Deadlifts: Do Them Often, Do Them Right

how to do a deadlift

The much-revered deadlift is, hands down, one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen and lean out your body, but… it’s also one of the easiest to do wrong. This total-body move not only works your core, but your hamstrings, quads, back muscles, shoulders, trapezius, and so… much booty too. While the benefits of the exercise are widely known, proper deadlift technique is not, with many people straining their back while not using correct form. With that being said, let’s delve into exactly how you can deadlift, to minimize the risk of injury and maximize your gains.

  1. Get Grounded

Proper deadlift technique all starts in your stance, so begin by placing your feet shoulder-width apart. Then as you lower your upper half, keep your back flat and the bar or dumbbells sliding right along your legs, and feel your thighs open up slightly – that’s the point when you start engaging your glutes.

  1. Line Everything Up

Remember to get totally comfortable with your positioning before you do your first lift. Line your hands up, shoulder-width apart, keep your elbows locked, relax your shoulder blades, and make sure your neck is in neutral spine (not titling up or down) throughout the entire movement!

  1. The Car Door Trick
deadlift form

A great way to visualize practicing perfect deadlift form is to imagine yourself holding a hefty bag of groceries, and closing your car door with your butt. As you bend down, make sure your booty is poking out directly behind you, shutting your door without dropping those groceries!

  1. Keep That Back Straight!

By far the most important aspect of how to deadlift properly lies within your back. Most people who perform this exercise incorrectly roll their backs like a cat. This can also happen when we are tired or are overextending ourselves with the weights we’re lifting. Make sure to keep your back as flat as a pancake throughout the entirety of your deadlift.

  1. How Low Should You Go?

To keep your form, make sure you drop slowly until you start to feel a stretch in your hamstrings, which is usually with your hands just below your knees. If you drop lower than your body is comfortable with, you may start rolling your back and injuring yourself.

  1. Start Light & Work Up

Always remember that when doing any exercise you aren’t totally used to, you’re gonna want to start gradually. Especially with the precise nature of the deadlift, you’ll need to start with light weights. If you’re not comfortable using a bar, then don’t! There’s nothing wrong with using some light dumbbells in both hands until you’re comfortable increasing the weight.

For a handy visualization of the perfect deadlift, check out our helpful instructional video below. With an exercise as useful and potent as the deadlift, finding the perfect form will save you from injury, and get you pushing your body in all the right ways.

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