The Deadlift is no longer just the domain of experienced power lifters. More and more, personal trainers, athletes and recreational lifters are filling up that part of the gym. But it's not an exercise to be taken lightly, because poor deadlift technique can be extremely dangerous.
When done properly, the Deadlift has huge carryover to athletics. It's great for fat loss and will help make your back injury proof. That's why it's worthwhile to take the time to learn how to Deadlift with good form. Here are three tips to make sure you stay safe and reap the benefits:
1. Be a hinge
The Deadlift is a hinge movement. If you can hinge well, you can Deadlift. I never put weight in my client's hands for a Deadlift until he proves he can hinge well.
To do the hinge, stand one foot away from a wall with your back to the wall and a slight bend in your knees. Without changing the bend (don't squat), push your hips back until your butt touches the wall. Check out this video for a demonstration:
2. Elevate the bar
It kills me to see people with rounded lower backs lifting a barbell loaded with 25-pound weights off the floor. If the bar is too low to the ground, it is impossible to maintain good back position as you Deadlift. The bar needs to be elevated to where it would be with standard 45-pound plates on each end. If you are not yet at the level where you can start out with standard plates (and most people aren't), you can use bumper plates, which are lesser weights with the same diameter as normal 45-pound plates. If your gym is not outfitted with bumper plates, and you can't start with 45s on each side, go to the next tip.
3. Start with a Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian or "straight-leg" Deadlift is great for building strength and learning how to hinge with weight. Start with an unloaded barbell in the standing position and perform a hinge, keeping the bar in contact with your body. Check it out here. Add weight slowly until you are strong enough to lift a barbell with 45s from the floor.
After you incorporate Deadlifts into your routine, feel free to check back to make sure that you are not sacrificing good form for bigger lifts. You want to reap the tremendous benefits of Deadlifting without endangering your back. Feel the burn!
- Master the Deadlift, Part 1: The Conventional Deadlift
- Become a Better Athlete With the Deadlift
- Elite Performance with Mike Boyle: One-Leg Deadlift
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock