Barbell deadlifts are one of the most popular exercises. It’s the only movement that every lifter should do, regardless of whether you are looking to gain strength, build muscle, burn calories, or increase athleticism. It’s only beneficial if you do it correctly.
You can find many people doing one-humped camel impressions while lifting a barbell up to their legs on YouTube. This is a terrible idea. You should always be focused on your form when you deadlift.
Good form can reduce injury risk. Although the risk of injury is not zero, good form spreads the stress of lifting evenly over tissues, rather than putting a damaging load on one area, such as the lower back.
Good form is not only important for reducing injury risk but it also improves performance. The right muscles are used at the right time to lift the bar from the ground to lockout. Good form allows the bar to follow a path that maximizes the use of your legs, hips and back.
Get started with The Hip Hinge
You may be eager to get in shape at the gym. But, wait! Many lifters want to jump headfirst into a movement. However, it’s best to learn the basics and pump the breaks first.
The standard deadlift, which is a heavy-loaded version of the hip hinge and is a fundamental human movement pattern, is a very heavy deadlift.
The hip hinge sounds exactly like it does: it is hinging at your hips. This is not a sitting down position, but rather a sitting back. This is what makes it different than a squat.
Your hips and not your knees drive the movement. It’s a horizontal thrust. Your butt moves back when you sit back. Then, your glutes move forward as you stand.
Butt to Wall with PVC – Watch the Video – 00.26
A good hip hinge will allow you to keep your spine neutral and load the hips, posterior chain, and muscles on the backside. You can try hinging by standing near a wall with your back facing in. Keep your arch in your lower back and bend your knees at the knees. Then, sit back and let your hips touch the wall. Voila! You’ve hinged.
You will lift stronger and safer if you learn how to hinge before you step up to the barbell. My article “How to Hip Hinge for Ultimate Performance” provides a more detailed guide.
Proper Form for the Deadlift
Once you have mastered the hip hinge, it’s time to move on to the main event. How does a good deadlift look?
* Place your feet hip-width apart, with your grip just beyond your legs.
* Use an overhand grip
* From start to finish, your back should be flat.
* Keep your shoulders back and down.
* For the full range of motion, the bar should be in contact with your legs.
* To transfer the bar from ground to upper-thigh locked position, your hips and knees must move together
Don’t lift off the floor if you can’t maintain a flat back while setting up for deadlifting. There is no rule saying you must.
To flatten your spine, raise the bar on squat rack pins or jerk box bars. This is a great deadlift variation called a “rack draw” and it’s particularly beneficial for people with mobility limitations.
Many beginners have mobility problems, such as tight hamstrings. I suggest you start with the rack pull, and then move on to the full-range pull.
How to Move Safely
How can you tell if a weight is too heavy? It’s easy to tell if a weight is too heavy if your form collapses. The weight may be too heavy if your spine is rounded or your hips and knees aren’t moving together.
Hiring a coach to help you write your program, and cue your lifts is the best way to lose weight. You can add 5-10lbs each week if that is not possible. Although it sounds boring and slow, you will get lots of practice and be able to lift heavy.
Why do you deadlift?
Why bother learning to deadlift? It’s one of most powerful exercises to increase strength and size, which leads to increased athleticism. The deadlift is a full-body exercise that requires a lot of muscle mass. It also builds total body muscle.
This lift targets your hamstrings directly, which is a rare feat in weight lifting.
This magical lift can also improve posture. Our rears are often overlooked and we tend to focus on the front of our bodies for most of our lives. We develop a body without balance which can lead to many postural problems, such as hunched shoulders or weak backs.
Deadlifting is a great way to get back in touch with your backside, the hamstrings and glutes. Posterior training balances our body and helps us stand taller with more strength.
Deadlifting can build muscle, improve posture, increase your strength and make you a complete gym badass. There’s nothing like lifting heavy weight off the ground.
How to incorporate deadlifts into your workout
Deadlifting is a tax on the body. Both the nervous system and the muscles work hard. It can drain your nervous system so it is best to start training it early in a workout.
A new nervous system will result in more productive reps. The body will learn movement faster and have better form. It is also safer. You will experience a worsening of your form and more chance of injury as you age. Deadlift training should be scheduled right after your warm up.
This workout is not for traditional body parts like the back or chest. You’ll do a variety of helpful assistance exercises while doing it.
Do not train the same muscles the next day as the one you did the previous day. Proper recovery is key to gaining strength and size.
Training for a powerlifting event is an exception. The deadlift is the final event at a powerlifting competition. This means that the lifter must have completed three bench-press and maximum squat attempts before mounting the platform to attempt a deadlift. You will be tired. For powerlifters, the deadlift is usually trained last. It’s the only time that you should.
How Many Deadlift Sets and Reps Are There?
Try to do 1-6 reps. If you do more than 6 reps, the Bad News Bears will be invited to your training party. A good lift is one rep away for a bad injury. Fatigue can wreck your form. This lift is great for strengthening your strength. Keep it within the appropriate rep ranges.
As you increase your intensity, keep the number of reps in working sets below 30. Consider including 4-5 sets of working sets with 3-6 reps each. This will allow you to get up to your initial training weight. You can then either add weight to each set or maintain the same weight throughout all sets.
Skill determines your training intensity. This is the amount of weight you lift relative to your maximum strength for one repetition. It is important to know your 1RM, or one-rep maximum.
Advanced lifters reach their maximum deadlift by lifting at a high percentage of 1RM at regular but not too frequent intervals. For beginners, it is important to keep their intensity low to moderate.
As you become more proficient, you will add more plates to your bar. But at the beginning, it is important to keep things simple and clear. There is no grinding and there is no form breakdown.
How to Superset Deadlifts
This is a very stressful lift so don’t combine it with an aggressive superset such as another heavy lift. This lift is best paired with core and mobility drills, which will increase your deadlift and strengthen your body without the added strain of another heavy lifting.
Mobility exercises that target the upper back, hips and ankles are my favorite, as the deadlift requires all of these joints be flexible. Core exercises that combat spinal motion are good for strengthening a neutral spine position.
These assistance exercises are meant to support a lift’s growth. As an example, assistance training will be used to strengthen the core and posterior chain. We have seen improvements in performance in these areas.
These moves can be grouped into different levels. The deadlift is the hardest, and then follow with second- or third-level lifts. Here’s how it works:
* Rack pull
* Romanian deadlift
* Good morning
* Glute-ham raise
* Kettlebell swing
* Leg curl
* Barbell roll-out
* Hip extension exercises through squatting
Plan at least 3-5 sets of the first-level assistance exercises within the 4-8 range. Secondary exercises should be followed for 3-4 sets in either the 5-10 or 10 range. For 3 sets, third-level assistance exercises may be performed in either the 4-8 or 5-10 rep ranges. These exercises are considered “third-level” as they don’t directly help deadlifting, but they train muscles that will prepare the body for pulling heavy.
The Deadlift Lives On
The deadlift is an excellent strength-training and muscle building tool. This is a vital part of any training program. You will learn how to hinge and progress to rack pulling. Then you can move on to the full-range move. Once you’re there, keep practicing the correct rep ranges. Then plan your assistance exercises with the list. You will be able to pull and have a long training career.
Are you ready to master the “Big 3” moves as well? These guides will help you master the other “Big 3” moves.