Odds are you are making a few little mistakes. We’re here to help.
The deadlift is often considered one of the most essential exercises in a bodybuilder’s arsenal. It is also considered one of the most natural and primal movements for the human body. The deadlift uses nearly every muscle group in the body. It targets the hamstrings, lower back, and glutes. It also pumps up the quads, abs, upper back, arms, and shoulders. It is truly a compound exercise – that’s why almost all bodybuilders use it.
When you take a look at the deadlift it appears pretty simple. It’s a natural movement and so many athletes quickly learn the motion and jump right into lifting – or so they think. The cold hard truth is that there are little details to the deadlift that you are probably doing wrong.
Want to get the most out of this essential exercise? We take you step by step to help you perfect the deadlift and start kicking some serious ass.
It’s All in the Stance
As with all exercises, your posture and stance is the most important part of working out. If you are set up incorrectly, not only will you minimize your muscle gains, you will also be prone to injury. So let’s take a look at how to set yourself up for the deadlift.
You want to have your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward. The key here is to make sure your balance is on your mid-foot. This means that you aren’t putting all the weight on your toes or the heel – just right in the middle. You want to have your mid-foot right under your hip joint. This will prevent too much weight going onto your toes or heel – thus preventing injury and also putting the pressure on the right muscles.
Bar Position & Grip
You want to have the bar about an inch away from your shins. This will put it directly over your mid-foot. Practice standing up straight with where you have the bar placed. Does the bar lift up straight? Where does your balance go? If it’s not right on your mid-foot, wasted energy is being spent trying to stay balanced. This is a waste of your effort. If the bar is positioned correctly this shouldn’t be a problem.
As far as grip goes, you want to have the narrowest grip possible without your hands rubbing your legs on the way up. The biggest mistake most newbies make is taking too wide of a grip. You want to make sure that your arms hang parallel to each other once you grip the bar. That’s how you know you have the right set up.
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Bend the Knees
Now is the time to bend your knees forward until your shins touch the bar. This will make your shins have a slightly forward angle. Make sure you do not drop your waist as you bend the knees. Think of your body like a hinge.
It’s also important to note: do not move the bar position as you grip the bar and bend your knees. You need it to stay over your mid-foot. Don’t forget.
Chest & Back
Now it’s time for you to set your back so you can perform the lift. Pull your chest up and make sure your back is flat. Once again, don’t drop your hips. This is probably the biggest mistake that most lifters make – so we just have to say it again. This is the hardest but most important part of the deadlift. It may not feel easy to set your body up like this – but that’s the point. If this was easy you wouldn’t be getting strong now, would you?
It’s Time to Lift
Now that you have the stance down, it’s time for you to actually lift these weights and start punishing your muscles. You start by taking a deep breath and pulling the bar over your mid-foot. It should come right up your shins and should be a perfectly straight vertical line. If it’s not you’re doing something wrong. So you should go back and practice your stance again.
Once the bar is past your knees, you should be in lockout position now. Gently rest the bar against your thighs and maintain a straight back. Do not roll your shoulders back. Do not slouch!
Once you are in the lockout position, you can pause here for a few seconds if you wish. This will provide you with bigger gains. Now all you have to do is exhale and slowly drop the bar back down the same way you did on the way up – a straight line and with a straight back.
The More You Know…
Now you know all of the little important details in order to perform the perfect deadlift. Sure, you may have thought that you were doing them right – they look so easy to do. But odds are there were a few things you were skipping out on or messing up. Now you have no excuse. So head back out to the gym and start lifting. You’re muscles should start noticing the difference right away.
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