The mighty Deadlift… probably the one exercise that has the worst reputation in the gym.
But it is such a simple exercise – the barbell is on the floor, you pick it up and put it back down again.
Sounds simple… then why do so many have trouble, complaints, and quite simply nothing good to say about it?
When it comes to back exercises, Deadlifts should be your FOUNDATION in working out your back.
So, let’s take a BACK flip into how the Deadlift got this reputation and how to actually prevent bad form.
You Can Do it Just Put Your Leg Into It
Where did it all go wrong?
Well for starters, everybody thinks of Deadlifts as a back exercise (which it is), but unlike many compound or isolated workouts, there are a lot of additional parts that couple this back building powerhouse.
Being that it is a back exercise, many lifters use their back to lift the weight…
Any weight lifted from a stationary position off the floor should be lifted with your hips and legs…
AND that’s a fact.
… what other way would you drive force to lift something up from the floor?
REMEMBER your legs will anchor your back in lifting the weight.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…
… we need additional pointers as to how we should prepare for the back defining powerhouse.
20 Mistakes and Ways You Should know For Spotless Form:
1. Head not in a neutral position – Keep your head in a neutral position when lifting (form a straight line from your head to your glutes).
2. Hips and shoulders do not rise together – These two should move the bar up simultaneously. If one moves before the other, you risk compensation from the one that is trying to keep up.
3. Hips are too low – you will notice that when you do, your shoulders will be behind the bar – This is a no-no (remember shoulders should be directly over the bar at the stop/bottom position.
4. Rounding back – Do this and your risking your back (not good). Practice Deadlifting with your palms up/out (this forces extension and tightening of the upper back) – do this with low weight as practice ONLY. Once comfortable, move back with Deadlifting with palms facing down.
5. Shins not close enough to the bar – When in the starting position the shins should touch the bar.
6. Lifting too low – The Deadlift has the hips start and end at a higher position compared to squats.
7. Hyper extending your back – You look foolish doing this and will cause injury.
8. Jerking the bar – When in the start position, DO NOT jerk the bar to lift it off the floor, doing so could potentially tearing the bicep.
9. Hips does not drop enough – Failing to do this will only put most of the force on your back and cause it to round. That’s a strike in my book.
10. Lifting with your back – Let your legs do the heavy lifting. Primarily your hamstrings and posterior chain, if your rounding your back you are depending purely on it – DON’T.
11. Your hands are too wide – You are not trying to Olympic snatch… this is called the Deadlift.
12. Grip is incorrect – Unless your lifting serious weight or having trouble gripping the bar (combining the over/underhand grip), ALWAYS have a overhand grip position.
13. Not lifting from the floor-up – ALWAYS start your lift from the floor, it should always be your start point.
14. Not opening your chest – Doing this will tighten up your upper back, also preventing you from rounding it.
15. Feet too far apart – Your arms need room to lift. Some Deadlifts ask for wide stance (ie, Sumo Deadlift), we’re reviewing purely the conventional Deadlift here.
16. Wrong footwear – Wear shoes that are flat (or Deadlift barefootedJ). Tennis shoes, running shoes, walking shoes, etc. You need flat surface
17. Pushing through the heels – You should always push through the mid foot (halfway between the foot and the toes), not the heels. Pushing from your mid foot is your balance point.
18. Not using your glutes – activate your glutes and squeeze while lifting and when you lockout on top.
19. Do not look down – Puts your neck in a vulnerable position and will cause neck strain.
20. Feet position not narrow enough – Slightly narrower than shoulder width (think of where your feet will be before you perform a vertical jump)
Now Your on Your Way
Follow it and your well on your way from conquering this great exercise.
So remember, form first, weight second. Have other ideas of what could cause some shaky form? Share it with us in the comments section below!