Introduction: Deadlift Form Tutorial

Picture of Deadlift Form Tutorial

Going to the gym, working out, and lifting weights have become very popular for both males and females in recent years. Everyone wants be to "thicc", and I do too! And you read somewhere or heard from someone that Deadlift is a great exercise to grow your glutes, thighs, back, and overall posterior chain. But, you don’t know really know how to do it, it doesn’t feel right, or you injure yourself quite often. Well, you are at the right place.

In this instructable, I will explain, step-by-step, how to deadlift properly without injuries.

Step 1: Equipment

What you will need:

  • Access to a gym with a barbell and weights,obviously
  • Flat, hard-soled shoes (please don't wear Yeezys, Air Max, Ultra Boost, etc.)
  • Patience, dedication, and perseverance

Nice-to-haves:

  • Chalk, lifting straps, or gloves - to help with your grip
  • Long socks or compression pants - to prevent bloody shins
  • Lifting belt

Step 2: Warm-up

Warming up before a workout/exercise is one of the most important steps, if not the most important step to deadlifting heavy, safely. Not only does proper warm-up prevent injury but it will allow you to lift more efficiently by loosening up your muscles and promoting flexibility/mobility. Some people simply go through the movement with just the bar couple times and call it a warm-up; it's not. Before you even think about touching the bar, you should perform stretches and exercises to promote blood circulation and get your muscles firing.

Step 3: Setup: Stance

Although this instructable is supposed to tell you exactly how to deadlift, everyone’s body mechanic is different and minor adjustments are required, so I will give you couple of options. You should try each of them out, and pick the most comfortable one.

Generally, people feel most comfortable with their feet shoulder-width apart. However, they should not be any farther apart. One way to gauge correct stance is to stand as if you are about to jump as high as possible. How far apart are your feet when you are trying to break your vertical jump record? That stance probably allows you to exert the most force into the ground.

Nonetheless, as I have said before, you should try out different stances to find out what works the best for YOU.

Note: When testing out your setup, technique, or anything, keep it light. Don’t test with heavy weight!

Step 4: Setup: Initial Bar Position

Picture of Setup: Initial Bar Position

One crucial tip to keep in mind throughout the lift is to keep the bar as close to you as possible. Initial bar position relative your body will allow you to keep the bar close. The bar should be right above the middle of your feet. What I mean by that is when you look down at the bar while standing, the bar should be right above the middle of your feet. The bar should not be further away from you than the middle of your feet as that will put the bar too far away from you.

Step 5: Setup: Grip

Picture of Setup: Grip

Your hands should grip the bar right outside your legs with palms facing towards you. You don’t want your grips to be further apart as that will increase your range of motion or distance you have to move the weight.

When the weight starts to get too heavy, and you are having trouble holding onto the weight, you should switch your grip so that one palm is facing towards you and the other is facing away from you (under-over grip). It does not matter which hand is facing which direction, pick whatever is most comfortable.

Step 6: Breath

Picture of Breath

Before you start the lift, you will have to take a breath. This is very important as it will determine the stability of your lift.

When breathing for Deadlift, or any exercises (squat, bench, bicep curls, etc.), you should breath into your abdomen or more correctly your diaphragm. Think of it as breathing with your stomach. When you perform diaphragmatic breathing, your shoulders remain neutral and should not move. Only your stomach should expand. This may require some practice. Breathe in and try to make your stomach as big as possible.

Once you are comfortable breathing with your diaphragm, now try activating your core by pushing the air further down into your pelvis. While keeping your stomach expanded with air, create downward pressure inside your stomach, as if you are trying to drop a big one.

Correct breathing technique will allow you brace your core and provide firm, stable support for your spine. This is where most people mess up and injure themselves.

This step applies even if you are using a back brace or lifting belt. Correct way to use those back support equipments is to use this breathing technique and push your stomach into the brace/belt, so that the brace/belt becomes extremely tight. So tight that you can barely squeeze your finger between you and the belt.

Step 7: Before the Pull

Picture of Before the Pull

Many lifters make the mistake of yanking on the bar when they start pulling; DON’T. This is very inefficient and will put you in a bad position, causing injuries.

I like to think of it as loading up a spring. What you want to do is pull on the bar enough to take the slack out of the bar. Meaning, there should not be any play in the bar. If you load up the bar and pull on the bar, you will hear clanking noise and feel some play between the bar and the weight plate. So, if you pull the bar to take the slack out, there should no longer be any play between the bar and the plate.

Once you have taken the slack out of the bar, you should get your body into position. As you did with the bar, you need to take the “slack” out of you body. Before you even initiate the pull, your core should be tight, arms should be straight, and your hamstrings and quads should be loaded up like a spring, ready to explode.

To get your body into position: Lower your hips and glutes so that your knees are bent no more than 90 degrees. Straighten out your lower and upper back, keep your chest up, and keep your head neutral (DON’T LOOK UP, KEEP YOUR NECK ALIGNED WITH YOUR SPINE)

Note: while you are getting into position, you should continue to keep your core tight using the breathing technique.

Step 8: The Pull: Up to the Knee

Picture of The Pull: Up to the Knee

Now that you are in position and ready to explode, start driving your feet into the ground. Don’t think of it as lifting the weight, but pushing yourself into ground by pulling on the bar. It may take some time and effort before the bar actually starts moving. Until then, be patient and keep driving into the ground.

Also, don't straighten out your legs as soon as you start pulling. You want to keep those knees bent and use your quads to push your legs into the ground. If you straighten out your legs, your quads and hamstring are no longer in use, and all the stress will be applied to your lower back. At that point you will be extremely likely to fail the lift and/or injure yourself.

Note: keep your arms straight. Do not engage your biceps or bend your arms to prevent bicep tears

Note: the bar should in contact with your legs

Step 9: The Pull: Beyond the Knee

Picture of The Pull: Beyond the Knee

Once the bar has passed your knees, you are mostly in the clear. At this point, you want to squeeze your butt cheeks together, as if you are trying not to soil your pants. Squeezing your buttocks will engage your hamstrings and glutes to straighten out your legs and back, thus finishing the lift.

At the end of the lift, some have tendency to lean back to exaggerate the movement. This is unnecessary and possibly dangerous. Once your body is perfectly straight, you have completed your lift.

Note: the bar should be touching your legs/riding up your legs

Step 10: Descend

Picture of Descend

In a controlled manner, lower the weight back down to the ground. That does not mean slowly, trying to lower the weight too slowly will cause too much stress and strain on your back. Also you may exhale now.

If you are doing multiple repetitions, wait for the bar to stop completely and setup again. Some like to let the weight bounce off the ground continue on with the lift. However, that will not allow you to breathe correctly and engage your core before the lift.

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