The deadlift is considered the king of all exercises because it’s designed for advanced resistance training. Whether your fitness goal is to stay fit or to tone your muscles, the deadlift is the perfect workout to help improve your form.
The deadlift engages larger muscle groups like the glutes, hamstrings, and the lower back. It also targets the quadriceps. However, in order to maximize the effects of the deadlift, the form has to be just right!
How to Do a Deadlift
Step 1: Start with a weight that you feel most comfortable with. Stand with your feet apart and toes pointing straight ahead.
Step 2: Bend your knees slightly and grip the bars slightly outside of the legs. Hinge forward from the hips. Make sure to wrap your first two fingers over your thumb. With the bar close to your shins, keep your eyes forward and your head up. Put your chest out, inhale, and then lift.
Step 3: Exhale as you straighten your legs and bring the weight up past your knees, all the while letting your core engage the entire movement so the spine doesn’t get strained from the weight. Finish the movement by thrusting your hips into alignment with your feet and engaging your glutes by squeezing the muscles. By squeezing the glutes, it completes the hip extension and brings the pelvis back into a neutral position.
Step 4: As soon as the bar is past the knee, gently rest your thighs but maintain a straight back. Slowly hinge the hips forward and lower the bar into the ground
Rules to Master When Doing Deadlifts
The deadlift is a simple exercise position. The secret to its effectiveness in keeping the body toned and strong is achieving the perfect position. Below are factors that you have to keep in mind prior to executing the deadlift:
Always Keep the Spine Neutral
If you’re suffering from lower back pain after doing the deadlift, you’re doing it wrong! This means you are engaging the wrong muscles. Do not strain the back by putting too much weight on it. Always maintain the perfect position so you don’t end up with severe back pain.
Spread Your Legs Apart
The deadlift will require stability so always keep your feet apart — a little wider than the length of your shoulders. If you don’t keep your balance, you might end up dropping the weight and causing accidents.
Push Your Heels
Rather than using your toes to drive through your heels to hinge the hips and engage the posterior chain or the glutes, hamstrings, and the lower back muscles, push your heels as if you are literally pushing the floor beneath you.
The overall motion of a deadlift should be fluid and controlled — not jerky or unstable. Do not pull anything so you can achieve a smooth motion.
Control Your Breathing
One of the most important yet neglected elements of executing the perfect deadlift is breathing. Always take a deep breath at the bottom of the lift and then exhale only when the lift is on the top and not vice versa.