Strongman Robert Oberst Says You Shouldn't Do Deadlifts (JRE clip)

Interesting thoughts on the deadlift.

After hearing this he kinda has a point on the risk-reward ratio of the lift, but the physical benefits of having a strong deadlift is hard to ignore too. What’s your thoughts on this clip?

The problem with deadlifts is that it’s difficult to get right. It takes a lot of practice, your form is really important, and if you get it wrong you’re putting your back at huge risk.

The problem is that there are few lifts that give you comparable results.

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Heard this just this morning, great excerpt.

I haven’t done deadlifts for awhile because I found it too hard to recover from a lot of heavy lifting and I would prefer to squat. I suppose it makes sense that they are a high-risk/lower reward activity.

Interesting to hear this from a guy who’s been inside NCAA camps. Deadlifts are a staple in quite a few strength and conditioning programs, I’d be curious if there are any long time experts who have differing opinions.

The thing I worry is that he does say that power cleans and hang cleans are what they are doing.

Power cleans and hang cleans from what I’ve seen and experienced a lot harder to learn and do safely than deadlifts, regardless of how useful they are for developing explosive power.

Also, I think it’s tough to learn how to properly hinge at the hip without using some deadlift variation. These guys have been lifting weights for years and have probably done deadlifts for awhile at some point in their lifting career even if it isn’t part of their current professional training program.

I can definitely see his point that at the level of training those guys are doing, the risks of deadlifts far outweigh the rewards.


Exactly. I’m not a lifting expert by any means but cleans require a lot more technique than he’s letting on. And while they hit similar(ish) muscles, it is not necessarily the same as a deadlift.

I wonder what he thinks about the trapbar deadlift… I feel it’s a much safer alternative to the conventional one.

Yes that’s the thing. I’d love to know how he strengthens his posterior chain lol

It’s also important to note…

I guarantee these guys have done thousands of deadlifts. They are the Royce Gracies and Marcelo Garcia’s of extreme functional strength training.

I’m always careful to extrapolate too heavily from elite level training programs.

These guys are repping 400lb log presses, these guys deadlift and drag cars, they pick up 100kg boulders to chest height and load them onto platforms.

I think its safe to say we shouldn’t take what they do in their programming as gospel for everything S&C.

One guy I heard recently was John Davis on the BJJ Strength podcast. He’s a longtime expert in this field as it relates to martial arts and he definitely includes deadlift variations.

Should you be doing 5x5 deadlifts every week for max strength? Probably not if you’re not a powerlifter… but thats very different from NEVER deadlifting or performing any of the variations (single leg, romanian, deficit, etc).

A lot of people cant rep their own bodyweight on a deadlift and can’t safely hip hinge.

I don’t see someone pulling off a proper power clean if they cannot pull a bar off the floor without ruining their back.

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Here are some of my favorite strength YouTubers from a variety of disciplines and far more qualified than I am breaking it down in a bit more detail.

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