Every muscle in the body is involved in the deadlift. The benefits of this full-body exercise ranges from building functional strength, muscle mass, and facilitating good posture through the continual use of proper form.
Unfortunately, many perform the deadlift incorrectly and label this exercise as ‘dangerous’ when hurting themselves. When using these steps, not only will the entire body be utilized and maximized efficiently during the lift, but the risk of injury will be completely negated.
Everything begins with the feet. Approach the center of barbell and have the bar directly over the feet. It should seem as though your foot is cut in half when looking down from above.
The distance between the feet should be the distance you would have if you attempted to jump over the bar.
Have the feet pointing straight ahead but ‘spread the floor’ when doing so to rotate the knees outward as much as possible with the feet in the same position.
This will help engage the glutes and the hamstrings help add more torque during the lift.
Bend at the knee until the shins touch the bar.
Without removing the shins from the bar, move bring the hips back until the hands are able to grip the bar just outside of the legs. The closer the hands are to each other, the shorter the distance the bar must travel.
A stretch should be felt in the hamstrings and glutes.
The chest and head should be up to facilitate the protective and natural arch of the spine.
You are now ready to pull. A common mistake is to pull ‘up.’ This will make the leverage disadvantageous by bringing the barbell away from the body. What you want to do is place your weight on the heels and pull back.
This will cause you to drag the bar up the legs and keep it close to the body, making the lift easier and safer, as pulling up makes it much more likely for the back to round.
As the barbell passes the knees on the way up shoot the hips forward and flex the glutes to lock out the bar.
To safely lower the weight, bring the hips back until the bar reaches knee level. Once there, bend the knee until the bar reaches the ground.
Whenever possible, lower the weight with a flat spine as well for optimal safety
1. Squeeze the bar as hard you can. This will help engage the rest of the body and keep hold of the bar when the weight becomes heavy.
2. Normally, a double-overhand grip is used to grab the bar. Although, using a mixed grip (one hand overhand and one underhand) will improve grip for heavier weights as well.
3. Keep the arms locked. The arms should never bend, especially when using a mixed grip. This will put you at risk for a bicep tear.
4. Lastly, remember to pull fast. The faster you are able to pull, the more power is generated, allowing you lift more weight. Practice doing this while maintaining proper form with lighter weights and slowly add resistance once the technique is on point.