Written By Chris McCombs
If you are looking to develop your lower back and legs, the Deadlift should be a
central part of your fitness routine. But for whatever reason, this exercise is
sadly neglected by trainers, with most opting for the squat to get their leg and
back worked. While this makes some sense because the squat is a tremendously
effective exercise, there are a few reasons lifters should consider switching
over to the Deadlift.
Besides actually working more muscles than the squat, a properly executed lift
can build your core, strengthen your grip, and create impressive muscle mass.
And trainers can reap all these benefits through using very minimal equipment.
Unfortunately, because the deadlift is underused, many don’t know how to do it
properly. With a little education and schooling in the proper technique, any
serious trainer can quickly start deadlifting like a pro.
Basically, a Deadlift is performed by lifting a barbell off the ground and
raising it to your hips. When gripping the bar for a deadlift, keep your hands
about shoulder width apart, with your left hand underneath the bar (your palm
facing away from you) and your right hand over the bar (you palm facing towards
you.) When you perfom the lift, keep your head facing straight forward and lift
with your legs.
That’s the basic move, but it gets a bit more complex from there.
There are two way to perform the Deadlift: conventional and sumo. The difference
mostly had to do with how you grip the bar and your lifting stance. In the
conventional deadlift, you line your feet up with your shoulders and place the
bar right in front of your shins.
Upon completing the move, your knees and shoulders should be locked. Lifters
usually perform the sumo varition when they want to put less stress on their
back. In the sumo deadlift, widen your stance so that your feet are a couple
inches from the plates. Keep your back straight, and lift to your hips, like in
the conventional lift.
While performing the Deadlift, pay attention to any serious pain in your lower
back. If it becomes too uncomfortable, stop immediately. Pain from this exercise
might be a sign of poor technique. Consult with a personal trainer to ensure you
are performing it properly. You may also consider switching the “sumo” version
if you experience pain in the conventional lift.
To avoid injury, don’t jerk the bar upwards. The whole motion should be smooth
and controlled. Like in any exercise, don’t forget to breathe naturally. Keep
your feet firmly planted on the ground. Moving your feet increases your odds of
tipping over or experiencing back injury.
If you feel too much stress on your knees or if your knees bend to side, switch
to a lower weight. If you have difficulty with the grip, you might consider
investing in a pair of wrist straps. If you are new to the deadlift, you should
start with a very low weight to practice getting the proper technique down
before moving up to a heavier and more challenging lift.
Chris McCombs is an Orange County personal trainer in California with specialty
in fat loss and muscle toning. He owns a successful company called Positively
Fit Personal Training. His website contain valuable tips on fitness and “how to”
style exercise videos.