The deadlift is a truly fantastic exercise for building strength. It uses muscles all over your body and is considered by some to be the “mac-daddy” of compound movements. However, deadlifts are also an exercise which many people claim to do with correct form, but the sheer amount of people who say this and don’t actually know proper deadlift form is staggering. People seem to think something along the lines of “a deadlift? Sure, that’s easy … you just pick the weight up off the ground, right?” – Wrong!
It’s very easy to injure your lower back (sometimes permanently) if you aren’t using entirely correct form when doing deadlifts. I know a few people who have permanently injured their backs while doing deadlifts incorrectly and I can assure you that it’s not worth it. It’s best to be safe and take the time to learn the correct form.
So with that little warning, let’s get to the good stuff. Below is a brilliant video which details the proper deadlift form, take a look:
There really isn’t a whole lot else to say that the video hasn’t covered, so I’ll just recap some of the main points:
- Keep your upper back tight. This is done to prevent your lower back from rounding as you perform the deadlift – a rounding lower back can lead to very serious injuries. To get in a habit of keeping your upper back tight you can take a wider grip on the bar until you get used to it. Also to tense your upper back and keep it tight you can focus on pressing your shoulders backwards as hard as you can while deadlifting.
- Keep your butt back, so that you can use your glutes to pull the bar up and back. This will take some practice as it feels pretty strange at first – but stick with it.
- Take a stance about shoulder width apart, and have the bar directly above halfway along your foot before you being the movement.
Practice all of this for a few weeks and you should have proper deadlift form in no time!
A final word about the importance of proper deadlift technique: With many other exercises you can generally pretty safely push yourself to the limit without a high risk of injury, this isn’t really the case with deadlifts. Yes, of course you can and should push yourself but be very vigilant with your form and constantly making sure that it’s correct. It is often possible to complete a deadlift with a heavier weight than you should be lifting by using incorrect form – usually when this happens the lower back rounds and the bar is “hitched” up. You NEVER want to do this because you can seriously injure yourself. If your form breaks, then consider the set complete. So to sum up: push yourself until the point where you can no longer complete a rep with 100% proper deadlift form.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.