Lift Off - How to Deadlift.
“Chest Up. Back Straight. Lift. Lift Lift.”
- I bet that as you’ve walked through the gym you’ve heard a trainer orating this at one of their clients whilst they try to lift a modest amount of weight up from the floor. Picking up a weight with no inertia from the floor, commonly known as Deadlifting, requires a tremendous amount of strength, co-ordination and importantly, technique. As coaches it’s our jobs to provide our clients with objective feedback about their performance and give them the right cues to help them perform the exercise correctly - and we do. Personally I use these commands day in day out and they’ve become one of those “if I had a pound for” phrases. In fact, even when I’m not saying it I’m thinking it. I’m usually thinking it as I walk past someone Deadlifting, mentally correcting their technique as I pass. Now it’s not always practical for me to stop and correct people when they’re making a mistake (like when I’m with a client for example) and watching people use improper technique becomes incredibly frustrating. After witnessing it on a daily basis, myself and the great BJ Rule, have decided we can’t take no more and that we’re determined to make you all better Deadlifters.
So here’s the deal - In this article and the next I’m going to tell you how to Deadlift properly. I’ll tell you how to avoid common mistakes and how to fix all of your Deadlifting problems. If that’s not enough and you still want more, me and Mr Rule are running a free Deadlifting workshop as part of our Lift Off series which you can attend, for free, and learn how to Deadlift with the best of em.
First off you need to know how to Deadlift. I’m not going to go through any fancy Romanian, single legged versions here, that’s for another article. All I’m going to outline the basic steps of how to perform a conventional Deadlift and I suggest you pracise these steps with a broom handle or empty bar to begin with barefoot or with flat soled trainers such as converse all stars. There’s certainly no need for straps here. Here’s what you do;
The start position
- Feet directly underneath your hips with the bar touching your shins.
- Knee’s bent, hips starting just above your knees.
- Chest Up, Back Straight at around a 25 degree angle.
- Hands griping the bar outside of your knees.
It should look like this
To lift the weight
- Straighten your legs, concentrating on pushing the ground away from you.
- As the bar passes your knees, squeeze your glutes pushing your hips towards the bar.
- Keeping the bar in contact with your body, straighten yourself up to the end position.
When learning any new skill, there are three distinct phases that we go through - Unconscious Incompetence, Conscious Competence and Unconscious Competence. Another part of learning a new skill is making mistakes and the most common mistakes I see people making when Deadlifting are;
- Bar to far away from the body – causing you to round your back.
- Rounded Back – In the starting position and during the lift itself.
- Wrong Foot Position – Normally too wide.
- Wrong Hip Position – Either too low or too high due to poor flexibility.
- Not engaging core or your glutes – Resulting in low back pain.
Those of you that don’t know your making these mistakes are in the unconscious incompetence phase. Those of you who know that your making these mistakes and are actively correcting them are conscious competence.
What’s all this got to do with Deadlifting I hear you ask? Well if you fall into one of these two categories your either a beginner or intermediate trainee in need of some coaching to take your lifts and training to the next level. We can help. As I already mentioned on the 25th of this month we will be holding a Deadlifting workshop where we will coach you on your technique, critique your programs (providing new ones where necessary) and help you set new PR’s.
If you’re interested in learning more or would like to attend the workshop all you need to do is email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take things from there.
In the second installment in this article I’m going to tell you how to properly intergrate Deadlifts into your routine and how to overcome sticking points to bust through plateua’s!