When I first saw a video on Deadspin of the Undertaker deadlifting 405 pounds, I was underwhelmed. A Deadlift of 405 pounds isn't that impressive for a guy who weighs 300 pounds—it's less than 1.5 times his body weight.
And he's actually doing a Rack Pull, which means the bar is elevated on the rack at the bottom of the exercise to reduce the range of motion and make it easier to perform. Basically, it allows anyone to lift heavier weight.
So 405? Pfffttttt. No big deal!
Then I thought about it more, and I had to completely change my initial opinion. The Undertaker's Deadlift is pretty impressive, and here's why:
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He's 50 Years Old. And he's been wrestling for 31 years. Just the fact that he's able to train at a high level is impressive in its own right. He has a ton of wear and tear on his body, and doing a Deadlift through the full range of motion is probably not the wisest choice, especially considering...
He's 6-Foot-10. True, the Undertaker isn't lifting the bar off the ground, but keep in mind that he is a freaking giant. It makes complete sense for someone of his size to do a Rack Pull instead of a traditional Deadlift. We see people 8 inches shorter than him using the handles on the Trap Bar Deadlift, which essentially does the same thing as a Rack Pull, because of mobility limitations.
He Makes it Look Fairly Easy. He's not lifting a ton of weight. Plenty of people much smaller than him can deadlift a lot more weight. However, he seems to be moving the weight fairly easily. At no point does it appear like he's struggling, which indicates this is well below his max.
He Probably Isn't Training for a Max Deadlift. For all the heroes out there who immediately think this Deadlift is crap, I encourage you to think of what he's doing in the context of his career. Can other people deadlift more? Of course! Many people can deadlift well above 405 pounds—you might even be among them. If that's the case, building a ginormous Deadlift is probably one of your goals. For the Undertaker, I'd argue that he's trying primarily to stay injury-free while maintaining or building strength. He could probably care less about building his Deadlift.
He's Training With Joe DeFranco. DeFranco is one of the elite strength coaches in the industry. I trust that DeFranco has the Undertaker working with exactly the weight he needs to accomplish his goals.
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