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The good old Deadlift
One of my favorite exercises and one that I recommend every athlete to do (that is if you can perform it safely and correctly)
You see the deadlift is a very technical lift, it’s a skill that you have to develop. There are many critical cues to remember when setting up, lifting, and lowering the barbell.
Avoiding these cues can make or break you when it comes to your progress at the gym, and I literally mean break.
First thing we need to do is identify the different styles of deadlifts. There are 2 different styles and each one has its place in a strength training program.
Who should perform Deadlifts?
In my opinion deadlifts should be performed by any athlete that partakes in a sport that places a high demand on strengthening knee, hip, and trunk extensors. Which is basically any sport that requires running and jumping?
So if this is you, keep reading…
There are 2 styles of deadlifts and they are; the conventional and sumo deadlifts.
Even though these two exercises involve the same concept of picking up a weight from the floor, both engage different muscles in your body.
And depending on what sport you play will determine which style DL would benefit you more.
Below is a list of which sport would benefit more from either using the conventional or sumo style DL
Now that we figured out who should do which style deadlift, lets go over 5 of the worst mistakes I see when inexperienced lifters try to deadlift.
- The first mistake I always see is letting your butt rise faster than your shoulders. The shoulders and hips should rise up simultaneously. This will ensure your lower back stays healthy and pain free. Remember; lead with your chest not your hips.
- The second mistake is retracting your shoulder blades. Retraction of the shoulder blades hyperextends your lower back, putting unwanted stress in your lower back. To avoid this, like in the video. Reach out and bring your hips back at the same time. This will make sure that your lower back stays in a neutral position.
- The third mistake is pushing your hips forward at the top of the lift. Again this puts your lower back in hyperextension. That’s a big no no. To fix this mistake once the bar reaches your knee all you want to do is squeeze your glutes until you stand up straight. There’s no need to push any further.
- The fourth mistake is one that not a lot of people know about. I even used to do this myself. When setting up for the DL bringing your hips back and down isn’t just a movement. In my opinion this is the most important part of the deadlift. When bringing the hips back you want to load your hamstring, glutes, and lower back (muscels that make up your posterior chain) with tension. Pretend your posterior chain is a spring. When you set up for the DL and bring your hips back, imagine your spring (posterior chain) coiling together. By adding tension in those muscles you create an explosive effect when you come up with the bar. Note: if you feel you cant properly do this it just means you have a weak posterior chain. Start implementing RDL’s, weighted bridges, or even kettle bell swings to strengthen those muscles.
- The last mistake that I often see is people rounding their lower backs when performing the deadlift. And this usually occurs when they aim towards lifting their maximum load. To fix this issue you simply have to strengthen your lower back. If you can properly perform these exercises I like adding good mornings and back extensions to strengthen the lower back.
The Benefits of Performing the Deadlift (Correctly)
If the deadlift is mastered and you’re able to execute the DL safely there are a shit ton of benefits that will help you in not just your sport but everyday life.
The deadlift is a full body exercises. Believe it or not when you do the deadlift you’re working your feet, ankles, knees, hips, lower and upper back, abs, shoulders, forearms, and even your neck muscles. If you’re trying to get strong and you’re not doing deadlifts, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life, I really don’t lol
Develops your posterior chain
If you’re an athlete your posterior chain is your engine. This is where pretty much all your power comes from. And if you’re a regular Joe or Jane having a strong posterior chain will help you in everyday life, from picking up your child, running, to having a nice butt and who doesn’t want a nice ass?
Want to release more testosterone? Then start adding the deadlift into your strength program. When you’re body works more than one muscle at once, it releases a higher amount of testosterone. Which will help you recover faster.
Now let’s talk about footwear
In the video you see me wearing my high tops (I DON’T NOT RECOMMEND USING HIGH TOPS)
This was because I forgot to change my shoes before recording. But anyways let’s talk about what shoes you should be using when performing the DL.
I personally use new balance minimus.
These shoes are flat soled and keep me in contact with the ground a lot better than regular shoes do. I feel a lot stronger and in control of the lift when I use my flat soled shoes. You can also use Chuck Taylor’s, anything that’s flat and keeps you closer to the ground.
Wearing shoes with a heel lift completely changes the angle that you should be in when lifting off from the floor. So I recommend either wearing flat soled shoes or going barefoot.
Cues to Remember
- For conventional DL’s approach the bar with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward.
- To keep your lower back from hyperextending I like to use Mike Robertson tip by reaching out in front of you while simultaneously bringing your hips back
- Let your arms hang and reach for the bar, keeping your neck and spine in a neutral position. At this point keep your scapula’s where they are. They should be slightly rounded and not pinched together like most people do.
- Now you want to engage your lats, to do this push your shoulder down and away from your ears
- Before lifting off make sure to take out the slack from the bar. The last thing you want is to explode up and have the weight pull on your shoulders, caving your chest, and rounding your upper back.
- Lead with your chest and push the ground away from you.
- Once the bar reaches your knees squeeze your glutes and pull your hips through to straighten out.
- At this point the DL becomes an isometric hold and you want to brace your abs as if someone was going to punch you in the stomach. You also want to SLIGHTLY bring your scapula’s back but do not pinch then together.
- To start the descend (lowering the weight) bring your hips back until the bar reaches your knees
- Once the bar touches your knees sit down and repeat this form until you reach you reps.
Note: If you feel that your lower back is too weak to bring the weight down, dropping the barbell is completely fine. Doing so even allows you to reset correctly so every rep is performed safely.
I hope you enjoyed today’s post. If you did please share with your friends. Thanks
Talk to you soon,