The deadlift, next to the squat, would arguably have to be the most primitive, effective, full body strength building exercise there is. It is a fundamental movement that many bodybuilders, powerlifters, and other athletes use in their programming to gain muscle mass, build strength, and improve their athletic performance. As with any exercise, the deadlift carries an injury risk, which is why it’s important to focus on and maintain good form. So, what does “good form” look like?
- Narrow stance (hip width), feet facing forward
This is generally the most powerful stance you can have (although this is very dependent on your mobility).
- Knees driving outward into forearms
Driving the knees out forces you to engage your glutes and creates torque at the hips.
- Neck and spine neutral, abs braced
Brace your core outward in all directions by taking a deep breath. Your abs should be braced through the whole movement. If you were to lay a PVC pipe or dowel along your back there should be 3 points of contact: head, between the shoulder blades and the butt.
- Lats engaged
Pull up on the bar to ‘take the slack out’ by engaging your lats, also imagine you are squeezing a piece of paper in your armpits to lock your back and shoulders into position.
- Shins vertical and touching the bar, shoulders above hips, hips above knees
Pull your hips down and knees back to lock into position to the point where you still have tension on your hamstrings. Your arms should hang directly down from your shoulders to grip onto the bar
- Bar stays close to body at all times
Keeping the bar close to the body will protect your back from unnecessary loading. It also makes the movement more efficient.
- Drive the hips
Once the bar passes your knees, drive your hips forward with a powerful glute contraction, locking your body into a straight position.
- Weight in the heels
It should feel like you are fighting to not fall backwards.