Using block pulls to increase your deadlift sometimes gets a bad rap. Why you ask? Well, because some lifters might be using them for the wrong reasons. Some coaches may even call them a waste of time, but again it's all based on the reason.
If you are using a block pull to fix your inability to pull the weight off the floor, you are quite simply wasting your time.
If you are using a block pull for the following three primary reasons (other than adding volume), the movement variation can be quite useful:
1. You have trouble maintaining tension once you have pulled the weight from the floor.
2. You have trouble getting your hips through and knees locked once the weight is off the floor.
3. You have trouble getting into position to pull from the ground (injury, hip tightness, height, weight...).
When executing the block pull think about the point in the lift are you attempting to strengthen. This will determine how high you place the blocks. The blocks should allow the bar to start somewhere above mid shin and below the knee when working to build strength for the deadlift. At this point, the set up will be somewhat similar to the way you set up from the floor minus the fact that your hips do not need to be as low (think about the fact that the bar is starting as if you are already off the ground).
1. Start with your shins approximately 1" away from the bar.
2. Reach down for the bar using the grip that is most comfortable for you.
3. Drive shins into the bar, knees out against your elbows.
4. Push your chest out (tall), internally rotate elbows to engage lats, brace your core.
5. Pull the bar up your legs, drive your hips through and shoulders back.
What are the benefits of a block pull you ask? Block Pulls & Rack Pulls can improve the speed of your hips,
Are there other ways to improve any of the points listed above, of course! Some may use paused deadlifts (for another day) and some may use more isolated movements. There are many ways to get the job done, you just have to make sure its the right way for you and what you are trying to achieve.
Until next time - Happy LIfting!