How To Deadlift? Complete Guide To The King Of Lifts
Posted on July 22 2022
ut of all the compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, deadlifts are arguably, ‘the king’. Deadlifts require more balance and coordination, involve many muscle groups, and functionally work the body.
Deadlifts are one of the oldest documented powerlifting exercises, classed as the most important exercise to include in any fitness routine. Bodybuilders consider deadlifts a staple exercise to build muscle mass and strength.
This article breaks down the mistakes people make while performing deadlifts, the proper form tips to ensure you get the most out of every rep.
WHAT EXACTLY DO DEADLIFTS MEAN?
Lifting the heavy weight off the floor, moving into a standing position, and then lowering the weight down while keeping a neutral spine is a deadlift in a nutshell. For anyone who trains only the mirror muscles (muscle on the front of the body), deadlifts can be a great addition to their training routine as it helps to target areas of the posterior chain.
WHICH MUSCLES DO DEADLIFTS WORK?
Deadlifts work gluteus maximus (butt muscles), quadriceps (upper front legs), core (ab muscles), adductor muscles (inner thighs), hamstrings (upper back of legs), erector spinae (lower back), biceps and trapezius (upper neck muscles). This compound exercise; is executed with a heavy load which places a large mechanical stimulus on the body; that leads to strength and power adaptations.
BENEFITS OF DOING DEADLIFTS
The deadlift is a premier exercise that enhances the muscles of the posterior chain, develops your core, stabilizes the spine, trains your glutes, and hamstrings. Deadlifts engage more muscle groups while lifting heavier loads which contributes to burning calories, and gets your heart rate up like cardio exercises. Deadlifts help to improve your focus, coordination, mobility, endurance, build a stronger grip, reverse muscles loss, enhance muscle strength, and improves bone mineral density.
CONVENTIONAL DEADLIFTS – PROPER FORM TIPS
1. Position the barbell on the floor directly on top of your shoelaces, approximately 1 to 2 inches from your shin.
2. Stand at a hip-width stance with your feet flat and toes pointed forward and slightly outwards.
3. With a slight flexion in the knees, bend over to the bar, push your hips back and hinge forward until your torso is nearly parallel with the floor.
4. Grasp the bar with a double overhand grip keeping your hand slightly wider than shoulder-width apart (outside of the knees).
5. When bending down, make sure your lower leg stays upright, keep your head neutral and your lower back is straight. Your shoulders and arms should be in line with the bar with the elbows fully extended.
6. At this point, maximize the hip hinge, (all your bending should come from your hips), keep your chest held up, abs braced, create a slight tension in the upper back, and drive your feet into the floor when your shins almost touch the bar, lift the bar to your thigh level.
7. Stand upright vertically, look in front and hold the weight for a second.
8. Now, lower your hips into the starting position, lower the bar against your body, and gently put the barbell down.
9. This completes one round.
10. Again, lift the bar and move back down.
Tip: Start up light and within your means, you can build up weight once your deadlift form is flawless. Performing deadlifts by not following the proper form can cause injury, so if you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to seek advice from your gym trainer.
TOP 6 MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHILE PERFORMING CONVENTIONAL DEADLIFTS
1. Do not turn deadlifts into a squat – like in squats, you should not position your hips too low. If hips are positioned too low, your body is positioned behind the bar to a great extent which creates unfavourable leverages, causes more stress on the lower back, and decreases the amount of weight you can lift.
2. Do not position your hips in line with the knee – the position of your hips should be higher than the knee.
3. Do not go too low on your knees – this will put unnecessary strain on your hamstrings and increase your chances of banging your shins and knees on the way up.
4. Do not place the barbell too far – this causes you to bend forward arching your shoulders with a rounded back. Your shin should be one inch from the bar and the bar should be placed directly above the middle of your feet.
5. Do not activate your arms when you go down to lift the barbell - your arms should be kept straight throughout the lift.
6. Do not roll the shoulders while bringing the barbell up – doing this is going to put unnecessary pressure on your spine which could lead to injury.
If you’re worried about lifting a heavy-loaded barbell, try the other variations of deadlifts mentioned below. Perform each of the below exercises for 10 reps with a 60 seconds rest, repeating for 4 sets.
1. Stand with a wide stance with a barbell positioned on the floor directly above your shoelace.
2. Your feet and knees should be pointing out to the sides.
3. Flex your hips, bend over to the barbell and grasp the bar with an overhand grip that should be between your knees.
4. Keep your torso upright, your back and arms straight, and your head facing forward.
5. Lift the barbell to the front of your body until you are fully standing. Drive your hip forward at the top of the movement, hold for a count of two, push your chest out, flex your hips and lower the barbell to the floor in a controlled manner.
(Unlike the conventional deadlifts, sumo deadlifts require you to take a wide stance and a handgrip that should be between your knees. Your trunk will not be as flexed as in conventional deadlifts. Sumo deadlifts increase the involvement of hip musculature. Sumo deadlift allows you to keep your torso more upright, and puts less strain on your lower back and hamstrings).
1. Place 2 dumbbells on the floor in front of you.
2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your feet pointing out a little bit.
3. Bend your knees and hips to lower your torso in a squatting position.
4. When you bend over to grab the dumbbells, keep your shoulder blades pinched off, your core tight, chest up, and back straight.
5. Grip the dumbbells with an overhand grip keeping your arms fully extended.
6. Push through your heels and get up upright holding the dumbbells with your palms facing towards your body.
7. This completes one round. Repeat the exercise.
1. You can perform this by picking the barbell from the floor like in conventional deadlifts or by holding the barbell in your hand at the quad position.
2. Stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart.
3. You should be holding the barbell with an overhand grip with your hands just outside your thighs.
4. Keep your shoulders back, and chest up to keep the spine flat which is key throughout the whole movement.
5. Push your hips backward and your knees slightly bend to give a nice stretch of the hamstrings. Glide the barbell just below the kneecap.
6. Your knees stay tucked in line with your toes.
7. Push your hips forward to bring the barbell to the starting position.
1. Place the kettlebell with the handle in alignment between your ankles, not in front of you.
2. Place your arms down to your sides.
3. Maintain a neutral spine, have your head up and your chin somewhat tucked in, and pretension your shoulders, hips, and core.
4. Hinge your hips driving behind you, bend your knees, extend your arms down between your knees and grab onto the kettlebell.
5. Lift the kettlebell by driving your hips forward to stand up straight.
6. From the top down, hinge your hips back to place the kettlebell down on the floor.
7. Repeat the movement.
RESISTANCE BAND DEADLIFTS
1. Step your feet on the center of a long resistance band (with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward).
2. Hold on to the handles of the resistance band at the sides, hinge your hips back, keep your spine flat, tighten your core, and keep your chest up. Get up with your hands holding on to each end of the band.
3. As you stand, squeeze your legs and glutes, and feel the band stretch.
4. Lean forward and get up.
5. Maintain a flat back, head neutral, and shoulders directly over the feet, make sure to pull the band with your legs, and not with your lower back.
6. Perform the deadlifts in a slow, and controlled manner