The Jefferson lift, also known as the Jefferson deadlift, Jefferson squat or straddle deadlift, is not a commonly seen exercise. In fact, I would put it as something that is forgotten or unknown by 99% of the population.
According to my research it was named after Strongman Charles Jefferson.
But since I’ve been introduced to it, I’ve absolutely loved it. Let me tell you why.
First off, let’s talk about how to do the Jefferson lift. It is like a conventional deadlift except you’ll step one foot over the bar so that you are straddling it.
At first glance, men are going to be scared of this lift as I‘ve heard it been referred to its nick-name the “nut-crusher”. Let me say that I’ve personally never had this particular problem. I suppose it does depend on several factors though including arm length, torso length, and how its hanging. For that reason it may not be appropriate for everyone. Anyway…
The great thing about the Jefferson lift is how you can find your own personal groove with it.
- You can hinge at the hips more to incorporate more back. (more like a regular deadlift)
- Squat down more, making it similar to a sumo deadlift, and use recruit more quad involvement. (more like a squat)
- Move the feet closer of further.
- Change your hand position closer or wider.
- Turn more to the side, or stay facing straight forwards.
- And of course you can switch what foot is facing forwards.
There’s a lot of variation here. If you’ve ever looked for something that is same but different this is a great one. If you do biofeedback training, this exercise alone is a testament to what can be done. And on that note its note surprising the results David Dellanave has gotten with it. Here he is lifting 605 lbs. in the Jefferson.
It has been instrumental for me in increasing my conventional deadlift up to 505. And now I’m working to go even further.
Here is one more important point. The Jefferson is similar to the trap bar deadlift in that the weight is centered under you, unlike in a conventional deadlift where the weight is slightly in front of you. For this reason alone I find the Jefferson lift is actually a safer variation for many people.
Of course there is some unique core work involved, which could be great for you, or not so much. After doing a set of heavy Jeffersons you’ll feel your rib cage on one side perhaps unlike ever before.
Go ahead and try this deadlift out if you never have.
Here’s your question for the day. If you’ve done the Jefferson deadlift before “what are your experiences of it?”
P.S. If you want to learn a whole bunch more similar “oldtimer” exercises I suggest you check out the Arthur Saxon Power Pack.