How to Deadlift Properly

The deadlift is known as one of the most efficient exercises of all time. This is because the exercise targets nearly all of the major muscles in the body. It primarily targets the hamstrings, your quads, the lower back, the shoulders, the arms and your very core. That is why it is very important for you to include this exercise in your workout. The exercise simply mimics almost any activity that you perform daily or when you play sports. However, it is essential for you to learn how to perform the exercise with proper form and execution.

Step 1.

Start this exercise by placing a loaded barbell in front of you. then begin by leaning forward by bending on your knees and grasp the barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing toward you), approximately shoulder width apart. At this point of the exercise, keep your back straight at all times to avoid injury or strain.

Step 2.

While maintaining the position above, drive with your legs by planting your heels on the floor as you contract your abs. straighten your legs as you stand up with your chests out, head looking forward and your shoulders back.

Step 3.

Lower the weights by bending at the waist, bending the knees and by lowering the weight until it almost touches the ground. Repeat the whole process again for your next repetition.

There are certain guidelines that you must remember as you perform this deadlift on your next workout day.

  • Keep your arms straight throughout the exercise with your elbow locked out. Imagine them as hooks that purposefully hold the barbell as you move through the whole exercise.
  • Keep your back in a natural arch while keeping your torso upright at all times. Bending forward or hunching forward puts stress to the delicate intervertebral discs and to the muscles of the lower back. Performing this exercise in such manner causes injury.
  • To maintain proper position, keep your chests out and your head up as you perform each rep.
  • To make sure that the lift is focused and is easier to handle, keep the barbell as close to your shins as possible during the lowering and the lifting phase of the exercise.
  • Put your weight on your heels by driving them down to the floor instead of performing the exercise on the balls of your foot. Performing the act with the latter technique causes more stress to your feet allowing you to lose control of the loads.
  • There are different variations that you can do with this exercise such as the alternating grip, with one of your hands facing away from you and the other facing towards you, and the underhand grip with both your palms facing away from you. try these hand grip variations during your next back workout. the alternating grips are recommended when performing the exercise with heavy weights or when you feel your forearms give out before your back.
  • Make sure that when bending the bar or lowering the bar to the ground, bend on your knees just when the bar reaches knee level and not before. Doing so might inure your knees by hitting the bar halfway down.

To help you more with this guide, here are some of the most common mistakes that most gym rats and beginners make when performing the exercise. so watch out for them and correct your form as soon as possible.

  1. One of the most common mistakes that men make is when lifters take the weights off the rack then perform the exercise. Unlike the barbell rows or the squats where you begin from the rack, the real essence of the exercise starts when you perform the exercise by lifting it off the ground. Not doing so minimizes the strict movement that must be utilized in this exercise.
  2. Another mistake that people make when doing this exercise is when they roll their shoulders at the top position. Doing such may cause damage to your shoulder especially to your rotator cuffs. Just imagine your arms as hooks holding the weights and just maintain a straight locked out position throughout the whole move. Keep your shoulders back and down at all times.
  3. Hitting the knees. Hitting your knees when dead lifting is a common mistake as mentioned above. Start bending your knees just when the bar reaches knee level to avoid this mistake. Push your hips back before bending your legs as you lower the weights down.
  4. Another example of a mistake performed is when people curl the weights as they perform the upward phase. Doing such may cause injury to your biceps tendon since the weight that you may be dead lifting may be too much for your biceps to curl. If you want bigger biceps, a separate exercise will be more efficient for you.
  5. Leaning backwards as you stand. This common mistake causes back injuries such as slipped discs. As much as possible, when you stand, maintain a natural position as you straighten up and avoid leaning backwards.
  6. Not lifting with the appropriate shoe wear. Certain shoes such as running shoes or shoes filled with gel or air at the soles compromises your balance as you perform heavy exercises such as the one mentioned in this article. This may cause you to sway sideways which puts you at risk for ankle and knee injuries. It is preferable to use certain flat and more stable hard soles such as Chuck Taylors or simply doing the exercise bare foot.
  7. Another mistake is when you start the exercise with your hips too low. This causes the weight to be lifted too much forward which outs strain to your lower back and lessens strength gains. It is best to start with your hips at a higher angle, approximate this with your shoulder blades directly over the barbell.


So these are the proper techniques that you can use when doing the deadlift. Follow these hints and tips so you can strictly execute the exercise as you progress. Of course, proper execution and form are important in order for you to achieve your fitness gains and to avoid injuries.

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