Revolutionising Strength Training: The Tommy Kono Loosening Deadlift Method

In the annals of weightlifting history, few names shine as brightly as Tommy Kono. Kono, a legend in his own right, not only shattered records but also introduced innovative techniques that revolutionised strength training practices. Among his pioneering contributions is the Loosening Deadlift method—a technique that promises to elevate your strength training regimen to unprecedented heights. This comprehensive guide dives deep into the essence of the Loosening Deadlift, unfolding its steps, benefits, and the profound impact it can have on athletes across all levels.

Understanding the Loosening Deadlift Technique

The Loosening Deadlift is more than just a variation of the conventional deadlift; it’s a holistic approach that integrates relaxation and precision to unlock the full potential of your body’s lifting capabilities. But what sets it apart from traditional methods? It’s the emphasis on the body’s strategic relaxation and deliberate movement through each phase of the lift.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Loosening Deadlift

1. Starting Position: Stand upright with your legs straight and heels together, holding the bar with straps to ensure no tension in the arms.

2. Initial Movement: Begin by tilting your head forward, allowing your shoulders to slump. This will allow the bar to hang at arm’s length.

3. Upper Back Curve: Progress by tucking your chin into your chest, further curving your upper back and deepening the shoulder slump.

4. Mid-Back Transition: Lower the barbell by transferring the curve from your upper to your middle back, feeling the “stretching” sensation migrate.

5. Full Back Curve: Aim for a smooth, continuous curve from your hips to the base of your neck, focusing on stretching the middle back.

6. Final Stretch: Complete the curve transfer to feel the stretch in your lower back and hamstrings, maintaining relaxed arms throughout.

Here I am performing a MOD Loosening Deadlift with toes raised, and toes pointed inward.


The Science Behind the Loosening Deadlift

This technique is grounded in the principles of biomechanics and physiology. By promoting a rounded back and relaxed posture, the Loosening Deadlift reduces the leverage against the spine, minimising the risk of injury. This method also enhances flexibility and enables a greater range of motion, facilitating a more effective and safer lift.

The Legacy of Tommy Kono

Tommy Kono’s influence extends far beyond the records he set; his innovative training methods and willingness to challenge conventional wisdom have left an indelible mark on the world of weightlifting. His achievements, including the 700-pound deadlift, were a testament to the efficacy of his unconventional approaches.

Breaking Myths and Setting Records

Kono’s career was a narrative of breaking barriers and setting new benchmarks. His method of lifting on empty lungs and employing a rounded back was revolutionary, offering a safer alternative to the traditional advice dispensed by experts of his time. Moreover, Kono shattered the myth regarding the age at which an athlete’s prime occurs, achieving his 725-pound deadlift record in his 40th year and continuing to lift significant weights well into his 50s.

Implementing the Loosening Deadlift in Your Routine

Incorporating the Loosening Deadlift into your training routine can significantly improve your flexibility, posture, and overall lifting performance. However, adapting the technique according to your fitness level is crucial, ensuring safety and maximising the benefits.

Customising the Technique for Different Fitness Levels

For beginners, it’s advisable to start with lighter weights to get accustomed to the form and sensation of the technique. Intermediate and advanced lifters can gradually increase the weight, focusing on maintaining the integrity of the form throughout the lift.


Q: How does the Loosening Deadlift differ from traditional deadlifts?

Unlike traditional deadlifts, the Loosening Deadlift emphasises relaxation and a rounded back, promoting flexibility and reducing leverage against the spine.

Q: Is the Loosening Deadlift safe for beginners?

Yes, when performed correctly and with appropriate weights, it’s safe and beneficial for lifters of all levels.

Q: Can the Loosening Deadlift improve my conventional deadlift performance?

Absolutely. The flexibility and strength gained from this method can enhance overall performance in conventional deadlifts.


Tommy Kono’s Loosening Deadlift is a testament to the power of innovation in the realm of strength training. By embracing this method, athletes can safeguard themselves against injuries and unlock new levels of strength and flexibility. Kono’s legacy, characterised by breaking myths and setting records, continues to inspire and guide athletes worldwide, proving that the limits of strength are boundless with the right technique. 

Happy Deadlifting and getting stronger. 

Further Reading Links

Tommy Kono’s Official Biography

Articles on the Biomechanics of Deadlifting

Research Studies on the Benefits of Flexibility and Strength Training

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