The deadlift is one of the most effective movements in your workout arsenal! How many other movements work out your upper body, lower body, and core all at once? A simple adjustment can shift the focus of the workout from your back to your legs, and all of the muscles on the back half of your body are engaged throughout the movement. If you want to know how to deadlift like a pro, here are some tips for you:
Focus on Your Feet
This may sound odd, but your ankles and feet are going to do A LOT of the work of keeping you stable. If you’re not standing properly, you could end up hurting yourself. Get those feet just right: for a sumo stance (wide deadlift), line your feet up with the bar’s rings; for the conventional stance, place your feet just inside your hands. Drive your feet down into the floor as you lift for extra power.
Choose the Right Type
Unless you’re a pro, the conventional deadlift (weight on the floor) may be a bit dangerous. Instead, try it using a trap bar (if you’re a real beginner) or in the sumo stance (if you’re intermediate). To do the conventional deadlift, you’ll need to have total mobility in your joints.
Place the Bar Just Right
Place the bar too close to your knees, and you don’t get the lifting power of your legs. Place it too far away, and your back does all the work. When the bar is resting on the floor, stand with the bar running over the middle of your feet. Not over your toes, and not too close to the ankles–right over the center of your feet.
Tuck in Your Chin
Does chin placement matter? Absolutely! Keeping your chin tucked to your chest stops you from engaging your neck as you lift, which in turn keeps your spine in a neutral position. You want to fix your eyes on a spot about 5 to 10 yards in front of where you are standing, and keep that chin tucked in!
Hips and Shoulders Move as One
To get that deadlift just right, you need to move your shoulders and hips at the same time. This synchronous motion will tighten your core, giving you more power, strength, and stability.
Use Your Lats
To stop your upper back from rounding, tighten the muscles in your armpits–your lats. Rounding your upper back can strain the spine, but using this trick will help to create tension throughout your upper body. Squeeze your arms to your armpits as hard as possible as you do the deadlift.
Snap the Bar
While it’s not physically possible for you to snap the weight bar, you want to “try”. This helps to pull down your shoulder blades, gets your lats working, and lifts your chest. Push inward on the bar (right hand twisting clockwise, left hand twisting counter-clockwise) as you perform the deadlift.
Thrust the Hips
This is a very important part of the move, and it’s vital that you finish the deadlift with a forward thrust of your hips. This movement activates your glutes and hips, which give you a lot of power for the deadlift. It will take a lot of the strain off your lower back, and will reduce your risk of injury. As you straighten from the deadlift, squeeze your glutes and thrust your pelvis forward like you’re trying to “hump” the bar. You’ll find the strain on your lower back is greatly reduced thanks to this simple action.