Updated: May 13
Deadlifts are an excellent exercise that can help build strength in your legs, back, and core. The deadlift is a compound movement that can increase your strength significantly and can transfer over to increased strength in other movements. There are many differing opinions on whether the deadlift is even an exercise worth incorporating into your routine because of risk vs. reward considerations. The rewards can definitely outweigh the risk of any potential injury if you mitigate the risk with proper form and progressive overload. They can be intimidating for beginners who are not familiar with the proper form. In this article, we will break down how to perform the deadlift into simple steps that anyone can follow:
Step 1: Set up your feet
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. Your feet should be under the barbell, and the barbell should be close to your shins. The bar should be positioned over the middle of your foot.
Step 2: Get in position
Bend down and grab the bar with an overhand grip that is slightly wider than shoulder-width. Your hands should be outside your knees. Keep your chest up and your back straight, and look straight ahead. Your shoulders should be directly above the bar. Many will use a mixed grip, which helps the bar from rolling in your hand and providing a stronger grip. However, if overused the mixed grip can lead to muscle imbalances. To improve your grip of the bar you could use chalk or lifting straps.
Step 3: Prepare to lift
Take a deep breath and brace your core. Wearing a belt will further mitigate any risk of injury and will help stabilize your spine and keep your back straight. As you inhale, push your hips back and bend your knees slightly. Your weight should be on your heels.
Step 4: Lift the bar
Push your feet into the ground, drop your butt towards the ground, and stand up straight. As you lift the bar, keep it close to your body this will help with lever mechanics. Your hips and shoulders should rise at the same time. Keep your back straight and avoid rounding your shoulders or lower back. To do this focus on keeping your spine straight and flex your shoulder blades.
Step 5: Lower the bar
Lower the bar back down to the ground by bending at the hips and knees. Keep the bar close to your body and your back straight. Lower the bar until it touches the ground, then repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Tips for a successful deadlift:
- Keep your core tight throughout the lift and use a belt and straps if desired
- Avoid rounding your back or shoulders
- Keep the bar close to your body
- Lift with your legs, not your back, your back should be engaged only when straightening your spine at the top of the movement
- Focus on your form rather than the weight you are lifting and if adding more weight focus on progressive overload
Deadlifts can be a challenging exercise, but with proper form and technique, anyone can do them safely and effectively. Remember to start with lighter weights and focus on your form before progressing to heavier weights. The deadlift offers many benefits: Improving strength and exercise performance, boosting your metabolism, and increasing hormones. By following these simple steps, you can build strength and improve your overall fitness.
Before starting any fitness program or making dietary changes, including supplementation, please consult your physician for a thorough examination.