Deadlifting is crucial for building muscle. We all know that. That’s why it’s one of the most hyped powerlifting competitions. When you can pull a couple plates, you rule the gym. However, we often overlook the functional purpose.
Because of the dumb myth that lifting heavy leads to bulk, many people looking to stay lean avoid deadlifts. But you won’t bulk unless you eat to bulk, so stop whining and lift that bar. You’re going to strengthen your legs, for sure, but deadlifting with proper form gives you full body results. We all lift heavy things off the floor, so why not practice it?
The Set Up
Let’s start from the beginning. Grab an empty bar and set it down.
You need to raise it up so that the ends are about 7.5 inches off the ground. That’s the distance from the edge of an Olympic 45-pound plate to the start of the hole.
If your gym has bumper plates (rubberized plate sets in which all weights have the same diameter), throw a ten plate on each end. Otherwise, you can stack up plates under the ends.
Avoid pulling from lower than 7.5 inches.
How To Deadlift
Now that you have your bar ready to go, let’s take it step by step.
- Approach the bar with your feet hip width apart. Toes should point forward.
- Roll the bar back to your shins. If this is uncomfortable, bring sweatpants. Your shins WILL get scraped.
- Grab the bar at shoulder width. One hand should be overhand, the other should be underhand. This is the power grip.
- Sink back onto your glutes and hamstring like you’re lowering into a chair. Pull on the bar for support. You don’t need to get down to parallel.
- Flatten your back, raise your chest, and contract your shoulder blades. Your gaze should be forward and slightly downward.
- To lift, drive your heels into the ground and straighten your legs by driving your hips forward. This should come from your glutes, not your back.
- Stop just short of locking your knees. Keep your gaze forward and down. Your chin should be nearly on your chest. Your shoulders are back, and your hips are pushed forward.
- To descend, reverse the motion and sit back into the imaginary chair.
If your gym has bumper plates and a designated Olympic lift section, wait until you master the movement before dropping at the top.
What Muscles Does The Deadlift Work?
The deadlift is truly an overall body exercise. Your body needs to work together to lift something heavy off the floor so it’s no wonder the deadlift will be working a ton of muscles throughout your body. Here’s a handy chart that shows some of the muscles used in the deadlift.
Tips and Advice
If you don’t have access to a trainer, learning a new move can be difficult. Here are some quick tips to overcome the small obstacles.
- Wear flat shoes, or deadlift barefoot. Most gyms won’t allow the latter, so invest in something like a pair of Chuck Taylors. Their non compressible soles will help you drive your foot in without losing power in the cushioning.
- Bring a pair of sweatpants you don’t care about. My deadlifting pants have permanent bloodstains. You won’t always get banged up to that point, but if the bar doesn’t atleast graze your shins, you’re doing it wrong.
- Go at an off time. Depending on your gym, space might be precious. Since there’s no dedicated deadlift zone, you might be battling other members. Save the hastle and do your deadlifts when the gym is empty.
- Don’t go overboard with reps. Form is crucial with deadlifts. If you’re trying to knockout 15 reps, you’re either not lifting enough, or you’re doing it with terrible form. Make this a low rep, high weight exercise.
No matter what your goal, deadlifting is a great addition to your workout. Build a better butt, a stronger back, and plenty of muscle.