3 best powerlifting variations for tricking

The 3 powerlifts are Deadlift, Back squat, and Bench press. So what are the best variations of these 3 lifts for tricking if we’re judging the variation based on injury prevention/rehabilitation, safety, explosiveness, and technical carryover?

Best squat variation = bodyweight pistol squat

This exercise is my #1 exercise for tricking. If I write you a training program for tricking the bodyweight pistol squat is probably going to be in it somehow. Here’s a short video I made about it:

Video summary:

  • A magical cure-all for lower body tricking injuries if done correctly.
  • Builds a particular kind of coordination-strength that seems to have 100% carryover to tricking/jumping.
  • Best trained body weight only, with lots of short sets not going to failure focusing on quality coordination.
  • Train with a little slant (olympic lifting shoes preferable)
  • Weighted pistol squats are a waste of time, but funny as a performance stunt.

Best deadlift variation = stop and go banded sumo deadlifts

Watch this short video I made on stop and go banded sumo deadlifts.

Video summary:

  • Stop and go deadlifts > Touch and go.
  • Sumo deadlift can be friendler in conjunction with tricking than the conventional deadlift.
  • Use the bands for speed training and for getting safer deadlifting pumps.
  • Always wear straps when training with bands.
  • Do not go to failure when training this exercise for tricking carryover.

Best bench press variation = bedpress

Watch this video of me doing the bed press.


Okay jokes aside: any barbell press variation is not going to carry over well to tricking. Why? Do them for 10 years in conjunction with tricking like me and pay attention to the results yourself. Oops. That’s a dick answer and not scientific. Science? Sure go root out some scientific studies on resistance training carryover to acrobatic tricking. Find anything yet? No? Well you’re fucked then, guess you just gotta take my word for it huh?

Look, if you want upper body training that specifically carries over well to tricking, you need something that involves whole body CONTROL. Hand balancing and ring training are the tickets for this control you seek. I’ve always chosen rings myself, you can read my ring training Q&A for more information on how I train rings.

11 Replies to “3 best powerlifting variations for tricking”

  1. birch says:

    Weighted Pistol Squats? Bat shit insane man…

  2. armando says:

    how many days/week should you perform pistol squats?

    1. Jujimufu says:

      The routine I posted is very friendly for frequent use. Whatever your use for it is, and how desperately you need the resulting therapeutic value of it (among other things) I’d say just start doing it everyday and back off when you get what you need from it, or back off if it actually is too much. Think of it like medicine. You take it to fix your problem, then you use less or none at all.

  3. Gareth says:

    Would you say handstand push ups or shoulder pressing weights be a useful carry overs? For helping things like front and back handsprings?

    1. Jujimufu says:

      Probably not, no. For hand springs handstand and bridge variations would be the most useful. And anything that stretches your thoracic spine (weighted pvc rolls on upper back, and hangs from a pullup bar).

  4. Keithen says:

    I’ve been trying to pistol squat for personal reasons of fixing my lower body but I can’t seem to get it right and I sometimes just end up hurting myself a little. Any tips on how to progress into a pistol squat??? By the way your awesome!

    1. Jujimufu says:

      Nothing extraordinary. Just use a wedge for your base foot, and hold onto something for support. Start light, build up. NO matter how hard it is, you CAN figure out a way to work it without aggravating your lower back, and instead, rehabilitate it. Good luck!

  5. Alexander says:

    This is great, what’s your thoughts on the 90-Degree HSPU for tricking (plus it could be done anywhere with no equipment), it’s like a bench, incline and OHP wrapped in one.

    1. Benjamin says:

      “Look, if you want upper body training that specifically carries over well to tricking, you need something that involves whole body CONTROL. Hand balancing and ring training are the tickets for this control you seek.”

      I’m pretty sure they would be great since they involve whole body control. It is basically hand balancing.

      1. Jujimufu says:

        Indeed, Hand Balancing is a great addition to tricking in terms of the carryover for what it provides. Especially for capoeria type tricks and other ground based moves, or anything where the hand touches the ground in general.

  6. God says:

    Given that the hex-bar and Deadsquat bar Deadlifts are (mostly) more ergonomic, safe, require less coordination to execute properly, and are better for training explosiveness than the conventional DL, I must ask what are you’re thoughts on their role in tricking and bodybuilding?

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