Explode Your Deadlift – Deadlift Dynamite Book Review

Deadlift Dynamite is a book I read earlier this year going over all things deadlifting. Written by Pavel Tsatsouline and Andy Bolton, it is a detailed look at perhaps the most important exercise you can do as a BJJ athlete.

In case you don’t know, Pavel is the guy behind the modern day kettlebell movement and is one of the brightest guys in strength training. Andy is the only guy in the world to deadlift over 1000 pounds (1008 to be exact) and has also squatted over 1200 pounds.


Put them together and you have two guys who have forgotten more about getting stronger than most of us will ever know. Have them write a book and you have, well, Deadlift Dynamite.

Despite the deadlift being front and center, the book actually goes into all three Powerlifts – the squat, bench and deadlift – in great detail. In it Pavel and Andy give you tools to help you learn the movements and tips to get more strength out of them as well.

For example, they provide some great stretches, mobility drills and corrective exercises to help groove the movement patterns used by each exercise. They also teach you how to generate maximum tension in the right areas to create a stronger, more stable platform to move from, which greatly improves you strength and safety.

They also go over principles to helps you best integrate the squat, deadlift and bench press into your program. Among them are…

– Keeping your reps per set to less than 5

– Never training to failure unless testing your limits in competition

– Cycling your loads so you that you start “light” and build up over the course of 6-12 weeks to a new personal best.

Andy also goes into his personal workout program, which is a lot simpler than you probably think. In fact, that was one of the things they emphasized a lot in the book – no fancy approach can replace hard work, patience and attention to detail. Getting stronger is a marathon, not a sprint, and doggedly focusing on the basics for a long period of time is still the key to getting there.

All in all I really liked Deadlift Dynamite. While I don’t use a lot of bench pressing in my programs and the powerlifting focused workouts aren’t exactly what I’d recommend for someone getting 3+ days a week in on the mats, getting stronger in the the deadlift and squat are keys to a BJJ athlete’s success.

If you struggle with the deadlift or squat then the progressions covered in the book will really help speed up your learning curve. Even if you have them down pretty good you’ll still get something from the advanced tips to help you squeeze a little more tension and strength out of them. I’ve got those two lifts down pretty good and I got some great tips out of it.


I’ve often said that a BJJ athlete needs to be able to do a 1.5 – 2 X bodyweight deadlift and I know that a lot of you reading this can’t do that just yet. When you do everything else you do on the mat will seem much easier and you’ll have much more core and grip strength to put into your rolling.

If you haven’t reached that goal yet then check out Deadlift Dynamite, it is sure to give you a big boost on your way there.

-James Wilson-


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