How To Deadlift 101

Alexis deadlift

Deadlifting is an actual functional movement we use daily as human beings. Think about every single time you bend down to pick something up or put something down. You can either squat or deadlift to do it. It doesn’t matter if you are holding something as light as a piece of paper or as heavy as a pile of bricks. Any other way you do it isn’t proper and will most likely wear your lower back out over the long term (or even cause injury). As a mother, I know how often parents pick up and down their little ones and the back issues will creep up on you if you aren’t careful.

So, here is a step-by-step guide on how to deadlift. Please be mindful of your form. The deadlift exercise targets your lower back and hamstrings. In other words, this exercise is for strengthening those areas. If you already have lower back issues you should not be deadlifting. Also, in order to deadlift properly you do need a decent amount of resistance. I would say you need at least 20% of your bodyweight in amount of weight for your barbell, dumbbells, or kettle bells in order to counterbalance your deadlift (not fall backwards while performing the exercise).

1. Stand centered to your barbell with your feet straight, not pivoted, and hip to shoulder width apart. Keep your knees micro-bent and your core alive.

2. Bend to reach the barbell whilst keeping your eyes up, focused on a focal point in front of you. Keep your chest up and your hips shifted forward (anteriorly), so that you can properly get to your glutes and hamstrings. Having your hips in the proper position will also help secure your back so that you are using the muscles properly. If your back curves at any point throughout this exercise, whereby your lower back is sticking outward and your glutes are more tucked underneath you, then you are doing it wrong and should stop immediately. Keep the barbell close to you, so that it is just about touching your legs.

3. Before you attempt to lift the weight, squeeze all your muscles involved in the lift, such as your hamstrings, glutes, core and quads. Though this exercise targets the posterior (back) side of your body, the front of your legs are assisting here. Take an inhale and as you exhale begin to lift. As you lift, make sure your butt is sticking far backwards, your chest is up, and shoulders are pulled back. Continue to keep the barbell close to your body and even touching your legs is fine.

4. As you get to the end of your exhale you should be at standing position with the barbell. Your hips should be extended back into a neutral position. Do not leave your hips bent (flexed) between reps. Take another inhale to the bottom of your next deadlift.

Voila! If you can manage these 4 steps and stay focused for every repetition then you can begin building on this movement. If you are going heavy, I recommend having a spotter. Be safe out there! As always, you may reach out to us with more questions.

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