Performing a Barbell Deadlift Properly

by Jackie on May 15, 2015

The dead-lift is a compound body weight exercise that applies significant muscle mass to your rear end, hamstrings and quads. Many have developed an injury to their lower rear while dead-lifting, but this is due to bad dead-lift form, and lifting too much.Deadlifts The following will explain how to set up for a deadlift, and how to properly perform one:

Preparation for Deadlift

  • Place the barbell on the ground and attach weights to it according to your strength and fitness level. If it is your first time performing the deadlift, start lighter. It is always easy to add weight later. You want to perfect your form before you test your physical limits. A normal starting place is to begin with a five pound weight and work your way up.
  • Set your stance. You should set up by stepping up to the bar so that your feet are approximately shoulder width apart, the balls of your feet are under the bar, and your toes are pointing forward or slightly outward. Pointing your feet slightly outward will give you more balance. You also need to make sure you clench your butt to make sure you tighten up your core, this is allowing you more stability, thus allowing you to prevent injury.
  • Bend your knees while keeping your back straight, so that you are sitting back. It is important to bend from the hips rather than from your waist. Remember, a deadlift is not a squat: Keep your hips back but not down. In other words, have your hips at about 45 degrees to the ground.

Performing the Deadlift

  • Grab the bar.You should be close enough to reach the barbell, and grasp it with your hands slightly more than shoulder width apart, outside of your legs. You should keep your arms straight. Grasp the bar with one palm facing you and the other facing away from you. This stabilizes the bar, as it may roll out of your hands if both palms are facing the same direction, especially if you are a beginner or have a poor grip. The underhand grip alone is not recommended because it can lead to the rupture of bicep muscle and connecting tendons, especially in people who do not have full flexibility in the elbow joint.
  • Set your hips and legs.Put the barbell over the middle of your feet. Bend down with your butt back until your shins hit the bar. Keep the lower part of your legs mostly vertical. The angle between your foot and your lower leg should be close to 135 degrees.
  • Straighten your back.Never lose the natural arch of your back. Do not curl your tailbone under of arch your back. To help keep your back straight, hold your head in line with your back.
  • Lift the bar.Stand up by raising your hips and shoulders at the same rate while maintaining a flat back. Keep your abs engaged during the whole lift. You should lift the bar straight up vertically and close to your body, as if you were pushing the floor away. Come to a standing position with upright posture and your shoulders pulled back. Allow the bar to hang in front of your hips; do not try to lift it any higher. Lift with your hamstrings. You have more power and balance in your legs than in your arms. By doing this, you will minimize your chance of injury.
  • Lower the bar.Keeping your back straight, return the bar to the starting position in a controlled manner. Push your butt out as if you are going to sit down in a chair, and keep your head up. Do not arch your back or curl your tailbone under.

These movements, combined with the proper amount of weight will control your body so that you will minimize the chance for an injury. Remember, to not exceed the weight that you think you will be able to lift. Perfect the movements, and then increase the weight lifted when you are comfortable.



Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
I'm a fitness nut. I know what you're thinking, one of these people who has never been fat a day in her life, and can eat whatever she wants. The truth is I struggled with my weight growing up and lived in a household where everything seemed to be fried. Once I got away from home I realized I had the choice to eat and exercise how I wanted. I've gained a lot of insight into working as a personal trainer, and feel I can relate to others that were in my situation. I think if I can do it then you can to, and if you want to start kicking butt then hop on board and lets get started.

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