Steps to heavenly technique
Very few exercises stimulate growth like the deadlift does. As well as being one of the main exercises used as a benchmark of overall strength, the deadlift is relatively simple to execute and a big strength and mass builder! Unfortunately, it is also one of the exercises many people think they do correctly, but don’t.
Below, i’ve split this King Strength Builder into 8 easy to highlight steps, which will have you well on your way to perfecting your deadlift. The advice below is for the conventional Regular deadlift.
1. Stand with feet slightly narrower than shoulder width, with the bar over the middle of the feet. Note that I said feet, not trainers. Feet can be angled out slightly. This will allow you to establish a better back angle.
2. Bend at the waist, keeping legs straight, gripping the bar with a tight overhand grip. A split grip of overhand & underhand can also be used.
3. Now bend the knees until the shins touch the bar. The bar should be over the middle of the feet, with shoulder blades directly above the bar. This should establish the correct back angle for the lift.
4. Taking a deep breath, (try to hold in the breath as this will protect the spine) take the tension of the bar. Maintaining neutral alignment in the neck, lift the chest and pull your shoulder blades back and down, looking forward at a point roughly 15-18 feet in front of you. This will allow you to gauge your body position throughout the movement.
5. Once the bar has passed the knee, drive the hips through & the chest forward as you pull the shoulders back. Some people may feel the benefit of using the latissimus dorsi to pull the bar upwards towards the waist. Hyper extension of the hips is unnecessary, locking out is the
aim. Try to maintain the deep breath as this will support the back and core.
6. Once the bar has passed the knee, drive the hips through & the chest forward as you pull the shoulders back. Some people may feel the benefit of using the latissimus dorsi to pull the bar upwards towards the waist. Hyper extension of the hips is unnecessary, locking out is the aim. Try to maintain the deep breath as this will support the back and core as we mentioned earlier.
7. The eccentric (lowering) part of the movement will be performed much quicker than the concentric part. Lower the bar by pushing the hips back and when the bar reaches the knee, start to bend the knees. Don’t try to control the weight too much, just go down with it.
8. Keep the chest up and your focus forward as this will stop you from rounding the back & which is better for the back.
Anatomy of a Deadlift 2*TIP 1: When deadlifting, use flat soled shoes such as Converse Chuck Taylors, Adidas Boxing shoes or as a last resort, bare foot like Arnie. This will allow you the proper stability when pushing through the heels.
*TIP 2: Avoid using wrist straps where possible. Relying on wrist straps will not only take away the added grip strength benefits, but will also place stress on the wrists where the straps dig in. Use straps for big PB efforts.
*TIP 3: Need some added grip? Chalk up!
Climbing chalk and powerlifting chalk reduces moisture on the skin, which is how calluses form. If your gym doesn’t allow the use of chalk, your gym sucks & you should trade up!
Deadlifting is a great exercise for adding size and strength, but despite its benefits, it is also an exercise which should be respected. Care should be taken as it is east to become injured when not performed correctly. It is always advisable to warm up thoroughly before attempting any heavy lifts, even more so for exercises such as the deadlift. Instead of using a mirror to gauge your position, ask a training partner to watch your form or better yet, video it & ask an elite level strength & conditioning coach (ahem) to analyse your form.
written by: Cris Bradley BSc Hons/NSCA/CSCA/ACSM-PT