How To Deadlift
1) Step under a loaded barbell using a hip-width stance.
2) Step forward until the barbell is over the middle of your feet (your shins will be 1-2 inches away from the barbell). Point your toes out slightly.
3) Bend over without dropping your hips and grip the barbell with a double overhand grip just outside your legs.
4) Bring your knees forward until your shins are touching the barbell.
5) Straighten your back by raising your chest up (like a proud gorilla) and flex your lats. Look straight ahead with your chin up. This will help you achieve this position much easier.
6) Take a big breath and push your belly out as if you were about to be punched in the gut. This is called “bracing” your core.
7) Drag the barbell up against your body by pressing your legs into the ground and using your arms as levers until you are standing up straight. Do not exhale and let the air out of your body when you are at the top of the movement. Keep holding your breath until the barbell is back on the floor. The air protects your lower back and makes you much stronger.
8) Lower the barbell back down to the ground by bending over and pushing your hips back while keeping your back tight and straight. Failure to push your hips back will result in you hitting your knees.
9) Relax and breathe at the bottom for a few seconds, take another big breath, reset your back (chest up) and perform another rep. Continue this until you have reached your desired number of reps.
Bar Position And Stance
The most important part of the deadlift setup is your foot placement. If you mess this part up, everything will be wrong and cause pain and injury.
You must make sure that the barbell starts directly over your mid-foot so that you have enough room to bring your shins forward and straighten your back out. For an example of proper foot position, see the pictures below.
Pulling With Straight Arms
Do not initiate the deadlift by yanking the bar up your body with bent arms. This will hold you back from lifting maximal weight and cause an eventual bicep tear.
Make sure your arms are straight during the movement and use them as levers to drag the bar up your body. See the pictures below for an example.
As the weight on the bar increases, your grip will begin to fail. When this happens you must switch from a double overhand grip to the mixed grip (one hand palm down and one hand palm up). Usually, you’ll want to make your dominant hand palm up to maximize grip strength and stability.
While the mixed grip allows you to lift more weight it should not be overused. Stick with a double overhand grip as long as possible (at least during your warm-up sets) in order to train your grip and build your forearms.
Always finish the deadlift standing up straight. This is done by squeezing your glutes and shoving your hips forward. Do not lean back or shrug your shoulders at the top of the movement.
Build Brute Strength – The deadlift allows you to lift more weight than any other exercise and works every muscle in your body. Not only will it be your strongest lift, but it also shows how strong you really are.
Build Muscle Mass – Since the deadlift works every muscle in your body with the heaviest weights possible, it is a great mass building exercise. More strength is more muscle.
Achieve A Dense Muscular Back – Heavy deadlifts force every muscle in your back to work extremely hard since you are pulling the weight up. As a result, they have produced some of the most impressive thick muscular backs ever built by man. Simply put, you’re back will always be a lagging body part until you make deadlifts a priority in your training program.
Improve Grip Strength – Heavy deadlifts require a strong grip. Forget about doing forearm isolation exercises and deadlift more often. Doing this will immediately improve your forearm size and grip strength.
Strengthen Your Hamstrings – People (especially athletes) injure their hamstrings almost as much as their shoulders. This is because they rely on machines to build up their hamstring muscles which are incredibly inefficient. Your hamstrings were meant to work in conjunction with the rest of your body to function properly and get stronger, so why are isolating them with a leg curl machine? Instead, pick some heavy weight up off the ground with proper form and build bulletproof hamstrings.
Common Deadlift Mistakes To Avoid
Rounded Back – Deadlifting with either a rounded upper or lower back will lead to constant back pain and eventual injury. DO NOT forget to follow the deadlift set-up in this guide. Set your back by raising your chest and flexing lats.
Pulling With The Arms – Your arms should remain neutral and only be used as levers when you do any type of back exercise and the deadlift is not an exception. Yanking the bar up with your arms to get the movement started will lead to an eventual bicep tear and make the movement much harder to complete. Instead, initiate the deadlift with your legs and let your arms hang by your sides straight as you drag the barbell up against your legs.
Squatting – The deadlift is not a squat and should not be treated as one. When you drop your hips and squat the barbell up, you are putting your back in a bad position and not using all the muscles in your body efficiently. Some of the strongest men in the world start heavy deadlifts in a squat position, but they always raise their hips and set their back into the correct position before they actually start the lift.
Bar Position – Always deadlift with the barbell over the middle of your foot. Failure to start in this position will have you pulling the weight from your toes or heels which robs you of maximal strength. The strongest position to lift weight in will always be your center of mass (aka over the middle of your foot). This is why your body bends over naturally during heavy squats. It instinctually knows that the barbell needs to stay over your midfoot.
Dropping The Weight – A full rep of the deadlift starts and ends on the ground. DO NOT drop the barbell at the top of the movement. Doing that makes it a partial rep and robs you of the benefits that the second part of the movement provides. People that drop the weight at the top of the deadlift are lazy and obnoxious.
High Reps – The deadlift should not be performed with light weight and high repetitions. When you do high reps, your form becomes worse and worse over time due to fatigue. Stick with the 1-5 rep range and perfect your form with heavy weights.
The Lockout Shrug – As mentioned above, do not get into the habit of finishing the deadlift with a shrug at the top. This is a waste of energy and can lead to neck pain.
The Lockout Lean – Leaning back at the top of the deadlift puts unnecessary stress on the lower back and will lead to injury. Simply finish the rep by squeezing your glutes and pushing your hips forward.
Bar Away From Your Body – Always make sure to keep the barbell in contact with your body during the entire movement. If you let the barbell go in front of your body, you will not be as strong and put unnecessary stress on your lower back. If the barbell bothers your shins on the way up, wear sweatpants on your deadlift days.
Best Way To Improve Your Deadlift Form
Filming your exercises is the second best thing you can do next to hiring a strength coach.
You will never perfect your form if you don’t know what you look like.
Anyone can easily film themselves by using the built-in camera on their smartphone.
If you don’t have anyone that can film for you, buy a smartphone tripod.
What If I Can’t Deadlift Big Plates Yet?
You need to be using 45s on each side of the barbell for it to be at the correct height to perform a proper deadlift.
If you aren’t strong enough to deadlift 45s with good form, you can elevate the barbell by stacking your other plates under it and placing the loaded barbell on top.
How Often Should I Be Deadlifting?
The deadlift is one of the simplest exercises to do and one of the most satisfying, but too much of anything is bad.
This will be especially true when you get to the point where you are lifting some serious weight.
Not only does lifting heavy weights break down muscle tissue, but it also breaks down your nervous system.
When you tax your nervous system too often by frequently lifting heavy, you will become overtrained.
Symptoms of overtraining include loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, loss of sex drive, and feelings of exhaustion.
Once you start training close to your 1 rep max, you shouldn’t be training the deadlift more than once a week.
In fact, advanced lifters only train heavy deadlifts once a month because they are so taxing.
Strength Goals For The Deadlift
In order to be considered strong, you need to get to a point where you can deadlift 2 times your body weight.
If you are a 200-pound guy, you should be able to easily deadlift 400 pounds after a year of consistent training.
From The Man Himself –