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Master the Deadlift With Tips from a Personal Trainer


Deadlifts are my favourite compound lift and they are an exercise you need to add to your exercise routine, if you haven't already. When doing them properly, they are an amazing way to build strength all over and prevent injury. 

There are many benefits to a deadlift, but here are some of the reasons why I love them:
  • Deadlifts build a stronger posterior chain (better posture)
  • They are a full body movement
  • Best movement for over all strength building
  • Use multiple muscles such as legs, back, core, arms, and grip

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Master the Deadlift With Tips from a Personal Trainer

The deadlift can be quite intimidating, but it’s easier then you think!

Like the squat it’s a natural movement that we use daily: picking up groceries, moving heavy furniture, even picking your kids up from the floor. These all use the same movement pattern and bracing techniques as the deadlift.

The key to a great deadlift is making sure you have the proper form, just like any other exercise in the gym practise makes perfect.

There are many different types of deadlifts: the conventional deadlift, sumo deadlift, snatch grip deadlift, Romanian deadlift (also known as the stiff legged deadlift or straight legged deadlift), deficit deadlift, and the rack pull/box pull. All these variations on the deadlift have their own quirks to them, but for this article we’re going to focus on proper form and execution of the conventional deadlift.

Master the Deadlift With Tips from a Personal Trainer

  • Walk to the bar. Stand with your mid-foot under the barbell. Your shins shouldn’t touch it yet. Place your feet hip width apart. 
  • Grab the bar. Hinge forward without bending your legs. Grab the bar on either side of your legs about shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees. Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar.
  • Lift your chest. Straighten your back by raising your chest up and keeping your shoulders back. You should feel as if you are bending the bar by engaging your back muscles (these are your lats). Remember to keep your ribs locked to your pelvis, core and back tight. 
  • Pull/push. Take a big breath, hold it, and stand up with the weight. Slide the bar up your legs, but do not lose the contact between the bar and your legs. You should feel as you are pushing through the ground with your feet and legs rather then pulling with your arms. Don’t shrug or lean back at the top. Lock your hips and knees, squeeze your glutes, and keep your ribs to your pelvis.
  • Hinge forward. Unlock your hips and knees, then lower the bar along your legs by moving your hips back once the bar is past your knees you can bend them fully to place the bar back down. While doing all this you must keep your shoulders back by retracting your back muscles and keep that chest high.

Master the Deadlift With Tips from a Personal Trainer

Make sure that you avoid these common mistakes during deadlifts (and find out how to correct them):

  • Rounding your back. This means your back is not engaged and your core is concave. 
  • Bending your arms. This means you are not thinking about bending the bar.
  • Arching your back at the top of the deadlift. This tells me your ribs are not locked to your pelvis.
  • Squatting. If you are squatting, then you're not hinging at the hips.

This may seem like a lot to remember but trust me once you have it is hard to undo!

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