5 Common Deadlift Mistakes
The deadlift is arguably the most beneficial lift you can perform, and my favorite by far. You either lift it or you don’t; you can not cheat it, and it won’t lie to you. As simple of an exercise as it is however, there are some very common mistakes to be aware of. Here is a list of five. Be conscious of them. Take a step back in weight to enforce proper mechanics, then focus on increasing weight. Taking time to perform this magnificent lift safely and properly is better than time off because of injury. So, leave your ego at the door (feel free to grab it on the way out), and let’s jump in.
MISTAKE #1 The Humpback
The dreaded humpback, a rounded back. The most obvious characteristic of a bad lift, which can be identified by even the greenest lifter. There is never an instance where a humpback is acceptable, and I’m sure you expected to find this here. There is, of course, a beautiful whale of the same name, and it must deal with endangerment - which unfortunately cannot be said about this form of the same name. What is the cause? Tossing aside EGO, most often a humpback is representative of underdeveloped hips. Ideally your spine should remain straight with your head, hips, and back inline. While focusing on pushing the floor down as you raise the bar to about knee height (a very important cue to remember), push your hips out towards the bar to lock out. If you are pulling weight that is too heavy, your back will round to move your hips closer to the bar for a better mechanical advantage. To strengthen your hips, incorporate more hip strengthening exercises like thrusters, split squats, and glute ham raises. Combo this with the cue of pushing down the floor and your humpback will go extinct, and you won't find yourself a meme.
MISTAKE #2 Not Maintaining a Straight Bar Path
Most common mistakes when the bar is not pulled straight is:
- It floats away on the way up as it is not kept close enough to the shins and thighs.
- The bar starts too far away from your shins, not aligned mid-foot.
What to do? Don’t let the bar start too far away nor too close to your shins. Place the bar 1” from your shin, or mid foot. When you pull, keep it as close to your shins and thighs as possible. What will help? ENGAGE YOUR LATS. Struggling to feel the fire? Attach bands to the bar and pull them back tight. Deadlift light weight with, keeping the bands tight, which will require your wings to burn.
MISTAKE #3 Jerking the Weight Off the Floor
This is done when not pulling from tense muscular state. Often leads to back discomfort or injury and makes the lower back more likely to round. To address, first set up properly and grip the bar. The last cue before your pull will be to pull your chest up and pull the “slack” out of the bar.
MISTAKE #4 Squatting the Deadlift
Don’t turn the deadlift into a squat moving pattern. This is illustrated when the hips are pushed too low and the back is too upright. When hips are too low your body is placed too far behind the bar. This decreases your leverage and the amount you can lift as your center of gravity is off. When in the starting position, ensure your hips are in between your knees and head. Anatomy will play a part, and we all will differ where our hips will ultimately be. Also, ensure the bar is directly below your shoulders. If your hips are too low, the bar will be in front of your shoulders.
MISTAKE # 5 Over-Extending the Lockout
Another too common mistake is the leeeeeeann back when completing the pull. Yes, the deadlift should be finished with solid hip extension, but this is unnecessary; after pushing forward with your hips, activate your glutes and finish in an upright position. Hyperextending the back can lead to back soreness and injury. One fix is just simply being aware, fixing the simple improper technique. If struggling still, focus on glute activation. Anterior pelvic tilt is also a common culprit.
- Bar Path Not Straight
- Jerking the Weight of the Floor
- Squatting the Deadlift
- Hyper-extending Lockout
Remember to take the time to focus on proper technique, and you’ll maintain time to enjoy gains. Time to perfect form is better than time spent healing on the couch.
What mistake(s) have you had trouble with while performing the deadlift?
Live Happy. (Because dopamine, and stuff…duh)