Deadlift Technique

How to peform the deadlift

Good deadlift technique requires having not only the proper stance and grip but also a smooth and controlled motion when lifting and lowering the barbell.

There is a correct way to bend, lift, hold, breathe and lower the bar to ensure you lift as heavy as you can during your deadlift, while reducing the risk of injury.

All your muscles are involved in the deadlift and so it is vital to think about all the areas of your body and how they can help your deadlift technique.

Good deadlift technique

You need to consider the role of your knees, heels, abs, wrists and other body parts to ensure a successful lift.

Read on to find out more about how to lift the bar and lower the bar using proper breathing and your synergist muscles to maintain good deadlift technique.

Lifting the bar

When you are ready to perform the deadlift, bend down and get ready to lift the barbell. Inhale deeply into your abdomen (not your upper chest as this will raise your shoulders). Bend your knees, keeping your back straight, chest out and shoulders back.

As you lift the bar, push your feet into the ground, exerting pressure into your heels. Breathe out as you deadlift, using your whole lower body.

While performing the deadlift, always keep abs tight to support the back.

Keep knees slightly bent throughout the lifting motion, extending your legs and hips with the full movement of the lift. Keep the bar as close as you can to your body throughout the movement, with knuckles facing down and arms straight.

deadlift technique

As you reach the very top of the deadlift and straighten your legs out, push your hips forward to help hold the barbell at your hips and to support your back. Squeeze the glutes (buttocks) at the top of the lift to help push hips forward and take pressure off your back.

Pull your shoulder blades towards each other to help maintain posture with chest out.

It might also help to curl your toes up at the top of the lift to help engage your hamstrings and glutes. This all helps to achieve correct, safe deadlift technique.

Lowering the bar

When you reach the top of your lift, hold it for a second or two, keeping your back straight and hips forward. Then, slowly and in a controlled motion, begin your descent back down to your starting position.

You should push your hips back with back straight and squat back to your original position, replacing the barbell on the ground in its original position. Finish the deadlift by returning to your starting stance.

Make sure that the deadlift movement takes place from the knees and hips, not the spine. Keep ankles, knees and hips aligned throughout the motion.

deadlift technique

This guide explained the technique for performing a safe regular deadlift. However, the technique you use may differ when performing different types of deadlift. Explore these >5 different types of deadlift which could be added to your lifting routine, including the sumo deadlift, trap bar deadlift and Romanian deadlift.

Common deadlift errors

It is important to iron out any errors to improve your deadlift technique. Common errors when performing the deadlift include:

  • Attempting to lift too heavy a weight. You should start off light and slowly increase the weight to avoid injury.
  • Bending the back. Doing this increases the pressure on the spine. Your back should be totally straight to prevent injury. Ensure the correct posture by keeping your chest out and head up, facing forward.
  • Over-extending and rolling the shoulders back at the top of the lift. The deadlift ends when your legs are straight and the hips lock forward. Do not try to lift any higher using your shoulders or upper back.
  • Holding hips too high. Do not allow hips to rise faster than shoulders, as this will strain your lower back. At the beginning of the lift, The bar should be against the shins with your shoulder blades directly above the bar.

Read more about deadlift technique:

Introduction to the Deadlift

Deadlift Grip and Stance

Deadlift Safety


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