Introduction: Deadlift Form Tutorial
Going to the gym, working out, and lifting weights have become very popular for both males and females. Everyone wants be to "thicc", and I do too! And perhaps 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 may not know how to deadlift or it may not feel right. 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
- 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 is one of, if not the most, important steps 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
Throughout the lift, you must 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. When you look down at the bar while standing, the bar should run across the arches 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
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.
If your grip isn't strong enough, have one palm facing towards you and the other 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
Before you start the lift, you will have to take a breath. That breath is crucial to 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. 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. Incorrect breathing technique often causes injuries.
This step applies even if you are using a back brace or lifting belt. Correct way to use those back support equipment 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
Many lifters make the mistake of yanking on the bar when they start pulling; DON’T. Yanking will put you in a bad position and cause injuries.
This step is like loading up a spring. 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 pull on a bar with weights, you will hear clanking noise and feel some play between the bar and the weight plates. 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
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. The weights may not move right away. Just 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. Straightening out your legs will concentrate all the weight and stress to your lower back. At that point, you will have higher chances of failure and injury.
Note: keep your arms straight; engaging your biceps or bending your arm can cause bicep tears
Note: the bar should slide up your legs
Step 9: 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. 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, do not lean back to exaggerate the movement. Hyper-extending your back is unnecessary and dangerous. Once your body is perfectly straight, you have completed your lift.
Note: the bar should ride up your legs
Step 10: Descend
In a controlled manner, lower the weight back down to the ground. That does not mean slowly. Lowering 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. Letting the weight bounce off the ground and continuing with the lift will not allow you to breathe correctly and engage your core.