If you’re going to fuck up doing an exercise, try and make it something like wrist curls and not deadlifts. When you’re doing the key compound movement (that is considered a lower back exercise but really a full body power one), it’s real easy to bring on some type of lingering or long-term injury. So go in to battle with a full clip – of knowledge.
1. Start off by squatting down and rolling the bar until it makes contact with your shins.
How you set yourself up even before beginning the first rep will dictate their effectiveness. Plant your feet firmly on the floor with your toes facing slightly outward for better balance and be sure to roll the bar all the way in.
2. Take a slightly wider shoulder-width grip.
This is a medium grip and one that will allow you to have your hands just outside of your hips when you all fully extended, engaging all of the upper body secondary muscles.
3. Take in a deep breath and push out your abdominals to help support your core throughout the first part of the rep.
Do not overlook the importance of this tip. Breathing properly during the deadlift becomes even more important because of the supporting factor involved.
4. Try and picture yourself pushing through the floor with the bottom of your feet as you lift the bar. This will help you in keeping good form and not jerk the bar up.
Kind of like a form of mind-muscle control, this is a way to keep your head in the game away from the weight itself. Pushing off with your feet will help make the transition go smooth from the ground up.
5. Keep the bar in contact with your body as you rise, as this will help with your leverage and balance.
Definitely one of the most important tips and something that many people fail to follow. If you keep the bar away from your body, the emphasis then begins to go away from the target muscle and your front delts begin taking over. Besides, this will cause sloppy form and something that will strain your lower back.
6. Slightly arch your back, keep your chest held high and pull your shoulder blades together.
This one has been hotly debated forever. Should you arch your back or not? Here’s the skinny – rounding your back is the worst mistake that you can make while doing deadlifts. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ you will get hurt, but rather ‘when.’ So to make sure that you do not do this, being aware of allowing the natural curvature of the spine – which is slightly arched – to remain there is a good idea for maintaining proper form and doing some preventive maintenance against injury.
The chest and shoulder blade points are mainly to help keep your form. Doing these two things as you raise the bar will be kind of back-up plans if your balance is off and rounding of the back begins to happen.
7. Your knees should lock out at the top of the rep and you should also tighten your glutes and exhale at this point.
What you don’t want to do is bend backwards at all, a common mistake made by people performing deadlifts. Arching your back a bit is different from hyper extending it.
8. Bring the bar back down the same way you lifted it and do not bounce the plates off the floor for the next rep. Start fresh from the floor by pausing at the starting position.
Another common mistake is doing the bounce move, which is taking away the entire aspect of the movement itself (outside of the first rep). It’s called the deadlift for a reason and that is you are pulling the weight off the floor from a ‘dead’ stop. This is not an exercise where you are going to be repping out anyway, so make sure that you perform each one almost as if they were a separate set in itself.