In keeping with my December theme of sharing my list of "Best Evers" with you, I'd like to share some 'Best Evers' that have really helped me with my workouts.
The first is a technique, the second is advice.
The technique I want to share with you is the hook grip.
If you are a big-time dead lifter then you most likely use an overhand/underhand grip when the weights start to get heavy.
I was the exact same way.
Any time I attempted a dead lift above 400 pounds, I moved to an over-under grip. I did my best to make sure I evened this out each set (left hand over, right hand under, followed by right hand over, left hand under).
After years of dead lifting using this grip I had developed chronic lower back pain, and a NOTICEABLY more developed right erector muscle and right trapezius muscle.
(Noticeable to the point that every time I took my shirt off, someone would feel the need to point it out that the right side of my back was bigger than the left side of my back...).
Long story short - My back is now fine (and symmetrical), but it took some rehab work and about 5 years off from dead lifting.
So my best ever for you is this - If you love dead lifting, then try the hook Grip.
It is an awkward but effective way to handle big weights without having to resort to the dreaded over-under grip.
Basically, you grip the bar with a standard overhand grip, but with a hook grip your thumb goes UNDER your first two fingers....imagine making a fist with your thumb tucked in.
Essentially, your first two fingers "hook" your thumb into place so the bar doesn't role out of your grip.
It's a really tricky technique, but if you love dead lifting and are pulling big weights then the hook grip may be useful to you.
I found great benefits from this grip, (including finally being able to dead lift again), so hopefully you may also find some benefit.
OK...on to my best ever workout advice...
My best ever workout advice is to understand WHY you are working out. You need to define your purpose.
My workouts improved IMMENSELY when I finally figured out why I workout.
I lift weights to try to build muscle.
I do NOT go to the gym to burn fat.
This realization has saved me from hours of wasted time in the gym. My workouts build muscle and the WAY I EAT burns fat. (or, more correctly the way I DON'T eat burns body fat)
By keeping this focus, I am able to constantly remind myself WHY I am in the gym, and WHY I eat the way I do.
I've admitted to myself the awful truth that you can't correct a bad diet with an hour of 'cardio' a couple times a week.
(Treadmills are a great way to stay in your comfort zone, but a BAD way to lose body fat)
I'm not sure why I ever thought an extra 20 minutes of walking on a treadmill after my workout would be anything other than a complete waste of 20 minutes, but by admitting this and keeping my focus in the gym, it saved me a lot of time and frustration.
Plus, it kept me honest with my diet...once you admit that cardio can't fix a bad diet, you will get hit with a HUGE incentive to watch how you eat and make sure you are doing the things you need to do to lose weight and keep it off.
So my best advice workout is to not get side tracked, and do your best not to fall for the "comfort zone" mentality and believing that all is standing between you and your ideal body is an hour on the elliptical a couple times a week.
Remember your purpose - workout for muscle, eat for weight loss.