Written from somewhere cold on December 23.

Happy Festivus!

As you may know, I am a huge Seinfeld fan. Easily the best comedy in recent memory on TV, bar none.

Even though I have seen all the episodes multiple times, I still laugh at them.

One of my favorites was the episode about Festivus.

For those who have not seen that one, it involves 3 main items

1) A Festivus aluminum pole
2) The Airing of Grievances
3) Feats of Strength

My kind of Holiday since it involves strength.

While I don’t have a festivus pole as my wife prefers the standard Christmas tree instead (which I would have to agree with her on) .

Festivus Feats of Strength

Even if you want to lose some fat (which is a great goal), getting stronger is a great since it increases muscle.

More muscle = a faster metabolism in addition to looking much better too.

One of my favorite ways to get stronger via a Feat of Strength is the deadlift.

Now, I am sure you have a picture of some 300 lb powerlifter stomping up to a bar loaded down with a massive amount of weight and you are thinking……I don’t like those kinds of deadlifts.

A deadlift is just a technical term for picking something off the floor and setting it down again.

This can be everything from heavy weights in the gym, to your kids, to groceries or even just the laundry.

The stronger you get at doing many types of deadlifts, the easier your life will be on all your other tasks.
….and it is the fast road to looking better at the same time!

Fetivus Feats of Strength Tip

Today’s tip is to find a way that works for you to pick things up in the gym.

For some of you, that may be a standard deadlift with 2,3,4,5,6 plates a side. Awesome!

For others, it may just be some kettlebells or dumbbells. Equally awesome!

The key is to find a method that works for YOUR body and as always, it should not cause any pain.

Two Forgotten Strength Exercises For a Merry Festivus!

Option 1 – Kettlebell or Dumbbell Deadlifts

Set up a pair of kettlebells (KBs) or even dumbbells (DBs) with one on each side of your body.

Bend down, using your knees and keeping your back relatively flat, pick them up and stand up.

Ideally, your ankles, knees and hips will all move at the SAME speed.
If that is too hard, set them on a blocks (phone books work well) to elevate them off the floor a bit.

Once it tests well, work to add more volume, density and intensity (overload) over time.

Option 2 – Jefferson Deadlift

Oh ya! You heard it heard first, the Jefferson deadlift is on a comeback and you will see it performed more this year.

Probably not in any Planet Fitness, but my prediction is that it will be more popular (which may not really be that hard since nobody has really heard of it now).

How To Do a Jefferson Deadlift

Walk up to a bar loaded with plates on each end.

Take one leg and step OVER the bar, placing it between your legs now.

Bend down, grab the bar (both palms down to start), and stand up.

It may take some time to figure out how to get it right, so feel free to externally rotate your feet a bit and you will be more turned one direction or the other.

(Attached is one of my Jefferson deadlifts from my trusty ol’ garage gym.)

Work to add more to your deadlifts over time.  More volume, a better density and greater intensity over time.

Even if you are pulling heavy weight on a conventional or sumo deadlift, start light on these as the stress is VERY different.

Don’t send me hate mail the next day when your core is so sore that it hurts to laugh at the Christmas dinner and sitting up in bed takes massive will power.


Now you can celebrate Festivus in style with more strength and muscle.

The key is to work within your limits, and you will expand them.

If you are only at a 135 lb Jefferson deadlift, work from there. No need to try to go beyond your current limits. Getting better is the objective, not trying to impress your neighbors or keep up with everyone else.

Work to add more volume, density and intensity than YOU have done in the past.

Try out these 2 options and let me know what you think.

See if you can come up with 3-12 more ways to pick things up and set them down. Your body will thank you!

Rock on!
Mike T Nelson