The biggest lift performed in the gym.
Done wrong by many.
Causes injury for many doing it wrong. But if done correctly you can achieve great strength and gains from this classic daddy of lifts.
WHERE DO PEOPLE GO WRONG THEN?
Let’s start with GOING TOO HEAVY. Heavy can be good but it must be controlled and performed with good technique. Otherwise stop focusing on the weight and practice the movement. It’s not all about the bar with huge weights. Use trap-bar, kettlebell, dumbbell or lighter weights, but perfect the form before trying to push for max lifts.
It’s a DEADLIFT, IT IS NOT A SQUAT.
The deadlift is not a squat. The deadlift is a hinge movement. Kettlebells can be great to teach and ingrain this move, romanian deadlifts can also be a good build up. But the best thing to do if you do not know the difference between a squat and a hip hinge is to seek direction from a trainer.
Are you wearing RUNNING SHOES to deadlift?
These may be good for running, but for deadlifting..not so much. You increase the height of your heels and provide an unstable surface…not so good. Try barefoot if your gym allows it or use lifting shoes or the old classic converse.
Keep a LOOSE BAR AND BODY.
You have heard of keeping your core tight. For the deadlift you need to keep your body tight. Any loose muscle or “slack” when lifting can result in injury. Try learning diaphragmatic breathing techniques, this will improve your natural breathing immensely and also allows for a stronger support when lifting.
BAR TOO FAR FROM BODY.
When you start your lift your shins should be touching the bar, the bar should remain as close to your mid-line through out the movement as possible. It’s easy to get carried away and jump in with heavy weights but this usually leads to poor form. Focus on the rep range you have set and keeping form throughout. Due to the sheer amount of muscle groups used during this movement, your nervous system will need time to recover.
If in doubt over recovery time and programming, do not perform heavy deadlift session more than once every 2 weeks. Maybe alternate weeks between heavy squats and deadlifts but don’t max on both lifts. Give yourself 72 hours between squat and deadlift days. You can even change the style weekly and try sumo or trap bar.
SO WHAT IS THE APPROACH:
• Stand with your feet around hip width.
• Bar should be over mid foot. Shins should not be touching yet.
• Grip the bar narrow with straight legs.
• Move your hips down, keep chest up and back flat – your shins will come forward until they touch the bar.
• This is the final starting position of the deadlift.
LIFTING THE BAR
• Use normal grip first and hold the bar low in the hands and lock your elbows.
• Head in line with torso, don’t look up.
• Keep shoulders in front of the bar and lower back neutral.
• Lift your chest up, take a deep breath and keep your entire back and core tight. Drive through your heels and pull. – Push the floor away, keeping the bar close to your body.
• All of your weight should be on your heels and mid foot.
• During the movement, your entire body should move upwards at the same speed. – No bum rising faster than chest
• Keep the bar in contact with your body- Drag it over your shins, knees and thighs to lockout.
• Squeeze your glutes as you pull. – Push your feet through the floor and squeeze your glutes.
• Stand tall with locked hips and knees.
LOWERING THE BAR
• Move your hips first then bend your knees. – Lower the bar by pushing your hips back first. Once the bar has passed your knees, bend them
• Don’t lose tightness until you let go of the bar.
• RESET AND REPEAT