Calves, Forearms, Glutes, Hamstrings, Middle Back, Quads, Traps
- The deadlift is one of the most potent muscle and strength building exercises one can perform. Just take a look at all the parts of your body that get worked! Set up for the deadlift by loading the appropriate amount of weight onto an olympic bar.
- Stand in front of the bar with your feet around shoulder width apart and half way under the loaded bar. Your toes should be pointed straight ahead or slightly outward. Do what is comfortable for you.
- Reach down and grab the bar with both hands using an overhand grip just outside of shoulder width. You can use an alternating grip (one over/one under) to help you lift more weight. Lifting straps can also be used to help lift more weight.
- Drop your hips until your shins are touching the barbell. Your hips should be in the best, most natural position for leverage so you may need to raise or lower them slightly.
- Make sure your eyes are looking ahead. Your body will follow your head so keep your head up and eyes forward!
- Be sure to keep a straight back and never allow it to round. You are now in the starting position.
- Focus on standing up with the bar - not pulling the bar from the floor, and lead with your head as you rise. Drive with your heals and explode upward (leading with your head) as you rise.
- As the bar rises above your knees, thrust your hips forward and contract your back by bringing your shoulder blades back.
- Pause here for a moment and then reverse the movement by bending at the knees while slowly lowering the weight - keeping it under strict control on the descent.
- Reset your stance if necessary and repeat for desired reps.
- When positioning your feet under the bar (with the bar over the the half-way point from your heels to toes) it can be difficult to gauge if your foot position is correct, so ask another lifter for guidance or video tape your deadlift set up.
- Use an alternating grip if the weight gets too heavy. Using lifting straps will also allow you to lift heavier than your grip strength will allow.
- The biggest mistake you can make is trying to perform deadlifts from an unnatural body position. Read and re-read the form tips presented in this guide and practice them with a moderate weight. Start the deadlift with the hips in a position of strength and maximal leverage. If you start the deadlift with your hips too high you will be at a mechanical disadvantage and will tax your lower back. Starting with your hips too low will also cause you to lose your leverage and power.
- If you start the deadlift while looking down, there is a good chance your hips will lift up causing you to lose form and lift with your lower back. This is a very common deadlift mistake. Think about exploding your head upward while trying to stand erect. The body will follow the head.
- If something feels wrong, it probably is. Video tape your deadlift session and have experienced lifters on the Muscle & Strength forum critique your form. To post your videos, visit the Form Critique Thread.