How to Deadlift a Barbell Safely, Effectively and With Good Body Mechanics




Introduction: How to Deadlift a Barbell Safely, Effectively and With Good Body Mechanics

Dead lifting and body mechanics go hand in hand.

Without good mechanics, you won't be able to properly pick up a barbell or even something simple like a pen that fell on the floor.

Dead lifting helps build strength in hamstrings and works on proper body stabilization making them ideal to practice for everyday life.

This inscrutable will teach you proper mechanics through positioning, a valuable lesson taught in a variety of way by coaches and therapists.

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Step 1: Quick Guide Body Mechanics

  • Always use your legs as the initiator prior to picking anything up or down.
  • Keep your back in a neutral position. How to keep your back neutral is to keep your chest up and buttocks out.
  • Keep the load close to your body. If you allow for the load to leave your body, it will put pressure on your back potentially causing a back injury.
  • One way to prevent this injury is to drag the load up your legs.

Photo Credit: No photo license or credit available;_ylt...

Step 2: Disclaimer

Dead lifting is a functional lift we use on a daily basis, but without a barbell.

Whenever we pick something up from the ground, we are using the same mechanics needed for a dead lift IF we are demonstrating the pick up with proper body mechanics.

When you use poor body mechanics, the chance of back injury is present.

Not using proper body mechanics with dead lifting can be detrimental if not performed correctly. Poor posture places excessive weight loads on the lower back and hamstrings giving the potential for a serious injury.

If you follow these simple steps and are ALWAYS mindful of your body mechanics, you will be safe and can perform functional dead lifts to strengthen your back, legs and everyday movement.

Beginners Warning:

Try to implement this movement with a light load to get the concept down. Using a PVC pipe approximately 6 foot long or an unloaded barbell weighing 15-45lbs (depending where you found your bar) would be a good place to start. You want to make sure you're not overloading the barbell with poor body mechanics. This would be a great way to get an injury if your are not prepared. Practice with light loads is key!

Step 3: Description

  • The point of a dead lift is to pick up a load from the ground safely and with good body mechanics.
  • The dead lift not only supports proper body mechanics if done correctly, but builds strength in the hamstrings and the core.
  • A barbell dead lift starts from the ground and sits approximately 7 inches high depending on plates, 2 inches without plates.
  • You must load (plate) weights onto the barbell if you desire to lift more then 45 pounds. Make sure you load weights evenly
  • The dead lift should not hurt and is meant to to build strength along with the application of good body mechanics.

Step 4: List of Materials

1. Barbell (45 pound bar)

2. Bumper Plates (weights)

3. Clips

4. Solid,level flooring

5. Shoes (optional)

The barbell, plates and clips can all be purchased at

Step 5: Steps to Performing a Deadlift

Load the barbell. When loading a barbell,it's a great opportunity to practice good body mechanics.

Steps when loading the barbell:

  • IF adding weights, you will want to approach the weight plates with your mid feet surrounding the sides of the plate.
  • Place your chest up, drop your buttocks back and grasp the weight plate.
  • Keep the load close to your body. The weight plate should become a part of you when picking it up and carrying it to your destination. The weight is as close to you as possible and you will be holding the weight between your belly and pelvic bones for optimal body mechanics.
  • Once you're at your barbell, holding your weight plate tight to your body still, drop your buttocks, keep your chest up as you descent into a squat.
  • Place the weight in an upright position (as detailed in the picture).
  • Grasp the barbell with left hand as you feed the shaft of the barbell into the upright plate you'll be holding with your opposite hand. Do the same for the opposite side.
  • Make sure you remain in a squatting position with your chest up and buttocks back while loading.
  • Once barbell is loaded to desired weight, place clips snug against weight plate.

Step 6:

Stand centered, in front of the bar, this prepares you for the next position.

Step 7: Starting Postion

This is the position to be in before picking up the barbell.

Having your feet shoulder width apart, dropping buttocks to about 90 degrees and keeping chest upright while grabbing a hold of the barbell.

Your hands should be placed on the barbell about 1-2 inches from the outer aspect of your shoes.

It is not a bad idea for new lifters to keep their focus on something in front of them and not looking down. This will help establish keeping your chest up.

Step 8: Avoid Poor Body Mechanics!

You want to avoid keeping your buttocks too high and your chest pointed towards the floor.

One way to avoid this, is to take a video of your starting position. Do this before you pick up the bar to make sure you have good mechanics down.

Another way to avoid poor body mechanics is to use a mirror if available.

Step 9: The Pick Up of the Dead Lift

  1. While holding the barbell in the proper postion, start to rise up using your legs. Think of pushing your heels into the ground and your arms are long chains.
  2. Do not pull up on the barbell, just hold it tight as your start to ascend.

Step 10: The Lock Out

  1. While lifting the barbell, you want to maintain proper body mechanics of chest up.
  2. As you rise, your buttocks will return to neutral. Maintain long,chain like arms and chest up.
  3. Once the barbell hits approximately mid-thigh, you will have reached the top of the ascent.
  4. The finishing process of the ascent will be to lock out the shoulder. This is done simply by trying to squeeze your should blades together.

Step 11: The Descent From the Top

Once locked out at the top of the dead lift, draw your buttocks back while keeping your chest up.

Drag the barbell down your legs while keeping chest up and working towards a 90 degrees angle at your hips.

Once your reach approximately 90 degrees, your barbell should reach the ground.

Once the barbell reaches the ground from the start position, the lift is complete.

Step 12: A Video of a Dead Lift

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    4 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Very great explained instructions!

    for those people with bad knees(like me), let the barbell only go to the knees, then is the load not so high.


    3 years ago

    tips to easily deadlifts a barbell. Lifting is what makes our body
    stronger and can cause infections while touching the equipments. To
    avoid skin infections tea tree oil is very beneficial.


    3 years ago

    Great tutorial, clearly explained!



    3 years ago

    Very good write up! Great instructions for dead lift techniques. Thanks for sharing :)