How to do the Barbell Deadlift with Proper Form

How to do the Barbell Deadlift with Proper Form

The Deadlift.  There aren’t many exercises out there that can produce the same type of full body workout as the deadlift.  Deadlifting is a surefire way to sculpt an amazing lower body, strengthen your core and put you on the path of having an outstanding lower back and Glutes.

It doesn’t matter if you are a guy or a girl, Deadlifting the right way is one of the absolute best ways that you can strengthen almost all of the major muscle groups in your body.

Why do some people avoid Deadlifts?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there that give deadlifts a bad reputation by practicing the exercise with improper.  Doing deadlifts improperly is just asking for an injury.

Rocking back and forth with a dose of heavyweights is asking for a lower back injury that could sideline any fitness plans you have for the next 3-6 months or longer.

People also make excuses as to why they shouldn’t be deadlifting.

Most naysayers commonly make simple excuses like: “my lower back is too weak” or“that just looks awful.”

It’s unfortunate that people seem to manufacture all types of excuses to get them out of doing one of the most beneficial exercises that you can do for any strength training routine.

So if it’s so good, how can you start doing them without getting injured?

Make Sure You Have Proper Form.

Proper form is extremely important, no matter the exercise.

It’s especially important though when it comes to some of the more basic complex lifts.

Exercises like the deadlift work multiple joints and muscle groups at once, making them more susceptible to injury if you aren’t doing things the correct way.

So how can you execute the proper form into your next workout?

1.  Start with the Bar on the Floor:  Walk to the bar with your feet directly under the middle of the bar.  Start off slowly by deadlifting with just an Olympic bar, don’t use weights.

Related: What is Renegade roll and what muscles are built by it?

This will ensure you get the feel down before you start adding weight to test yourself.

2.  Get your Grip Right:  You want to make sure that you grip the bar correctly by starting with a narrow grip, slightly outside of your shins.

Some people prefer to use one hand under while the other is over, and some people want to use both hands over much like a pull up versus a chin up.  Either way is fine.

3.  Bending your Knees and Grabbing the Bar:  Tighten up your core and do your best to focus this exercise away from your lower back.

Your shins should be touching the bar and you should remain touching the bar as relaxed as possible before attempting the upward motion to perform the exercise.

4.  Put the Emphasis on your chest:  The emphasis here is to feel the motion from the ground up through your hamstrings and your glutes and into your chest.

5.  Keep your body straight:  You need to make sure you aren’t pushing your lower back too much.

Again, the emphasis here is on your glutes, hamstrings and holding that bar in place with your arms supported by your core.

6.  Remember this isn’t a Power Clean or a Squat:  This isn’t a clean and jerk and you aren’t an Olympic lifter. Don’t snap your back, head or any other part of your body during this exercise or you’ll end up at your doctor’s office with a pinched nerve or herniated disc.

You may work similar muscles to your squat but remember that this isn’t a squat.  Don’t look up and make sure you keep your back straight.

Lock your elbows before you start to pull up and extend.

7.  Pull up and extend:  Stand up completely straight keeping the emphasis on your glutes and hamstrings.  Keep the focus away from your lower back.

Your lower back will get a naturally amazing workout performing this exercise, but it should not be the focal point of the deadlift.

Tips on Preventing Injuries:

We’ve already mentioned the importance of proper form in this article, but the bottom line is that nothing is more important than practicing the deadlift the correct way.  You should never do any of the following:

  • Above everything else, start with light weights.
  • Round Your Back, making it vulnerable to injury.
  • Do not Jerk, this begs for pinched nerves.
  • Do not rock back and forth, this puts your back at risk.
  • Do not look up like you do when you squat.
  • Do not look directly down like you do when tying your shoes.
  • Do not bow your Knees – keep them straight.

If you follow the tips in this guide, especially if you start light, you should be able to start deadlifting and focus on doing what’s right to start building your physique the correct way.  No workout routine is complete without having deadlifts added to the regimen, so take your time and practice the correct way.

Related: 7 Benefits of weighted pull-ups – Start doing them right away

While the video below is not ours, it’s a great video example of how you can practice the proper deadlift form in your next workout.