Deadlift Form – How To Deadlift

deadlift king of exercises

Get Stronger With The Proper Deadlift Form

Since you are reading this I’m going to assume you know how great an exercise the deadlift is and I don’t need to go into the value of the exercise. So I’m only going to lay out how to deadlift, the proper deadlift technique and a few common errors. You are about to discover the proper deadlift form and technique so you can safely perform one of the best exercises for adding strength, muscle mass and transforming your body.

So lets get down to it, lets get into the proper deadlift form.

How To Deadlift

Because the deadlift allows you to lift more weight than just about any other exercise, it’s critical you get your deadlift form down to the “t.”

Watch this video for a demonstration of the classic or regular deadlift version.

Leaning how to lift and deadlift properly is easier to have a system in place. Something that you go through every time you pull. When perfecting your deadlift form there are 3 areas you will want to pay particular attention to:

  1. the set up
  2. the pull
  3. the finish

Master each of these and you will have a safe, successful and strong pull.

How to Deadlift – The Setup

If you can’t hold it, you can’t lift it. That makes the grip a great place to start.

The grip is generally the weakest link for most people. Even though there are many different grips you can use to help increase the weight on the bar, I recommend you stick with the conventional overhand grip. This has 2 major advantages.

  1. Most importantly it keeps the weight within a safe lifting range because you are artificially lifting the weight.
  2. It maximizes safety and muscle recruitment.

If you are going to change the grip so that you can increase the load, listed below are your different grip options. Number 1 is  your best choice while number 4 is your last resort.

  1. Conventional, Overhand,Pronated
  2. Hook grip – as showen in the picture to the right
  3. Assisted grip – straps, hooks
  4. Mixed grip, alternate grip, over under grip, staggered, offset grip

How to execute the setup.

  •  Approach the bar with the hip width stance, and feet slightly turned out
  • Your weight is evenly distributed over your feet.
  •  Bend at the waist and grab the bar slightly wider than your shins
  •  While holding the bar raise your chest and simultaneously sync your hips

If you’re uncomfortable, there’s a good chance you have the proper set up and you’re ready to pull.

how to get bigger armsMake sure your chest is up and your back is flat. This is the most critical part of the deadlift setup.

Here Tony Gentilcore takes you through the proper set up for the deadlift.

How to Deadlift – The Pull

Now that you’re set up properly, it’s time to lift some weight.

  • With your chest up and your lats pulling the bar into your shins.
  • Take a big gasp of air into your stomach. Air in your stomach will help stabilize your spine, as apposed to in your lugs.
  • Back is locked in that angle remains the same as you start to pull.
  • Shift your weight to your heels as you drive them into the floor.
  • Legs straighten and hips come forward. Extend the knees and hips at the same time.
  • Your shoulders remain over the bar.
  • Make sure you keep the bar tight to your body throughout the lift.

How to Deadlift – The Finish

All the hard work is done. If you have maintained perfect deadlift form all you have to do to finish the lift is straighten up and contract your butt cheeks.

  • As the bar passes over the knees you will start to stand taller and straight up.
  • Make sure you keep a tall proud chest.
  • Squeeze the gluts, imagine pinching a 100 dollar bill between your butt cheeks.

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Ideally you’ll drop the weight to the the floor after the lift, but I know not all gym are equipped to do that. If your gym doesn’t allow you to drop the weight you may want to look at finding another gym and put together a home gym.

Many people are sloppy when it comes to lowering the weight, but it is just as important to follow proper deadlift form on the eccentric portion of the lift as it is on the concentric.

If you can’t drop the weight, this is how you lower it back to the floor.

  • Initiate the eccentric, or lowering phase of the deadlift by pushing your hips back.
  • Chest stays up and proud as you maintain a flat back.
  • Keep the legs straight until you reach your knees.
  • Once bar dips below the top of the knee bend them to finish the bar’s decent.

Muscles Worked In Deadlift

The reason why the deadlift is such as great exercise is because practically every muscle in the body is used.

Though the dead lift works a lot of muscles not every muscle is worked in the same way. Many of the muscles used are under a lot of stress through a static contraction. That means even though they’re working and flexing, there isn’t any movement from the flex. A great example is the muscles of your forms, the finger flexors. Incredible grip strength was needed to hold onto the bar, but nothing moves.

Muscle Groups, The main players are:

  1. Back – Lats, Erectors
  2. Butt – Glutes
  3. Legs – Hamstring, Quad

Muscles Used For The Deadlift

As you can see there are many more muscle groups involved than the 3 I had just mentioned. In addition to the major muscles used below are some of the other major players.

Trapezius – Upper and middle

Shoulders – Rhomboids, plus all the stabilizer muscles of the shoulder

Forearm Flexors – Builds great grip strength

Core – Abs, Obliques

Legs – Calf muscles, Adductors

Basically every muscle group but your chest is involved. That is why I like to pair dips and deadlifts in supersets.


Deadlift Errors

For the most part the deadlift is a pretty safe exercise, but there are a few common errors you will want to avoid if you want to move big weight and stay healthy. Don’t let your deadlift technique go bad, be sure to watch and prevent these common erors. Watch the video and you will see this guy make EVERY deadlifting mistake.

Letting Your Hips Rise Too Early

When this happens all your power is coming from your low back. You have take the big leg muscles out of the picture.

Rounding The Back

This is closely associated with letting your hips rise too fast.When the hips are up there is no more leg drive and your low back has to do all the work. To prevent this make sure you have deadlift technique in your setup then lock your chest and back in place as you pull.

Hyper Extending the Back

Many people mistake squeezing the glutes as a hyper extension. To finish the pull all you have to do is squeeze the glutes, and stand straight up.

Jerking The Weight

In an effort to get some momentum some people jerk the weight either at the bottom or mid lift. Your arms are to remain straight the entire time. Once your back is set and locked keep it tight.


Deadlift Variations

The Trap Bar Deadlift

Key points from the video:
  1. Keep flat back.
  2. Hips travel back.
  3. Weight is distributed evenly across the entire foot.
  4. Push the floor away.

deadlift variations

  • Sumo Deadlift – This variation targets the glutes and hamstrings more.
  • Conventional – Old faithful, the classic deadlift.
  • Dumbbell Deadlift – The classic version but with dumbbells.
  • Trap Bar – This deadlift version allows you to keep a more vertical torso, this reduces emphasis on the erectors while placing more stress on the legs.
  • Deficit Pulls – Great flexibility is needed for this version. Just like the conventional deadlift but your feet are a few inches off the ground.
  • Suitcase – A barbell is help in one hand, places even more stress on the core.
  • Off Pins or Blocks – Rack pulls are the best for those not looking to compete.
  • Snatch Grip Deadlift – Same as the conventional pull but your hands are wide. Much harder to hold, requires more flexibility and back strength.
  • Single Leg Deadlift – Same as the RDL but on one leg. Much more volume for the low back, but the load is lighter.
  • Romanian Deadlift – Also goes by, RDL and Straight Leg Deadlift. This version starts at the top instead of the floor, and much lighter weight is used.

As you can see there are many different variations. Pick one, load it up, and change your physique.