Deadlift: means to take a barbell from the floor to resting around hip level. Put simply, a deadlift is an exercise that trains your body to pick up a heavy object from the ground in the most efficient way possible.
The deadlift is one of the most efficient exercises around when it comes to building strength, power, and a solid core in addition to improving overall sports performance. When performed properly, it will go a long way in helping you improve your posture and aiding injury prevention.
Deadlifts work your legs, butt, back, arms, forearms, shoulders, traps, and abs. Not bad for one exercise! Oh, and it also pumps up your whole body and can even release extra testosterone, which will help you in your muscle building.
Think about our ancestors: they didn’t have a weight rack to deal with, or a Smith machine to help them out – they had heavy rocks, logs, and carcasses they needed to move from one place to another. Same applies for us today in our everyday lives; home, work, playing with kids. At some point we are going to be moving things, equipment, etc. and if we have the proper technique we can do so without injury.
The Deadlift is the most important exercise next to the Squat. But nothing is more frustrating than plateauing on the same weight over & over. Even worse is when the weight you Deadlifted in past workouts for 5 reps suddenly doesn’t even want to budge the floor.
Improving the Deadlift – Means More. The fastest way to boost your Deadlift is to Deadlift more. If you are bad or weak at something, the best way to improve it is to do it more often (but not over-train). The deadlift is the number one technique lift. If you don’t have technique in the Deadlift then there will be injury… you just can’t muscle it up.
Things to keep in mind when doing Deadlifts:
• Don’t arch your back (or roll it in the other direction). Keep your abs tight the ENTIRE TIME, and keep your back straight.
• Keep the bar as close to you as possible – almost roll it up your shins until you get to your knees, and then almost roll it up your thighs until you’re upright.
• As you bring it past your knees, don’t think about pulling up with your back, thrust in with your hips.
• Keep your head up and chest out as you lift – this will help you keep your back aligned properly.
• As you bring the weight up, you want your legs to straighten out simultaneously as your hips come in completely – form a straight line at the same time with your hips, knees and feet.
• Don’t Pull – Push. You have to use your hip muscles. Deadlift by driving through your heels, push your hips forward once the bar reaches knee level, and lock the weight by squeezing your glutes hard at the top.
• Don’t Squat – Deadlift. Deadlifts are NOT Squats, your hips have to be higher to pull big weights and so you don’t hit your shins on each rep. Raise your hips so your shoulder-blades end up over the bar.
• Use Your Legs. Your hips should be higher than when you Squat, but not too high otherwise your lower back will be doing all the work.
• Strengthen Your Grip. It doesn’t matter if your legs/back have the strength to Deadlift the weight. If your hands can’t hold the barbell, it will obviously never leave the floor. (perform Farmer’s Carry, Single Hand/Arm Holds from Pull Up Bar)
• Warm-up Properly. Some guys don’t warm-up at all which is not only asking for injuries, it also doesn’t let you practice Deadlift form. Others are so afraid of getting hurt that they waste energy doing a gazillion of warm-up sets.
• Pull Faster. The faster you lift, the more muscles fibers you’ll recruit and the more weight you’ll pull. Lifting fast is NOT cheating, nor is it dangerous or bad for your joints as long as you control the bar and use proper technique. Proof of this is that all Olympic lifters pull explosively yet they have low rates of injury.
• Accelerate the bar from the floor as fast as you can. The way down should be under control but not slow. Don’t worry if the bar speed decreases as the weight goes up – just apply as much force to the barbell as you can.
• Stretch Your Hips. Spending 8hrs/day or more behind a computer like so many of us do, will tighten your hips. You’ll have a hard time engaging your glutes during Deadlifts which can turn you weak at lockout and hurt your lower back. Stretch your hip flexors with warrior lunges and do supine bridges to activate your glutes.