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MASTERING DEADLIFTS: Do’s & Don’ts

by Vikki Schembri on January 22, 2020

Have you ever successfully lifted something off the ground?

Congrats. You’ve done a deadlift!

Deadlifts involve pulling a free-weight from the ground and lifting it until you are standing tall.

If you do a deadlift incorrectly - i.e. by not performing a deadlift at all, but instead doing an unnamed and sacrilegious lift that uses your back rather than your legs/glutes – you could injure your lower back. So prioritizing form over everything else is the only way to go.

When you do a deadlift correctly… its magic.

Do a not-deadlift = ouch my back. Do a proper deadlift = hallelujah!

When you deadlift like a master, your butt gets stronger. A stronger butt reduces back, hip, and knee pain. Deadlifts also define your traps like no other; and that makes your neck and shoulders more resistant to injury, too!

Honestly, I can go for hours about how awesome deadlifts are. But instead, let’s just accept that as a given.

Rather than pontificating about the benefits of the deadlift, let’s get to the heart of it.

THIS is how to perfect them.

THE MECHANICS

A barbell deadlift requires the following steps:[1]

  • Walk up to the bar
  • Grab it
  • Bend your knees
  • Lift your chest
  • Pull

The movement is as simple as that.

Of course, there are elements that are essential to do it properly. These are:

  • Hip-width stance
  • Narrow/shoulder-width grip
  • Vertical arms
  • Bar against shins
  • Shoulders over bar at set up
  • Hips and knees locked at the top

As well, there are tools that can help you better your deadlift. For example, a powerlifting bar, such as the Rhino Barbell.

THE TOOLS

A deadlift is called such because you are moving a dead weight off the ground. There is no need for fast rotating sleeves; no fancy flips are happening between the ground and your thighs. Accordingly, the bar is made with bushings rather than bearings.

As well, the heavy AF weight you deadlift requires a very strong grip. To help you with this, our Rhino Bar has aggressive volcanic knurling.

For the sessions in which you really want to focus on form, your pull, and exhausting your large muscle groups (i.e. not be restricted by your tiring grip), we also recommend you use lifting straps. We include a complementary set with every Rhino Bar.

THE DO’S & DON’TS

Stand with your feet under a loaded barbell at hip-width. The bar will be over top of your mid-foot - not over your toes, and not touching your shins.

Bend over and grab the barbell outside of your legs and with shoulder-width grip. Don't let your knees cave in. 

Bend your knees until your shins touch the barbell. Do not lean forward to bring your shins to the bar; bend down low enough that it happens naturally. 

Lift your chest up, keep a neutral gaze, present a proud chest, and straighten your lower back. Do not over arch your back. 

Start the lift with your shoulders over the bar. Ensure your shoulders are not too far back, or too far forward. 

Keep your arms long. Lift with your legs, not your arms. Your arms should NOT bend. If they bend, you are lifting with your arms and disregarding your large, strong muscle groups!

Stand up with the weight until your hips and knees are locked out. Do not over extend at the top. 

To return the weight to the floor, move your hips back and bend your legs. Do not drop the bar.

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DROP DEAD GORGEOUS DEADLIFTS

Following these steps will allow you to perform safe and drop dead gorgeous deadlifts. You should be SO proud of your deadlift form! So proud, that you record it, upload it to Instagram, and tag us @SynergeeFit so we can share it with every other Synergee Athlete 😉

We’d love to cheer you on!!





[1] https://stronglifts.com/deadlift/#gref

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