The deadlift is often considered to be the greatest exercise of all time. It uses more major muscles than any other move, builds unparalleled bulk on the upper and lower body, and strengthens the entire back and core.
However, many people injure themselves by doing deadlifts incorrectly, especially if you’re a newbie. if you copy other people you may do it wrong too.
So look out for the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:
1. SETTING THE BAR TOO FAR AWAY
The most effective deadlift is with a perfectly vertical line from start to finish. That means the finishing position of the barbell should be directly above where it was on the floor.
But many people stand too far away from the bar. This results in wasted effort and energy and means you won’t be able to lift more challenging weights.
Always use the correct set up position - the bar directly over the middle of the feet.
2. TURNING THE DEADLIFT INTO A SQUAT
Even though many people consider the squat to be part of a deadlift, it’s not. Never start your deadlift with a squat! This will cause the barbell to end up too far in front of your body, which strains your back. A half-squat is a good starting position, with your hips higher and shoulder blades over the barbell.
3. CURLING THE WEIGHT
The most common serious injuries associated with deadlifts are bicep tears. In other words, don’t deadlift with bent arms! If you do, the weight will force your arms to extend.
The proper way to lift is to pull with your arms fully extended. Consider your hands as hooks for the rest of your body to lift the weight off the floor. Keep your elbows locked and refuse to bend them even for a moment.
4. NOT TOUCHING THE FLOOR
If the weight doesn’t touch the floor your back won’t have time to rest between reps. Lowering it until the plates touch the floor will also allow you to reset your lower back to neutral i.e. no rounding or arching.
Not touching the floor also means your back will tire before the rest of your body. You then won’t want to add any extra weight, which is needed to build muscle.
5. LEANING BACK
You may have seen powerlifters leaning back at the top of the deadlifts. This is useless and unnecessary and squeezes the discs in your lower back.
The finish should include hips thrusting forward to touch the bar, but not so far that the lumbar spine hyper-extends. Lift the weight until your hips and knees lock and your shoulders are above your hips. Then stop there. No leaning back.
Having not actually done deadlifts myself, but watched my partner do them, I would not have had a clue any of these were mistakes! It looks like people curl the bar, squat etc.....lucky I don't do them!
Some excellent advice, but a video demonstrating each of these points would be even better. As a beginner to weightlifting, deadlifts are the first compound exercise I want to master before progressing to other more demanding exercises, so I want to get these right.