If the squat is sometimes referred to as the king of all exercises, the deadlift is the king of compound ones. It is a strength-building, muscle-gaining move. A lot of people avoid it though, probably due to fear of poor form, injury, or they just don’t like complicated maneuvers. A shame, really, as doing deadlifts properly has a lot of benefits. So how to deadlift with proper form? If you’re curious about this exercise, read on to find out more!
There are a number of benefits you can get from deadlifts if done correctly. Here are some:
They work a lot of muscle – Deadlifts target multiple muscle groups in one lift. Adding them to your routine will help you develop strength in your lower and upper back, glutes, and hamstrings. Also, deadlifts rely on core strength to ensure the stability of your body throughout the lift, meaning that you’ll also be able to work your abs as an added bonus.
They develop strength – A study showed that those who incorporated deadlifts in their training routine yielded great improvements in stability and strength. They also help protect joints from unnecessary stress and possible injury, as deadlifts make you use the muscles on the front and back of your body. And of course, the strength you gain from deadlifts can help in daily life.
They help improve posture – Performing deadlifts help correct bad posture, since you need to observe proper form to perform deadlifts correctly, and the correct deadlift form involves proper posture. So it can basically help you break out of a slouching habit.
They are time savers – since deadlifts are compound exercises, they work for more than one muscle group at a time. So, you save time by doing this because instead of working out muscles in three different activities, you can just target muscle groups with deadlifts.
They are easy to adopt – though the standard one employs barbells, there are variations that don’t, like the Romanian and straight leg deadlift – they use dumbbells or kettlebells instead. So, you can choose the variation that fits best with your routine.
Do take note that to maximize results and prevent injury, just do what is appropriate for your current level. Here’s something for reference:
Beginner – 4 sets, 6 reps, 2-3 mins rest; use the same weight in each set. When you can do 4 sets of 6 reps successfully, increase weight in the next workout.
Intermediate – 3 sets, 5 reps, 2-3 mins rest; use the same weight in each set. Increase weight in the next workout as soon as you’re able to do 3 sets of 5 reps.
Advanced – 5 sets, 5 reps, take as long as you need between sets to get your breath back; ramp up to your heaviest weight over 5 sets, with final set performed with the heaviest weight you can deadlift for 5 reps.
- With your feet flat beneath barbell, squat down and grasp it with hands approx. shoulder-width apart.
- Keep chest up, pull shoulders back and look straight ahead.
- Lift the bar, keeping it close to legs and focus on taking the weight back onto your heels. Think about pulling weight towards you on the way up. Lift to thigh level, pause, then return under control to the start position.
- Let the weight come to complete rest between each rep. While the weight is on the floor, take moment to ensure that your body is in the correct position (chest up, upper back tight and eyes forward) before lifting it up again.
You should also read: A Beginner’s Guide to the Gym: Everything You Need to Know
- Rack Pull – place barbell on a squat rack just above your knees. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and bend at knees, leaning slightly forward at hips to grab bar with one palm facing away and other facing inward. Quickly extend knees and hips, pulling the weight up and back until the body completely locks out. Pause, then return the bar to the starting position.
- Sumo Deadlift – stand at the bar with a wide stance. Grasp the bar with an over-under grip inside of knees. Drive up to standing position keeping back flat and chest out. Lower through the same motion while maintaining control.
- Trap Bar Deadlift – stand in the center of a trap bar with your feet hip-width apart. Bend hips and knees, reach down and grasp handles of the trap bar. Sit hips back such that you feel the tension in your hamstrings. Pull shoulders down and back, stick chest up and flatten your back. Tuck your chin and focus eyes forward. Take a deep breath and brace your core. Stand up explosively by straightening your hips and then your knees. Keep back flat and core tight. Tighten glutes at the top of the rep. lower trap bar to the ground while maintaining control and set up for the next rep.
- Romanian Deadlift – set the bar just below knee height in the rack. Take the same grip as the standard deadlift and unrack the bar with your bar set. Step back and take the standard deadlift stance. Push hips back and slide the bar down your legs while keeping your low back flat. Unlock knees but don’t bend them excessively. Once the bar reaches mid-shin, slide it back up to starting position.
- Kettlebell Sumo Deadlift – stand overweights with feet straddling the kettlebells. Grab the weights, making sure that your hips are hinged back, feet gripping the floor, and your chest is up and out. Knees should point in the same direction as toes. Flex your shoulders, hips, and core right before you stand up. Maintain the posture (strong grip on the floor, chest up and out, shoulders flexed, core braced and hips hinged) throughout the lift.
And those are the basic stuff on deadlifts. Remember to observe proper form and only do routine appropriate to your current level to prevent injuries and maximize results.