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How to Deadlift A Look Inside the Deadlift

How to Deadlift A Look Inside the Deadlift


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A look Inside the Deadlift

Though the deadlift appears to be an easy lift to execute, nothing could be further from the truth.  When watching people deadlift, the same mistakes always stand out.  Not using the legs enough, bowing the back, bending the arms, etc.  All of these mistakes are easy to correct.  Nine times out of ten, you have to swallow your pride, take a couple plates off the bar, and start at the beginning.

Start the lift by setting up in front of the loaded bar.  It is my belief that in order to maximize pulling, you should not have the shins tight against the bar from the start, but rather line up the first knuckles of the toes with the bar.  When you squat down to grasp the bar, you will now have contact with the bar and be in the right position.

The width of your set-up is dependent on a lot of scientific jargon: length of the torso versus the length of the legs, length of the arms in comparison to the body, bla, bla, bla.  I say experiment, and see what works the best for you.  You will either be one of three types of deadlifters: conventional, semi-sumo, or sumo.  See which one maximizes your strengths and body type, and go with it!  More on this later.

Once in front of the bar, suck in a deep breath of air, squat down, keeping the hips and butt low, and grasp the bar.



You should feel compressed like a giant spring waiting to pop.  Get the hips as low as humanly possible for your build and flexibility.  You should still be holding that breath in order to maintain tightness.  At this point, I like to keep my head up to help keep my back straight and tight.  Looking forward, or down, tends to make me hunch forward at the start of the pull.

Now that you are in the start position, it is time to initiate the lift.  Most people think you pull on the bar to start the lift.  WRONG ANSWER!   Pulling up tends to make you lose your tightness and hunch you over.  Instead, concentrate hard on driving your feet into the platform and squatting the weight up.  This will bring the hips, glutes, and legs into the movement.  As you do this, the arms stay straight.  They are merely hooks and play no part in lifting the weight.  Bending them is not only a good way to miss the lift, but a great way to tear a bicep!


As the bar leaves the platform, it should be on the shins.  Continue to drive the platform as you glide the bar up over the shins and knees and onto the thighs.  At this point, you will drive the hips forward into the movement to put the bar into the locked out position.


That’s it!  Now that you know HOW to do it right, lets look at a couple of common mistakes that lifters make when deadlifting.  The biggest problem I encounter with beginning and seasoned lifters alike is the hips shooting up without the weight.  Instead of driving into the floor with the feet, the lifter will initiate the lift by pulling.  More often then not, this will make the hips pop up first, taking the hips, glutes, and legs almost entirely out of the movement.  This will also bow the back and increase the chances of a back injury from deadlifting!  When someone tells me they hurt their back deadlifting, all I have to do is watch their form.  Do their hips shoot up first?


Zatsiorsky tells us in Science and Practice of Strength Training that the loads on the lumbar intervertebral disks from a mere 50kg load will amount to a whopping 630kg with a bowed back!  When the back is held in the arched, tight position, the same 50kg exerts a load of 380kg, respectively.  Is there any wonder people injure their backs?

A second common mistake is the arm bend.  I guess from all the years and years of curling and rowing, people automatically think the arms should be bent on the deadlift.  To stop this, think of the arms as hooks only, and concentrate on relaxing them through out the lift.  Squeeze the bar tight, but relax the arms.