Deadlift ERIC KIM


Why deadlifts can transform the world (and you!)


I think as an Asian-American male, I’ve always had an insecurity bias. A bias that:

Asian guys have small dicks, and are physically inferior to other races.

Thus I made it one of my life goals to test this assumption for myself:

If I gave it my 100% effort and training — how strong could I become?

One rep max attempts

To me, the notion of powerlifting and a ‘one rep max’ is insanely fascinating to me. Why? Many reasons:

  1. Less boring than pointless repetitions
  2. Raw numbers [higher] is good for your ego
  3. Going ‘super saiyan’ mode before your max attempt lift is phenomenal. to me, powerlifting is 99.9% mental.

anything is possible

I could say that my intellectual courage and mental courage totally shifted after I was able to deadlift ‘4 plates’ [405 pounds]. Why? After I finally lifted 405 pounds, I had this insane epiphany:

  • oh shit– I can do anything … if I just put my mind to it, put in the practice, and give it my 100% mental effort and courage!

training triumphs everything

Training and practice is everything. By no means do I have ‘good genetics’. My dad is a ‘skinny fat’ dude, my hands and wrists are relatively small, and I have a smaller frame compared to other strong guys at the gym. But still — my regimen of increasing my one-rep max attempt by 5 pounds every week seems to have been working [adding 2.5 pound weighs to each side of the barbell, every week].

With physical power comes mental power

I am convinced — if you got a strong body, you will gain a stronger mind. The stronger my body becomes, the stronger my mind becomes.

More philosophers should powerlift, and more powerlifters should philosophize

Since powerlifting, my mind has become 1000x more calm, strong, zen, stoic, and solid. After starting powerlifting, I’ve benefitted these ways:

  1. Improved mood
  2. improved love for my body and physique
  3. stronger willpower and mental fortitude
  4. more creative ideas come to me while at the gym
  5. less shyness when talking to strangers, and less shyness when shooting street photography
  6. less fear of pain and death.

we cannot be modern Spartans, but we can become modern day powerlifting heroes, blogging heroes, photo and video heroes — the ultimate you.

Become insanely epic.

everyone can powerlift. Any age, gender, body type.

it isn’t about competing against others, it is about competing against yourself a week prior.

How I hype myself up

before attempting a new “pr” (personal record) in your one rep max, I find it essential to hype myself up.


this is what I do:

  1. No music
  2. walk around a lot, drink water
  3. if I have coffee, drink a sip or two of coffee
  4. hype up my shoulders and keep walking around until I feel mentally prepared. I sometimes utter some mantras to myself like “monster” or “light weight baby! — Ronnie Coleman’s phrase).
  5. feeling mentally prepared: listen to your body.
  6. position myself, take my time
  7. strive to empty my mind
  8. before lifting, I do a power grunt, and then pull with all of my might
  9. my mind goes blank, and I totally become one with my body
  10. I strive to power up all my muscles and legs, to “lock out” the lift

Powerlifting tips

everyone’s internal rhythm is different, as their hype up routine. But my tips:

  1. Don’t feel pressured to be quiet. Be loud!
  2. take up lots of space in the gym
  3. for max deadlift attempt, use a mixed grip, and use some chalk for better grip.
  4. i like wearing the same outfit to the gym everyday for consistency. I like my outlier NYC merino wool t shirt, merino wool leggings and athletic shorts, and minimalist “water shoes” (no sole, no sock inside)— I bought them on amazon for $15.
  5. no belt: belt is unnecessary. I’ve proven you can lift big without a belt.
  6. i prefer fasting before powerlifting. More focus. More energy. More strength.
  7. i do a 15 minute yoga stretch, dynamic stretch routine before lifting. I focus on my hips (pigeon pose) and other poses. The more flexible in my hips, the higher my squat and deadlift has gone up.

Don’t fear failure

I fail a lot in powerlifting. Every week I attempt to increase my one rep max by 5 pounds. For example if I deadlifted 455 last week, this week I will try 460.

but I don’t always succeed. Sometimes I can get the weight off the ground half an inch, and I’m not strong enough to lift it. Or when I squat, I break parallel, and only get up 60% of the way, then bail the bar behind me (power rack). Or when doing heavy dumbbell press if I can’t get it up, I drop the weights to the side. Or when benching, if I can’t get it up I ask my spotter to help me.

failing is actually quite empowering in powerlifting. Why? You realize that failing isn’t a big deal and not scary! I actually think powerlifting is 1000x safer than any other sport, because you can control all the variables. In soccer you get tackled you can tear an Achilles. In basketball you can fuck up your ankles. Even riding a bicycle is more dangerous — get hit by a car and become paralyzed or even die.

Powerlifting isn’t dangerous— it is fun, challenging, and phenomenally interesting.

Discover your own body

We all truly to build our mind, but how rarely do we try to build our bodies?