Deadlift Form - How to Deadlift
The deadlift form is relatively simple once you know how. This article will show you how to deadlift properly using correct form and technique.
Deadlift Form – How To Deadlift With Good Form
The deadlift starts with the bar on the floor. Grip the bar hard and stand up. Sounds simple huh? Well it is, but not quite that simple! Here’s a detailed step by step guide on how to deadlift:
Getting into position. Before you jump in and try lifting the bar off the floor with horrible form you need to set yourself correctly for the lift. Before you start the lift take note of:
Bar Position. The bar needs to be close to your body and right next to/touching your shins. If the bar is not positioned close to your body before lifting, you make the lift a lot harder and risk injuring your back. Keep the bar close to your body to increase strength and limit the risk of injuries. The shortest distance the bar can travel is in a straight line so it makes sense to keep the bar close to your body throughout the entire lift.
Foot Position. Shoulder width stance with toes pointing forwards or slightly outwards. Some deadlift variations require a slightly wider/narrower stance but stick to a shoulder width stance for the traditional deadlift. It’s also important that feet are positioned inline with each other. Form can be lost if feet are not inline before you perform the lift.
Body Position. Although obvious, ensure you position your body over the middle of the bar. This will ensure you lift the weight equally and do not work one side of your body more than the other.
Grip and Hand Position. Hands will need to be positioned slightly wider than shoulder width apart when gripping the bar. If you position them incorrectly your legs are likely to get in the way of your arms when lifting and lowering the weight. Position them slightly wider than your leg stance for maximum comfort.
Grip the bar close to your fingers and not in your palm! The area just below the bottom of your fingers is the place you need to be aiming for. Do not place the bar on your fingers. It will slip out and feel uncomfortable. Once you’ think you have the bar positioned in the right place squeeze it hard. If it feels comfortable and solid chances are you have the correct grip.
Head Position. Do not look down when you perform the deadlift. At the same time don’t look up either. The best place to look is straight ahead. This should help keep deadlift form tight and prevent rounding of the lower back.
Chest Up. Keep that chest up! Dropping the chest can again cause rounding of the lower back and throw your form off. Keeping your chest up should also keep your back in a nice tight and rigid position.
Shoulder Blades Over Bar, Arms Straight. Arms should be kept straight throughout the entire movement. If your lifting heavy weight and bend your arms you risk tearing a bicep muscle. Arms remain straight at all times! Shoulder blades need to be positioned over the bar.
Taking all the above points into consideration you should look like this:
Performing The Deadlift. When you are set to lift the bar up off the floor you will need to keep your form tight and extend your legs by bringing your hips forward. Important points when performing the deadlift:
Bar travels in a straight line. The bar needs to travel in a straight line in order for you to lift it comfortably and with maximum strength. If the bar is positioned slightly away from your body you will sacrifice precious reps and risk getting injured. Keep the bar as close to your body as possible.
You don’t need to scrape it along your shins on the way up but it needs to be very close. If you find yourself scraping your shins either work on your form more or just don’t wear shorts! The bar will always travel a shorter distance if it goes in a straight line.
Push from your heels. The deadlift begins by generating power through your hamstrings in order to get the bar off the floor. This requires you to push from your heels and explode up. Push the floor away from you with your heels while maintaining good deadlift form. Hips are automatically bought forward when pushing from the heels.
Lock out by extending your legs. To finish the deadlift lock out by fully extending your legs. People tend to lean back at the end of the deadlift and over exaggerate the lock out phase. You don’t need to do this although there is no real harm caused by doing so. Just ensure you don’t injure yourself by jerking the weight up when your muscles reach failure. The finishing position of the deadlift should look like this:
Lowering the bar. Using correct deadlift form to lower the bar is also important. Injuries can occur by lowering the bar incorrectly so here’s how to do it:
Flex your hips. To begin lowering the weight back down towards the floor you will need to first flex your hips.
Back remains straight and rigid, chest stays up and look forward. Similar to the way you lifted the bar. Keep your back rigid and chest up while looking forward.
Bar close to body. When lowering the bar it needs to remain in that imaginary straight line. Lower the bar down your thighs keeping the bar in contact with them until you reach knee level. This will feel far more comfortable and take pressure off your lower back especially when lifting heavy weight.
Arms kept straight. Keep your arms straight to minimise the risk of injuries.
Bend Knees. After lowering the bar down your thighs to knee level you then need to bend your knees and return the bar back on the floor to its original position.
So there you have it, your complete guide on how to deadlift with good form. Don’t forget that correct deadlift form can take a while to grasp. Even experienced lifters sometimes lose track of their form in an attempt to lift heavier weight. It’s normal for form to be sacrificed occasionally during a heavy set or 1 rep max attempt.
The key is to always think about your form before you attempt your lifts. Don’t go into the gym with the mindset of lifting heavy weight no matter what. Lift heavy weight with the best possible form you can. If you have trouble with your form or need to know whether you are sacrificing your form for the weight try getting someone to video your lift. This way you can see your form and work on perfecting it.