The deadlift is one of the most difficult moves to execute properly. Despite its level of difficulty, the deadlift is also one of the most popular moves to do in the gym because it exercises most of the muscles in your body. Unfortunately, the deadlift is also the move that yields the worst postures and shock lifting techniques. People lift far too heavy with a curved spine making them prone to injury. To execute a deadlift properly, it should be done in the following steps to ensure you are doing it correctly and will subsequently avoid injury.

The stance
The first thing you need to get right is your stance. Begin by having your feet shoulder width apart under the bar. Make sure your feet are pointing straight ahead or even angled out to the sides ever so slightly. You can experiment a little bit to see what works and feels best for you. By finding a foot position that keeps you stable, you will be able to use heavier weights. Make sure your feet stay flat on the floor at all times.

The grip and position
Now you are stood correctly you need to adopt an “Olympic” grip on the bar (one hand over and one hand under). You need to concentrate on sitting back as if sitting in a chair when you are deadlifting to keep your spine straight and your head up whilst leaning back into the lift – this will give you maximum power to execute the lift.

The upward movement
With the deadlift it’s crucial to execute the movement with power. You want to really engage your glutes and quads so you can explode the weight off of the floor. It will help you a little more if you think of the movement more as a push than a pull movement. Your lower body muscles should be doing the majority of the work, not your arms and traps.

The downward movement
When you are bringing the barbell down back to the floor you want to have your thighs parallel to the floor. You should have your knees directly over your feet. Make sure your knees aren’t past your toes or behind your heels. You want to keep your butt low to the ground in the downward position before taking the barbell down your thighs and safely returning it back to the floor.

Because you want to get a good grip on the bar, you can also invest in some straps to ensure your grip on the bar remains firm. Lifting straps also help you to lift the barbell meaning you could probably lift more wearing them. A weight belt to support your back and keep you straight is also a good investment if you want to regularly deadlift; it will take some pressure off your lower back. Practice makes perfect with the deadlift so make sure you start off lighter and steadily increase your weight as you improve.

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Betsy Smith

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