A thorough 48 page overview to deadlifting can be found here: Become a Superhero with the Power of Deadlifts, or here for a FREE 30 page PDF.
The Basic Deadlift Technique
- Begin with the proper stance. Properly stand with your feet apart at a distance the same as the width of your hips. The idea behind this stance is to allow some room for your arms to not get blocked during the lifting process. Blocked arms could result in a labored lift that could result in you bending your arm, which is very dangerous for your elbows.
- Always have your feet at the perfect distance away from the bar as well. It is a common mistake for many people to stand with the bar almost past their toes. It is a move that many claim to make in order to avoid hitting the shins. However, if you lift properly, your shins will not be at risk of getting hit at all, as a beginner. You should stand in a position where the bar is directly over your mid foot. This is the general area in the middle of the foot and it is considered to be the point if balance for your foot and by extension, for your entire body. Having the bar too far forward will set you off balance when you begin your lift, hitting your shins in the process anyway.
- Carefully grip the bar ahead of you. The distance between your hands while gripping should be the same as the width of your shoulders. A narrow grip will allow you to lift more weight. Make sure that your grip is firm and that both of your palms are facing you. This is a common beginner stance and you can mix your grips later when you become more accustomed to the exercise.
- Keep your arms straight and vertical as you perform your lift. As mentioned before, bending could be dangerous to your elbows.
- Make sure your hips are not too low, because such a position could move your knees too far forward, resulting in an injury to your shins in the process. They shouldn’t be too high as well because you will become unable to lift with your legs, and a lot of pressure will shift to your back, putting you at risk of back injury in the process. The best way to prevent having low hips is to make sure that your shoulders are not directly above the bar during your lift, but slightly in front of it.
- Keep your back straight throughout the lift cycle. Since you are doing the lifting with your legs, keeping your back straight and consistent keeps the pressure off of your spine entirely.
- Lift the bar up slowly from the floor in a vertical line, pulling it up over your legs, shins and finally feet. Push your feet through the floor on your way up instead of actually pulling the bar up with your arms.
- Make sure that you bring the bar back down, mirroring the exact same way that you took it up. Move it in a vertical line and push your hips out so that it does not hit your knees. Bend them accordingly as you carefully place the bar on the floor.
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