Archives For deadlift jack

My PR scoreboard has been getting a lot of action this past week:

Front Squat: 390 lb (+20 lb PR)

Did this on Wednesday after getting 380 lb (+10 lb PR). I missed 390 lb the first time because I didn't take a big enough breath before descending.

I find that it's hard to take a huge breath with a bar racked on the front of my shoulders. The belt is tight around my waist, so it doesn't seem like I can get much air by belly breathing. Also since the bar is racked across my shoulders, if I try to breath in into my chest, the loaded bar prevents much air from getting in because it's "pushing down" on my chest and not allowing my chest to expand.

Maybe I'm not breathing properly. I think I'm going to have to focus on shrugging my shoulders up a bit more when I unrack the bar or try harder to belly breathe, or both.

Low Bar Squat: 460 lb x 3 (+20 lb PR)

On Friday, the right side underneath my ribs felt a bit sore (probably from those front squats for some reason). I was a bit hesitant to go for a PR or two, but it felt better as I warmed up, so heck, why not?

Also, I wore a singlet to get used to the feel of wearing a singlet. Even though I have a 2XL singlet from Titan, which is supposed to be for people weighing 242-275lbs (I'm roughly 200 lb), it' put it bluntly, ball crushing at times, especially in the hole during the squat.

The weight felt pretty light coming out of the rack, so I was pretty sure that I could hit 3 reps.

This upcoming week I'm going to try for a new 2 rep max at 480 lb x 2. I would not be surprised if I hit 3 reps though.

If that happens, then I would try for 500 lb x 2. That would be pretty awesome, and I'm sure I would want to hold the last rep ("I WANNA HOLD IT!" - Captain Kirk). We'll see how things turn out in the upcoming weeks.

High Bar Squat: 460 lb x 3 (+20 lb PR)

I like the feel of a near perfect rep, but for the last rep on this set, it was slow and ugly and I had to grind it out. I think the problem was that I didn't tighten my back (especially my lats) before descending.

Currently my low and high bar squat numbers are nearly identical (with main difference being the 1RM, where my low bar squat is 515 lb and my high bar squat max is 500 lb), but I think that as the weight continues to increase, my low bar squat will start to pull away at 3RM or less.

Reverse Grip Bench Press: 330 lb x 4

I was aiming for 5 reps, but I slipped.

Man, I'm going to have to start changing shirts before attempting PRs and/or start looking for some shirts with some sticky rubbery stuff on the back (if there is such a thing).

Next time, I'm going to try for a new 3 rep max at 350 lb x 3. Previous best was 2 reps with 350 lb.

Benching 3 Times Per Week

In an effort to get in even more paused bench presses as practice, and maybe even a bigger bench, I'm going to start bench pressing 3x per week instead of 2, at least for the next month or so. That means that overhead presses will take a back seat until the powerlifting meet in June is over. I'll probably throw them in once a week as a warmup or at the end of the workout.

At least on the surface, there seems to get a relationship between a bigger bench (or bigger <insert lift here>) and frequency of performing the lift. Smolov Jr for bench presses have you benching 4 times per week, and some (maybe all? Not sure) variants of Sheiko gets you bench pressing 3 times per week. Well, I'm not going to be doing any sort of specific bench pressing bro-gram, but just throwing in a bench press workout on Wednesday, something along the lines of working up to a few heavy paused singles, and then some paused back off sets.

I hope I don't screw things up!

Stuff You Should Read

  1. Cheap Deadlift Bar Jack Alternative: 2 Ton Jack Stands! By Me (John Phung)
  2. John Phung – Squat and OHP PRs by Brandon Goris (Pretty cool that I got mentioned on this site. is full of monsters, and I want to be a monster too!)
  3. How Does Foam Rolling Work? By Todd Hargrove
  4. Stop Doing Corrective Exercises! by Dean Somerset

Loading and unloading 45 lb plates on and off the bar for deadlifts used to be a huge pain in the ass for me.

I didn’t do anything except try to force the plate onto the bar, which sometimes became a workout in itself.

I was thinking of making a DIY deadlift bar jack out of some steel pipes, but I didn’t want to go through the hassle of figuring out how to make one.

So I started placing a small 2.5 lb plate underneath the innermost 45 lb plate to prop up the bar slightly to add (or remove) plates, however, the problem with this is if there is a gap between the innermost 45 lb plate and the sleeve, you cannot push it in so that it is flush with the side of the sleeve.

Dat Gap.

Dat Gap.

Personally I like all my plates to be as close to each other as possible so it doesn’t end up rattling when I lift.

The other day I saw a pair of jack stands (also known as axle stands) on sale in an online flyer for Canadian Tire (a Canadian hardware store) and I thought, “hey, these could work as a deadlift jack!”

So I headed on over to the store and picked up a pair.

There were many sizes available, but I went with the smallest ones which are rated for 2 tons. The bigger jack stands seemed like it would be an overkill if it was only going to be used as a deadlift jack, and they also appeared a little too tall, which could make placing the bar on the jack stands more difficult.

These jack stands are designed to hold up a small car. It’s rated for 2 tons, which is 4000 lb. FOUR THOUSAND! That’s 2000 lb for each stand. I don’t think I’ll be using anywhere close to 2000 lb, let alone 4000 lb, so I’m pretty sure these will hold up to whatever weight I put on the bar.

How To Use A Jack Stand As A Deadlift Jack

Simple, really.

Tilt one of the stands at an angle with the top facing the bar.

Then, with one or two hands, pull the bar until the bar sits on top of the jack stands.

That’s it! Here’s some pictures below that shows me demonstrating this:

Deadlift Bar Jack

Deadlift Bar Jack

Deadlift Bar Jack

Deadlift Jack

Deadlift Jack

Deadlift Jack

Why Jack Stands Are Better Than A Deadlift Jack

The main reason why they’re better than a deadlift jack, and one of the main reasons why I purchased these, is that the height of the axle stands can be adjusted. The height of my jack stands can be adjusted from 10 1/4” to 16 1/4” or 26 cm to 41.2 cm.

Deadlift Jack

With a deadlift jack (or mini jack), the height is fixed. Check out the pictures below to see what I mean:

Rogue Bar Jack

Full Sized Deadlift Bar Jack

Mini Deadlift Bar Jack

Mini Deadlift Bar Jack

So when I perform mat pulls, and the height of the bar and plates are elevated higher than ground level by rubber mats, I can adjust of the jack stands to accommodate for the additional height.

Deadlift Jack

Potential Problems

The main problem with the jack stands is that the metal is damn tough. I don’t know what kind of metal they use (I am not a metal expert), but maybe it’s something close to the Asgardian metal "Uru" or even Adamantium.

The first time I jacked my B&R bar onto the jack stands, the knurling on the bar grinded off somehow! I used to think that the B&R bar had some really strong steel, because it grinded off some of the metal on my J-hooks and made imprints of it’s knurling on the safeties of my power rack. But it is no match for the jack stands.

It’s a little hard to see, but here’s the damage done to my bar:

B&R Bar Knurling

B&R Bar Knurling

So what I have done (and what I recommend to do first before placing your bar onto the stands), is put some sort of barrier between the bar and the top of the jack stands in order to protect the knurling of the bar. I used some velcro strip (the soft, fuzzy side, not the hard, scratchy side) with a sticker on the back that I got from the Dollarstore earlier and stuck it onto the top of the jack stand.

Jack Stands

I’ve tried using a strip of rubber that I cut from a rubber inner bike tube, but the rubber ended up in the knurling of the bar.

Additionally, the base of the jack stands that I own do not have feet. In other words, the base is not have a flat surface. Rather, it’s just a thin edge of metal, meaning that the all the weight of the bar and plates on top of the stands can end up leaving an imprint on the ground. I have some rubber mats that used to be part of a Crossfit gym, and they’re quite durable. So far I have not seen any damage to my rubber floor mats.

Jack Stands


A pair of 2 ton jack stands for around $20 is a cheap way to make loading and unloading plates for the deadlift and other ground-based lifts a lot easier.

These things are designed to hold up a car, but I’m just using them in my home gym. At the very least, they’ll get used once a week (hopefully) so I’ll get my money’s worth.

You can be the envy of all your friends and pick up a full sized deadlift bar jack for over $160 (or a mini deadlift bar jack for over $60), or be frugal guy like me and grab a pair of 2 ton jack stands when they’re on sale for cheap.

If it’s good enough to hold up a small car, it’s good enough to lift up one side of the bar with whatever weight you’re planning on using.