-author Pavel Tsatsouline is a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor, trainer of US Navy SEALS and the US Secret Service. Pavel is most known for popularizing Russian kettlebells in the West, he wrote a few books on kettlebell training and is regarded as the most outspoken kettlebell guru in the sport/fitness industry.
Together Andy and Pavel offer guidance and tips on how to improve the deadlift, the king of all barbell lifts, as well as the squat and the bench press. In that sense, the name of the book does it a bit of disservice, since the book is not just about the deadlift. At the same time, this is what makes it a very useful read as it goes beyond just deadlift. The kettlebell exercises and mobility drills taught in the book are very specific to powerlifting goals and received great feedback from the elite of the iron sport. Pavel encourages to do them often and they will pay off and help the lifter improve faster and safer.
It is a common truth that the deadlift is essentially a hip hinge movement. Learning this fundamental human movement pattern should be the priority first. Kettlebell deadlift and swing represent the static and the ballistic hip hinge exercises - mastering them will be very helpful for the beginner at the start and later as assistance to the barbell pull. The Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) as the golden standard of hardstyle kettlebell training puts high demand on the execution of these basic kettlebell movements. From my personal experience as a coach, swing can be useful to help fix technical flaws of a lifter who has been deadlifting for years with a barbell, experienced injuries and other setbacks due to inefficient hip hinge and poor positioning.
The first chapter of the book teaches the proper execution of the barbell lifts and gives an insight into how to program your training. The second chapter offers best assistance exercises, the above-mentioned kettlebell swing, deficit barbell pulls and more specific exercises to strengthen the deadlift muscles: back, hamstrings, midsection, the grip etc. Andy offers a very good insight into how he sets up for the deadlift, the importance of the starting position (i.e. where your feet, hips, shoulders should be related to the bar) and describes his "rocking style" technique. His advice on the proper mindset needed to lift heavy numbers is also very useful. The big contribution of Pavel lies in offering very useful RKC stretches, for hip flexors, hamstrings, upper body - that can be great prehab, injury prevention tools. The role of midsection is strongly highlighted at the end of the book, and great strengthening techniques are offered - with a kettlebell and barbell alike.
All in all the book is a decent guide and is worth a read.