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Following on from the Squat technique article I posted last week, what could be better than a 2-part series on Deadlifts! There are very few exercises that stimulate multiple growth like the deadlift can. It is one of the main exercises used as a benchmark of overall strength, simple to execute and a big strength and mass builder when used correctly. Unfortunately, it is also one of the exercises I see performed incorrectly more time times than any other in the gym. On a number of occasions I have felt the need to intervene before a serious injury occurred.
Below, i’ve split this King Strength Builder into 8 easy to highlight steps, that will have you well on your way to perfecting your deadlift. The advise below is for the conventional Regular deadlift. Part 2 will look at the variations of the deadlift, which include the Sumo, Stiff-Legged & Rack Pull.
1. Stand with feet slightly narrower than shoulder width, with the bar over the middle of the feet. Note that I said feet, not trainers. Feet can be angled out slightly. This will allow you to establish a better back angle.
2. Bend at the waist, keeping legs straight, gripping the bar with a tight overhand grip. A split grip of overhand & underhand can also be used.
3. Now bend the knees until the shins touch the bar. The bar should be over the middle of the feet, with shoulder blades directly above the bar. This should establish the correct back angle for the lift.
4.Taking a deep breath, take the tension of ther bar. Maintaining neutral alignment in the neck, lift the chest and pull your shoulder blades back and down, looking forward at a point roughly 15-18 feet infront of you. This will allow you to gauge your body position throughout the movement.
5. Pushing your heels through the floor, lift the chest, pulling the bar upwards in a smooth motion, maintaining its proximity to the body. Be ready to suffer some shin scraping.
6. Once the bar has passed the knee, drive the hips through & the chest forward as you pull the shoulders back. Some people may feel the benefit of using the latimus dorsi to pull the bar upwards towards the waist. Hyper extension of the hips is unnecessary, locking out is the aim. Try to maintain the deep breath as this will support the back and core.
7. The eccentric (lowering) part of the movement will be performed much quicker than the concentric part. Lower the bar by pushing the hips back and when the bar reaches the knee, start to bend the knees.
Don’t try to control the weight too much, just go down with it.
8. Keep the chest up and your focus forward as this will stop you from rounding the back & which is better for the back.
Hints & Tips
*TIP 1: When deadlifting, use flat soled shoes such as Converse Chuck Taylors, Adidas Boxing shoes or as a last resort, bare foot like Arnie. This will allow you the proper stability when pushing through the heels. Just don’t drop weights on bare feet. It hurts. A lot!
*TIP 2: Avoid using wrist straps where possible. Relying on wrist straps will not only take away the added grip strength benefits, but will also place stress on the wrists where the straps dig in. Use straps for big PB efforts.
*TIP 3: Need some added grip? Chalk up!
Climbing chalk or powerlifting chalk will reduce moisture on the skin, which is how calluses form. If your gym doesn’t allow the use of chalk, your gym sucks & you should trade up!