The “How To” On Getting The Deadlift Form Dead On!
Tackling this full-body exercise and learning how to get the deadlift form down requires the precise coordination of several major muscle groups, not to mention plenty of practice. In order to get your body in sync for this bodybuilding staple, what better way to start off then by mastering the fundamentals of the barbell deadlift!
What You Should Know About The Ready Position
1 > Foot Position
Position your feet flat on the floor, slightly less than shoulder-width apart, toes forward or pointed slightly outward. This provides a stable base and allows the knees to track over the toes as you descend. Stand up straight over the bar. As you look down, the bar should be over the bridges of your feet, touching your shins.
2 > Body Position
Bend your knees and lower your hips into a deep-squat position: your thighs should be at about a 45-degree angle to your lower legs. Keep your glutes down and arms straight throughout the move. Keep your shoulders back and chest out, with your midsection drawn in and tight.
3 > Get A Grip
Grasp the bar equidistant from the center with an overhand grip (thumbs wrapped around the bar) slightly wider than where your legs touch the bar, arms straight.
Your hands need to be outside your legs so you don’t drag them up your shins. You can also use alternating or staggered grip (one palm forward, the other backward), which helps prevent the bar from rolling out of your hands.
(In fact, research indicates that you can do more reps with a staggered grip than with an overhand one.)
Power-lifter and bodybuilder Johnnie Jackson says he prefers his stronger hand to be the one with the underhand grip.
Some heavy lifters us a pronated “hook” grip, in which both palms face backward and the first 2-3 fingers wrap around the the thumbs instead of the other way around.
This method takes some practice and may be painful at first, but…
It allows you to use very heavy weights without straps, and you’ll develop superior grip strength. – David Sandler, MS, CSCS
4> Flatten Your Back
Stick your chest out and keep your shoulders back to flatten your back.
You must keep your low back locked in this contracted position throughout the move to maintain normal spinal curvature and prevent rounding.
Don’t flex or extend your spine; keep your lower-back muscles strongly contracted to handle the stress placed on the spinal vertebrae and discs.
5 > Get Focused
Focus on proper mechanics with each rep, especially during your warm-up sets.
“When you use proper form and your body starts repeating the movement patterns, it becomes automatic and easier to ensure you’re doing the move right heavy weights,” Johnnie says.
Sloppy form increases the risk of injury. Johnnie admits he repeats himself over and over, I’m the strongest man in the world, which helps him get into the zone to move weights in excess of 700 pounds.
6 > Head Position
Look straight ahead or just slightly up. Looking down increases rounding of the back and your body will tend to lean forward to a greater degree, Johnnie says. Looking too high will put undue stress on your cervical spine.