How to deadlift properly : A quickfire guide

Premium exercises : The Deadlift

The deadlift. A lift often feared by the average gym-goer.

“You’ll damage your back!”

But how true really is this? Well. It is and it isn’t. Like almost any exercise, you can get hurt doing it. But this is when you don’t use the correct form and lift beyond your limits.

This is a compound exercise, which we have established as being the use of multiple muscle groups. This is a top tier exercise that should be learnt early on in your gym journey. Besides just being needed for the actual lift, it is necessary to use the same form when picking most heavy iron from the floor. For example, lifting those big 36kg dumbbells onto your knees before sitting down and preparing for that PR dumbbell press.

Here is the quickfire education on THE DEADLIFT.

A brief history 

The deadlift has been used since the dawn of time as the general lift from the ground. But in recent memory it has thought to be used in the barbell structured form that we know today, from around the 1800s and used in the first modern Olympic games in 1896.

Different variations have often been used and perhaps causes more confusion than it does good. The elephant bar and hummer tire bar are often heavier and inflated numbers compared to the regular calibrated deadlift due to the huge bend in the bar that means you aren’t actually lifting the weight as high off of the ground.

But what is fact is that the current World Record Deadlift holder is Britain’s own Eddie ‘The Beast’ Hall.

At a mammoth 500kg Eddie has near enough deadlifted the weight of a grade A Grand piano. This was with calibrated plates and the standard sanctioned bar. If you have not already seen this then it’s worth the watch.

So what are you using?

The muscles you’re working when doing this exercise are the :

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteus maximus
  • Erector spinae

These are the prime movers. Alongside this you will also work the upper back (traps) and the abs pretty hard too. The abs will work with the erector spinae to keep your spine safe and secure in the upper portion of the movement known as the lockout.

The Technique

Like with most exercises, it will take some time to fully master so it’s recommended to use just the bar or with a very light weight added, at first. This is so you can fully control it should something with your form go wrong.

Setup :

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart
  •  Toes just poking out from underneath the bar.
  •  Recommended to have both feet facing forwards but can face slightly outwards
  •  Bend at knees and have arms just outside of your knees (this will give your handwidth on the bar)
  • Keep your knees in line with your feet and maintain a neutral back (straight line from spine down to lower back)
    • Keep your shoulders slightly retracted (back) to help this
  • Have your rear-end slightly higher than your knees
  • With your shoulders slightly over the bar (ensures vertical movement of the bar)

Movement : 

Step 1 : Keep the setup points intact and begin to extend your knees and hips (straightening them)

Step 2 : Bring bar up (staying close to the shins) maintaining the retracted shoudlers and come to standing point

Step 3 : Now at standing point make sure you don’t hyperextend your back

Step 4 : Then reverse these steps to bring the bar back to the ground

Tips : The retracted shoulders will really help to maintain the neutral spine and not have a compeltely bent back like you see some people in the gym do while lifting their ‘huge PR’.

These same people also wonder why their back is in complete and utter agony for days and weeks after.

Now you’re ready to go and utilise this premium exercise safely and efficiently!

Let us know your biggest deadlift below!

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