Barbell Deadlift

Step By Step Guide To The Barbell Deadlift

Barbell Deadlift Guide

About the Barbell Deadlift

It’s one exercise that is ever appreciable in the exercising world. It can be dated back to the 1700s. In fact, it is one of those exercises that its origin cannot be placed to a particular year. Most people still think that deadlift itself came about from within the military and this is why it is still one fascinating exercise to watch and practice. Barbell deadlift is tagged as one dangerous yet easy weight lift to do, and that is if you don’t follow the proper guidelines.

The barbell 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.

How to do a barbell deadlift

To perform any form of barbell deadlift, you need to understand what a deadlift is all about first because that is the primary knowledge that gives insight on what you are about to do. A deadlift simply means lifting up a weight that is on the ground. This could mean you trying to unsettle a dead weight. Any way you want to put the definition is good but you have to remember that it is a weight and should be handled with care and expertise. But the most important thing to know first before a barbell lifting is the general knowledge of a deadlifting. With this knowledge in place, you would be able to take up the task of performing a barbell deadlift.

Here is how a barbell deadlifting it goes

  1. The first thing to do is set your hip width at a distance when standing. At this posture, your shin should be in close proximity to the barbell lift. This stance will provide an easy carriage and a straight spine(this is highly needed to avoid injury).

  2. Take the bar from the ground with a grip that feels as though you are resting on the wall. This means your hands shouldn’t be placed in a way that suggests you need assistance. Take the bar with a firm over the bar grip.

  3. The next thing is to squat your knees such that your feels the bar slightly touching your shin.

  4. You can then lift the bar with your chest raised and you back spine straight.

  5. When the bar is already lifted, you should not make any attempt to slouch because you could jeopardize the whole essence of the lifting with that.

  6. After that, you can return the bar in the same form it was lifted by noting the posture of your spine and knee.

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

Conventional Barbell Deadlift (Back) 1
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

Conventional Barbell Deadlift (Back) 2
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

Conventional Barbell Deadlift (Back) 3
10. Make sure knees are caving out  11. Extend up  12. Exhale

10. Make sure knees are caving out

11. Extend up

12. Exhale

Conventional Barbell Deadlift (Back) 4

So you see that barbell lifting is not so difficult to do after all. Remember to always keep your spine straight, because this has been the main source on the internal injury during this exercise. 

What special effect does the barbell deadlift give the body?

Many people exercise for different reasons and one of them is to keep fit. In the process of keeping fit, some other effects are added. The effects that barbell lifting does are highlighted below:

Human growth hormone

The thought of deadlifting just doesn’t sound good for everybody because of the supposed notion of those that need it most. Well, aside from the muscle recruiting part that deadlifting gives, it also gives a special side effect which is, growth hormone. The side effect will certainly develop the growth of muscles and also burn fat in the process. Also, the muscle recruiting thing is actually good for our day to day chores such as raising the garage door or carrying heavy shopping goods or even for lifting up of our kids. You don’t have to build as much as wrestlers do but just a little would do.

Increased body mass

Most exercises just support the keeping fit part and probably burning of fats. Barbell deadlifting does all this and more which include an increased body mass. This surely guarantees stability as well as fitness. So the barbell deadlifting secretly increases your body mass as it strengthens your muscles. How cool is that?

Types of barbell deadlift

There are several barbells deadlifting that you can try out. These forms have their different ways of lifting and surely have their distinct advantages.

Barbell stiff leg deadlift

This type concentrates on building the muscles in the buttocks. It requires more effort but it is totally worth it.

Barbell Romanian deadlift

You can always do this type if you have been doing a normal barbell but it starts from standing then it goes through the steps back to the dead position of the bar.

Barbell Sumo deadlift

This is a quite different form of barbell deadlift and this makes it easier yet advantageous.

Who can do a barbell deadlift?

The barbell deadlift exercise is not for children or anyone that is physically handicapped. There are other deadlifting that a person who isn’t able to stand can do like the dumbbell deadlifting (it involves just one hand). Barbell deadlifting is not just for males only neither is it good for females but for anybody willing. It isn’t really advisable for pregnant women who haven’t done it before and can be extremely risky for anyone with constant chest pain.

What you will need for a barbell deadlift

You don’t need to go to the gym to do any deadlifting because you can just set it up right in your home. Before doing any barbell deadlift in your home or anywhere else, you need to have gotten enough space of about seven feet by four feet for the stretching and also for the safekeeping of the bar. Any barbell lifting requires a little bit of extra energy so be sure to have built up enough capacity with some other exercises before doing this. You would need the bar whose weight can be adjustable and a heavy lifting belt (mostly for beginners). One other thing you should not forget to have is confidence in yourself as you do the lifting.

Barbell deadlifting is often dreaded by most people but you now know that it is not so complicated after all. With the deadlifting you enjoy enough secret benefits it offers over time and this is indeed a big package.


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

Barbell Deadlift Pronated Grip 1
Barbell Deadlift Pronated Grip 2

Pronated Grip: Less Grip - More Torque

Barbell Deadlift Mixed Grip 1
Barbell Deadlift Mixed Grip 2

Mixed Grip: 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

Barbell Deadlift Bending of the spine
Barbell Deadlift 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

Barbell Deadlift Knees Caving In

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.

Barbell Deadlift Knees Caving Out

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

Barbell Deadlift Disengaged Back
Barbell Deadlift 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

Barbell Deadlift Barbell Away From The Shins
Barbell Deadlift 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

  • Increase grip strength

  • Everyday activities get easier

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