If you are looking for an exercise that would work all the parts of your body, then the deadlift should be a top choice for you. Research has shown that if you have the perfect deadlift form and you are able to perform it properly, you will strengthen all the major muscle groups in your body and also have unparalleled mass. The king of all exercises is always given to the squat because it has been found to provide massive size and strength gains.
Without a doubt, the squat is one of the best for building size, but the deadlift is the top movement for building your lower and upper body. The deadlift is an exercise that can easily be performed by grabbing a weight bar and lifting so that you stand with the bar positioned at your front, and your arms fully stretched out.
Deadlift form tips
These are the significant tips to keep in mind when doing deadlifts as they will help you maintain a correct form;
Brace your core
From the start to finish of this exercise, your abs need to remain braced so that your whole body will be stable and strong as you will maintain an arched lower back. Right from the start, engage your core so that there will be adequate tension in your abs while squatting down to grasp the bar. Brace your abs, inhale deeply, and hold your breath as you are about to lift the bar.
Focus on your chest and shoulders
From the start of the lift to the end, you have to maintain a strong spine. So, to prevent your torso from hunching forward over the bar, you have to keep your chest up throughout. For the placement of your shoulders, it should be in front of your hands a bit until the bar has passed mid-thigh level.
Your head should remain neutral
Throughout the entire movement, your head should remain in a neutral position. So, to ensure that your head stays neutral, you have to focus on keeping your chin up and also looking straight ahead and fixing your eyes to a stop that is about 3 meters away from your feet on the ground.
How to do the deadlift
These are the steps you should follow to deadlift correctly;
You start by planting your feet on the ground, then grasp the bar using your hands at a distance of your shoulder width while bending your knees.
You can either use a reverse grip or a full overhand grip. The reverse grip is which sees one hand gripping the bar underhand while the second is overhand; you can lift heavier weights if you use this grip. When working with these weights, especially the heavier ones, ensure that you grip the bar very hard before lifting it off the floor.
Ensure that your head is positioned neutrally by looking straight ahead and fixing your eyes to a point on the floor, about 3 meters in front of you. Place your head in an ideal position to lift the weight, and your chin should be in an upward position.
Then raise the bar; first, you drive your hips forward and use your leg while ensuring that your head is facing forward and your back is straight. Deadlifts are fast, powerful, and fast lifts you do with your glutes and legs strength. So use as much explosive force as you can to drive up.
From start to finish, your spine has to remain strong. Prevent the hunching forward of your torso over the bar by holding your chest up.
Until the bar has passed your mid-thigh, you have to keep your shoulders a little bit ahead of your hand. When the bar has passed your mid-thigh, you can then pull back the shoulder blades to give you a stable and strong torso.
When you get to the final part of this movement, you pull your shoulder back before using a controlled movement to start lowering the weight onto the floor.
Common mistakes when doing deadlifts
These are the common mistakes people make when doing deadlifts that impact the efficiency of the exercise and could also cause some problems;
Bad eccentric phase
A common mistake when doing deadlifts is squatting on your way down and bending your knees too early. This would put pressure on your lower back as well as force the bar away from you and return you to the wrong position. For you to prevent reaching the barbell around your knees, your hips should be hinged backward until you have passed the knees, then you keep going down. The downward path of the barbell is meant to be almost fully vertical; then you can revert to your initial position.
Jerking the bar
It is also very common for people to jerk the bar while trying deadlifts. When the weight gets too heavy, people often round their back, bend their arms, and dip their chest to the bar to give them that extra boost. For you to avoid this, you have to tighten your core and put your hips into the bar and drive through your heels.
Distance from the bar
Your shins should not go farther than one or two inches away, even if they come in contact with the bar. If you move them farther than this, you will be reaching forward, which means you have a greater tendency of rounding your back, shifting to your toes, or lifting from your lower back.
Extending your legs first
This is a problem that is likely to occur more as the weight becomes heavier. People often extend and drive their legs first, which will see the bar move only a little or not at all. Doing this will cause you to round your back before the movement is over, and you will leave the back to perform the rest of the lift. Tighten your core and ensure that you raise the bar as you extend your hips and legs.
When doing deadlifts, you are not trying to do a squat variation; instead, you are performing a hip hinge movement. A butt down, chest up position is not the right way to perform deadlifts as it will not target the posterior chain (glutes and hamstring) for lifting. While the movement is a hip hinge, your knees will still have to be bent slightly. You should form a line that is perpendicular to the ground from your shin, and also make sure your back is flat. The weight should be kept on your heels.
You can either place your feet at shoulder-width or hip-width apart. If it is wider than this, the exercise will lose part of its functionality, and you will also round your shoulders, which will compromise your spine. The sumo deadlift is an exception to this because the handgrip is positioned inside your legs.
Benefits of doing deadlifts
It is safe
Perhaps one of the safest weightlifting exercises, the deadlift can be performed by exercisers of all levels. You don’t have to worry about the weight pulling your over backward or getting pinned under it. If you feel like it is so challenging, you can just drop the weight, you would surely make a loud noise, but you won’t sustain any injury. With this exercise, you would not need to have a spotter.
Improved real-life lift
Performing some lifting exercises such as the bench press, it does not get you prepared for tasks that you would carry out in real life. You will most likely not need to push something in the air while lying on your back. Doing deadlifts will see you develop those muscles that are needed to carry things such as heavy grocery bags, a table, or a bucket of water.
More muscles worked
Doing the deadlift will ensure that a lot of muscle groups in your body are worked. Research has shown that it works more muscles than the squat as it targets all the major muscle groups. The deadlift targets your upper and lower body, which includes your back muscle. If you have to do only one exercise, this is the one to do.
Doing deadlifts can make you less susceptible to sustaining injuries as it increases the strength of your muscles around specific ligaments and tendons. To prevent injuries, it is important that your joints are supported with strong muscles, mostly in your lower back and hamstring.
Increased fat burning
A study was taken with overweight subjects who were divided into three groups. These groups were diet-only, a diet with aerobics, and diet with aerobics and weights. The group that followed only a diet plan lost about 14.6 pounds in the space of 12 weeks. The group that added aerobics lost about 15.6 pounds over the same time frame.
The group that had to work with weights noticed about 44% more fat burn that the diet group as they lost a whopping 21.1 pounds in the space of 12 weeks. So, it has been established that resistance training and weightlifting are effective when it comes to burning fat.