Deadlifting is one of the three major lifts that makes boys into men (the other two being bench press and squat).
There are few things more exhilarating than determining how much dead weight you could pick up off of the ground. It’s practical, it’s functional, and it supports movements you’ll make in both day-to-day situations as well as in emergencies.
Deadlifts make men.
But too many athletes — both experienced and beginners — ignore the deadlift, when it actually suits you best to do it on a weekly basis.
So in this article, we alleviate some of the fears around deadlifts, show some videos on how to do it right, and talk strategy.
How to Deadlift – The Big Tex Gym Video Series
Texas champion powerlifter, Steve Smith, owns the Big Tex Gym in Austin, TX, and created the following video. When you have time, watch it and note the technique used:
Now, on to our suggestions:
Warm up and Stretch
You hardly see people stretching anymore! But for big lifts like this, you’ll want to do whatever you can to warm up your lower back, glutes, and hamstrings.
Later on in your lifting career, you can use light deadlifts as a way to stretch and warmup. But in the beginning, light deadlifts are the main set, so you should warm up before even touching the bar.
If it’s your first time deadlifting, do not lift heavy!
Today is not your day to impress the big boys at the gym. Today is the day you start learning how to do the most incredible lift ever, and it takes time to get comfortable with it.
Instead, lift a light weight (even if it’s 1/10 of what you “think” you can do), and have someone at the gym watch you from the side. Many people even record themselves on video and analyze it later.
There’s an old saying that states: Keep your pride at the door.
This is especially true with beginning deadlifters. Get your form right before going heavy, otherwise you’re inviting too much trouble on your back.
Back straightWhatever you do, keep that back straight. Get the ass down, your head forward and tilted up a bit, and even arch your shoulders back a little bit if you must.
It’s easy to do at light weight. Once you start moving the weight up, you really need to make sure you’re still doing this. If you can’t keep it straight when lifting heavy… you’re not ready to lift heavy.
Butt out, chest out
To help keep the back straight, a “butt out, chest out” philosophy helps.
Head forward and tilted up a bit
Is there a mirror to your side when deadlifting at your gym? If so, DO NOT look at it!!
Instead, keep that head forward and look slightly up in the air. If 90 degrees is straight ahead of you, and 180 degrees is directly above you, aim for something like 120 degrees for starters.
Stances vary, but start with traditional
Typically, a deadlift is done with your feet at shoulder-width apart – the conventional style.
But some people like to go with a sumo deadlift, so it’s worth trying eventually. Start with the conventional style, but you should occasionally change it up and consider other variations.
Crazy Tight Grip
When you start deadlifting heavy, after your stance and posture is setup, the next most important thing is your grip. It’s worth the time to get it right.From your lighter lifts, you should now know your favorite place on the bar to set up your grip.
But when it gets heavier, you need to see if you like to have both hands with an overhand grip, or one hand underhanded with one hand overhanded (mixed grip).
There’s also a mental edge when you grip it extra tight. For whatever reason, it’ll make you feel like you can lift it more easily.
Take a focus-based pre workout for best results
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Forget all the toys – just go do it
Straps? Gloves? Forget that. If you start a weight you can handle, you can go and do this right now. Worry about the toys later (or never). Some chalk never hurt, though.