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How to Deadlift the Proper Way


How to Deadlift

How to Deadlift the Proper Way Without Wrecking Your Back

If you’ve been on Diesel for any length of time you have been to our Training Center.  If not, look to the right navigation bar and you’ll see a TON of cool information around many muscle building and strength training exercises and concepts.

One section in the Training Center is How to Deadlift.

This post is REALLY important!

It was awesome but it didn’t contain a very crucial piece.  The analysis of how to setup on the deadlift.  The deadlift is notorious as a back breaker in most peoples minds.  When in fact, it is the poor execution of a deadlift, combined with poor mobility / flexibility, improper warm-up, poor core strength and many other factors that led to the acute or cumulative trauma.

I wanted to give everyone a quick, easy-to-understand, easy-to-apply setup for the conventional deadlift.  It will give you the perfect setup everytime.

How to Deadlift Video

Here is what you’ll see in the video:

  • conventional deadlift stance
  • distance from bar
  • hip placement / posture
  • breathing
  • tension, irradiation
  • grip considerations
  • concentric phase
  • eccentric phase
  • bracing, intra-abdominal pressure
  • upper back engagement
  • head posture

Here is a step-by-step setup guide for conventional deadlifts:

1. Setup with your feet shoulder width or slightly wider than shoulder width apart
2. Toes can be straight ahead or turned outward
3. Shins should be approximately 4-6″ AWAY from the bar
4. Grab the bar with a double overhand grip (until the weight gets too heavy)
5. Legs will be straight
6. Take a big breath and force your abdominals outward and hold
7. Drop your hips as your knees shift forward toward the bar
8. Create tension in your upper back and lats by squeezing your armpits and pulling your arms downward
9. Drive the floor away, keeping the bar against your body all the way to lockout
10. Once bar gets to your knees finish the lockout with a powerful glute contraction, finish in a straight line
11. Move hips backward, keeping the glutes and hamstrings on tension
12. The bar will move downward and once the bar reaches the knees, drop straight downward back to the floor

Another consideration I wanted to add to the Training Center was how a deadlift can be modified.

How to Modify a Deadlift

Beyond the Range – pulling through a greater range of motion (ROM) which helps accelerate through sticking points and is done by standing on an elevated surface.  It can be either 100lb plates or a 4″ box.

Pulling Against Bands or Chains – forces the lifter to accelerate to lockout which develops greater end range strength and rate of force development (RFD)

Band Assisted Pulling – assists the lifter off the floor and should be setup to deload before lockout, allows supramaximal weights (great than the lifter’s 1RM) to be used

Change the Implement – varying a barbell, a trap bar, dumbbells, odd objects or an axle will modify the tension and leverage of the lift

How to Deadlift Video

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18 Responses to “How to Deadlift the Proper Way”

  1. marty Says:

    Great video as always smitty!! Hey ,mistakes happen bro don’t trip about those rude impatient people!! The video was worth the wait and has already helped me in my D.L. form TONIGHT!!!Thanks again for the great material you guys ALWAYS put out!!!

  2. Girlwithnoname (Jackie) Says:

    Thanks guys. That was really informative. I hope you’ve saved a few backs with this! 🙂


  3. Coach mike Says:

    Any one who whines about the window closing needs to step back and think about how much free stuff you post weekly!

  4. Roger Says:

    Thanks, very informative, has all the elements that I was looking for. Great video and great site. Thanks again!!

  5. chris warden Says:

    Great video, been waiting a while for this one!! I was close with my form just not hitting every thing. The RDL on the negative and the glute contraction to straight NOt to rev. hyper!! Great stuff smittY!! Thanks!

  6. mike Says:

    very specific–thanks

  7. Jim Smith Says:

    thanks everyone!

    Remember, post this on your sites, blogs and forums!

  8. Rob Says:

    Awesome stuff, Smitty. Top notch as usual. One quick question with regards to lat stiffness….I have always pulled the slack out of the bar and tensed my triceps, but as I do this, if I am understanding the video correctly, I should also focus on pulling my arms toward me (similar to a straight-arm cable pressdown for the lats) in order to isometrically contract the lats, as well. So in effect it is a combination of pull up slightly/tense triceps to take slack out of the bar + pull arms toward body to isometrically fire the lats?

  9. 3-Pin Says:

    Thanx Smitty – seeing it was worth a thousand words and worth the wait.

  10. Coach mike Says:

    Hey smitty would you go into a little more detail about catching air in your belly. My guess is tons of guys will just inhale and go. I lay the guys down on their back and put a shoe or 5lbs plate on their gut to show the movment. Devils in the details right!

  11. Mike Rinderle Says:

    Thanks Smitty! Great stuff. You guys have already helped me a ton with my pulls. This is the detailed icing on the cake. Just working on my mobility/flexibility, warming up properly, and getting my setup as close to correct as possible has already added 35 lbs to my DL in the last month! You guys rock!

  12. tnthudson Says:

    Awesome as usual, and a great technique-checker before my AMD workouts this weekend. Thanks again!

  13. George Voirol Says:

    Video: How To Deadlift:
    Excellent demonstration video Smitty! You explain and show the important factors/details of executing a perfect Deadlift. Your video’s atmosphere was good, the person doing the exercise performed properly and exemplarly, and you Smitty communicated with a professional, bright, and sharp style. Thank you for describing how to train in such a fundamental crucial exercise!

  14. Benjamin Says:

    GEAT tutorial Smitty! You have laid out in great detail how to perform the deadlift and the coaching cues will help me with the folks who I am training. Thank you for sharing knowledge that you could easily charge for. I appreciate the value that you are giving.

  15. Pepe Says:

    Best deadlift explanation video on the internet. Thank you very much guys for your effort.

  16. mike Says:

    great video smitty very instructive and in detail.

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