The Correct Way to Perform a Deadlift

August 12th, 2019

Deadlifting is a popular workout and training technique in the world of sports and fitness. When it is performed correctly, a deadlift can significantly increase your levels of body strength and power, especially regarding your core and posterior chain. Deadlifting also helps in stimulating your central nervous system, and it can be a great addition to anyone’s fitness routine due to the physical benefits. 

Before you decide to add deadlifting to your exercise regimen, it is important to understand the limits of your physical abilities. There are numerous modifications and variations of deadlifting that can be done, in order to accommodate for each person’s level of physical function. When performed incorrectly, deadlifting can lead to injury. If you are interested in adding this workout to your exercise plan, our physical therapists can help you learn safe form and techniques to ensure proper execution and optimum results. If you are interested in learning more about how physical therapy can help you achieve your physical goals, call our office today!

Maintaining proper form during the deadlift:

Explained in basic terms, deadlifting is essentially just picking something up off the floor. In this case, you are picking up a barbell, heavyweights, or another workout tool. These tips for proper form can be applied to any variation of deadlifting that you decide to do; however, for this section, we will use the standard barbell as an example:

  1. Begin by standing with your legs approximately a hips’ width apart, with your toes pointed forward. You can obtain this stance by jumping once and staying in the spot where your feet land. To ensure that you are the right distance from the barbell, look down and make sure that the bar is passing over your feet at the spot where your shoelaces are tied. 
  2. With palms facing down, make sure that your hands are slightly outside of your legs when you reach down to grab onto the barbell. Lift your hips slightly so that your shins are perpendicular to the ground and your shoulders are slightly ahead of the barbell. Make sure that your spine is straight, with your back flat, chest up, and abs tight. 
  3. Activate your lats before you lift the bar, in order to improve your spine stability. You can do this by lifting your chest, lowering your shoulders, and trying to “break” the barbell by pulling down and back on it with your hands. 
  4. Make sure to avoid placing strain on your neck. Tuck in your chin, and keep your gaze a few feet in front of you. 
  5. At this point, you’re ready to lift. Simultaneously raise your hips and shoulders until the barbell is past your knees. Then, straighten your hips and squeeze your buttocks until you are standing up. The barbell should be against your thighs and close to your shins. Some people will try to shrug or lean back, but this is unnecessary. It may be helpful to think of it in terms of pushing your legs into the ground, rather than pulling the weight up - this will help you keep proper form and better engage your leg muscles, eliminating the feeling of needing to shrug. 
  6. Once you are completely standing up, you can either drop the barbell to the floor or slowly lower it. If you decide to slowly lower the barbell to the ground, begin by pushing your hips back until the bar gets to your knees. Once it’s there, bend your knees until it is safely on the ground. 

Contact us for assistance!

If you are new to deadlifting and you would like some assistance in adding it to your workout routine, schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists today. We can assist you in how to safely and properly perform a deadlift, taking into account any variation you’d like to try. Your physical therapist can also help you create a fitness plan for achieving your physical goals.Confirm your appointment today to see how physical therapy can benefit you!