Ahhh, deadlift. The Big Daddy. The King. The Lift of The Gods. The only exercise you’ll ever need to build pure muscle and strength. This is a lift that is so manly that after just one set you’ll feel a sudden urge to chomp on a Cuban cigar while lubing up an automatic rifle.
It works everything – lower back, upper back, glutes, hams, quads, abs, traps, forearms. The list goes on. In fact, it’s probably easier to list the muscle groups that deadlift doesn’t hit.
It does everything. Heck, if you left it unattended in a laboratory for 24 hours it would probably come up with a cure for cancer.
However, the problem is that while the mighty deadlift can be your best friend in the gym, it can also be your worst friend too if performed incorrectly.
So here are 5 killer tips to make sure you are deadlifting like an absolute G.
In order to hit your full potential on deadlift a comprehensive warm-up is essential.
A solid warm-up is something that the vast majority of gym rates leave out of their routine. It’s a chore, a waste of time, admin.
However, by warming up effectively you’ll not only be able to hit much heavier weights but you’ll also significantly reduce your chance of injury.
Take Off Your Shoes
Although it might seem trivial, deadlifting without shoes can make a dramatic difference to your lift. It can help boost performance and improve your form in one fell swoop.
How? Well, by putting you closer to the ground it minimises the range of motion. And, in addition, deadlifting in bare feet allows you to really ‘sit back’ while lifting, which will maximise glute and ham engagement.
Push With Your Heels
Too many novice lifters try to yank the bar harder than your girl giving you a “hurry up” handjob.
However, the key when deadlifting is to think of it as a ‘push’ movement rather than a ‘pull’ movement. As the legendary lifting coach Dan John proposes, when performing the movement you should: “Push your heels to China. If you live in China, then push them to Utah!”
Engaging your legs by pushing through the ground will take the pressure off your lower back and will also engage more muscles, making your lift more efficient.
Lower Your Hips
Lifting with your hips too high is a common mistake when deadlifting. By having your hips too high you will not be able to fully engage your legs, thus impairing your full strength potential.
Plus, as mentioned above, this will put all the stress of the movement on your lower back, which will heighten the risk of injury.
To right his, focus on your starting position. Make sure the bar is above the centre of your feet, your shoulder blades are directly over the bar, and the bar is against your shins.
Incorporate Assistance Exercises
There are lots of assistance exercises which you can include in your program to boost your deadlift performance.
For example, if you find your grip to be hampering your lift, you could bust out some Farmer’s Walks to build forearm strength. Or, if keeping your body tight throughout the lift is an issue, start including some serious plank work in your workout.
So, there we have it. These 5 tips will have you dominating the deadlift like a pro and smashing PRs left, right and centre.
If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Hit me up in the comments section below!
About the author
Henry is a fitness junkie who enjoys strength training and marathon running. When not busting out a gruelling set of squats or racking up the miles, you can find him blogging over at GymTalk.