The deadlift is one of the simplest exercises out there in theory. All you do is pick the weight up and put it back down. However, if done improperly it can lead to injury, just as any other lift can. Here is a checklist to help you make sure your form is setup properly for the lift:
1. Foot Spacing
Depending on whether you deadlift sumo or conventional, the stance will be different. For sumo, you’ll have to play around and find the stance that works best for you. For conventional, it is important to have your knees and feet directly under your shoulders. This is the power position. If you are unsure about it, act as if you’re going to jump as high as possible, then use where your feet are set there. Another way to find it is to hang on a pull-up bar and drop off, you will likely land in the right place.
Your grip should be directly under your shoulders or just outside your knees in order to make sure the bar has the shortest path. It is also preferable to have a double overhand grip instead of a switch or alternate, as it is better for the shoulders.
3. Low Back and Core Tightness
It is essential to take a deep breath in order to protect your core and low back. Your low back does not round in a perfect world, although at a certain point it will likely happen. The way to think about it is as if you were going to be punched in the stomach, what would you do with your abs?
4. Loading the Lats and Protecting the Shoulders
The lats play a very large role in making sure the form is on point, as it is one of the strongest muscles in the body. It allows the body to stay strong and supports the weight throughout the lift. In order to load the lat properly, it is best to think about pulling your shoulders back and down. This will feel highly uncomfortable at first, but will make the lift easier and protect your shoulders. By doing this, you should naturally have your shoulders directly over the bar and ready to start the lift.
5. Move the Hips to Bar
If you start the lift and the first thing that happens is your hips shoot up, then you are doing it all wrong. This puts a great strain on the low back, and takes the weight away from the hamstrings and glutes. The hips’ first movement should be towards the bar, not up in the air.
I hope this helps some of you visualize the deadlift a little bit better. Happy lifting!