Technique Talk: Barbell Conventional Deadlift

The deadlift is essentially picking up a load from the ground and lowering it.  While the action seems simple, there are many steps that must be followed in order to perform the deadlift safely and correctly.  The deadlift is a compound movement, requiring action at multiple joints, therefore utilizing more than just the gluteal muscles or quadriceps alone.  

Individuals who have never performed the deadlift should seek the knowledge of an experienced and qualified trainer or exercise professional.  Performing a deadlift incorrectly can have extremely negative consequences, but when performed correctly it can add more explosive leg power, core strength, which will ultimately help in gaining lean muscle mass.


Anterior & Posterior View

1. Brace your core 2. Place feet shoulder width apart 3. Place barbell touching shins

1. Brace your core

2. Place feet shoulder width apart

3. Place barbell touching shins

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4. Hinge forward from the hips 5. Maintain neutral spine 6. Make sure the hips are below the shoulders

4. Hinge forward from the hips

5. Maintain neutral spine

6. Make sure the hips are below the shoulders

7. Inhale and grab the bar 8. Roll shoulders back 9. Engage the upper back

7. Inhale and grab the bar

8. Roll shoulders back

9. Engage the upper back

10. Make sure knees are caving out 11. Extend up 12. Exhale

10. Make sure knees are caving out

11. Extend up

12. Exhale


Bracing

It’s extremely important that the lifter knows the concept of bracing. Engaging your core. Inhale and contract your stomach, almost as if ready to take a punch.  Maintain pursed breathing to keep the abdominal muscles and diaphragm engaged.  Do not ever lose your core bracing as this is crucial to maintaining proper form throughout the lift.


Breakdown: Leg Mechanics - Hip Mechanics

 Full Mechanics

 Full Mechanics

Ankle To Knee Mechanics

Ankle To Knee Mechanics

Knee to Hips Mechanics

Knee to Hips Mechanics

Practice makes perfect. Use a dowel or a broom stick to learn the proper form. Always remember to keep it close to the body. 


 Pronated Grip Vs Mixed Grip

Pronated Grip: Less Grip - More Torque

Mixed Gip: More Grip - Less Torque

Pronated Grip: Develops grip strength and allows you to engage your upper back.

Mixed Grip: Causes less fatigue on the forearms. Improves grip on the bar by stopping the rotation of the barbell.

I would start with a pronated grip, once grip strength starts fatiguing I would switch to a mixed grip. Again, the more you use the pronated grip the stronger your forearms will become and the less need for a mixed grip.


Dos and Don't

Bending of the Spine Vs Neutral Spine

The spine is at its best when is aligned. If it's bent it won't be as powerful and stable upon impact.


knees caving in vs knees caving out

Knees coming inward, known as valgus stress, places excessive strain on the medial compartment of the knee, increasing the risk of serious injury.  As well, there is no torque created along the femur, causing other muscles to compensate, such as the quadratus lumborum and erector spinae, which could lead to injuries and imbalances in the hips and lower back.

Driving the knees outward is crucial to completing the lift.  We want to create torque along the femur and into the hips to engage all necessary muscles (glutes, quads, hamstrings).  By driving the knees outward we create even more tension and ensure that the muscles track appropriately along their anatomical lines, avoiding injuries in the knees, hips and spine.


Disengaged back vs engaged back

The engagement of the shoulders, especially the rear deltoids, rhomboids, and latissimus dorsi, is crucial in maintaining a neutral spine.  The arms must be pulled back, and pinching the side of the body.  This creates torque along the humerus and into the shoulder compartment, maintaining form in the thoracic spine. 


barbell away from the shins vs barbell close to the shins

Ensure to start with the bar close to the body.  Having the bar far from the body increases the shear force in the back, ultimately causing strain and potential injury.  Have the bar right under the shoulders to ensure proper mechanics, and to maximize the potential of the lift.  


Benefits of Deadlifting

  • Core Stability
  • Core Strength
  • Targets all major muscle groups
  • Increase overall strength
  • Foundational movement
  • Increase cardio output
  • One of the best goddamn exercises in the world and you look badass doing it!
  • Increase grip strength
  • Everyday activities get easier