Along with the squat and bench press, the deadlift is one of the most common and useful strength training exercises. A deadlift requires muscles all over the body to perform. The arms, legs, core, and back are all strengthened by regularly performing increasingly heavy deadlifts. However, the deadlift can be of little benefit if one does not do it correctly, and without proper form, there is the risk of injury. You should always try to do what you can to improve your deadlift technique.
With these five tips, one should be able to perform deadlifts in a way that increases their strength with little chance of harm:
1) Keep your back straight
Having a rounded back is a common source of injury when performing deadlifts. Make sure that your lower back is straight at the beginning, the middle, and the end of your lift. Do not begin a deadlift in a squat position. If you squat low to the ground at the beginning of the lift, you are likely to hurt yourself. Stand up and bend over to pick up the weight, you are almost certainly going to bend your back incorrectly if you begin in a squat position instead.
When first learning to do deadlifts, it is a good idea to look straight ahead into a mirror when lifting. It is difficult to tell whether or not your form is correct if you do not have a mirror to look at. As long as the lower back remains straight all the way through the movement, you are not likely to hurt your back.
2) Put the weight down slowly and correctly
When putting the weight down, emphasize form as much as you did when you were lifting the weight up. Do not drop the weight by any means, and do not set the weight down quickly and awkwardly. As well as this being a safety issue, one will increase their strength faster if they take their time when setting the weight down. The negative, or eccentric portion of the movement, build strength and muscle just as well as the concentric movement. In fact, there are entire workout routines dedicated to leverage eccentric reps to build weight tolerance throughout the body.
3) Experiment with a variety of different deadlifts
While there is nothing wrong with the standard deadlift technique, one can do it in many different forms, some of which are better than the typical deadlift for some or most lifters. One might perform a hex or trap bar deadlift (using a special bar that is intended only for deadlifting, which changes and may improve the exercise), or a snatch grip deadlift, where one puts their arms much wider apart than usual. Another common variation of the deadlift is the Sumo deadlift. The sumo deadlift involves keeping the arms closer together and the legs farther apart than is typical. A Sumo deadlift is perfect for strengthening the glutes and hamstrings that may end up being neglected by your training routine otherwise.
4) Don’t do deadlifts every day
While novice lifters can sometimes get away with doing daily deadlifts without hurting themselves, the amount of weight will gradually increase until doing daily deadlifts becomes unrealistic. The most powerful natural lifters do not attempt to do deadlifts every day. It is one of the last exercises that one can get away with doing daily.
We build muscle by inflicting minor wear and tear on the body, which becomes stronger after the body heals. Recovery is vital to training the neural pathways to get stronger and improve your deadlift technique. Doing heavy deadlifts only once a week is enough to put some strengthening strain on the body. Daily deads will quickly become too much physiologically, which is not beneficial to progress or technique.
5) Don’t do touch and go reps
When deadlifting, one can either do “touch and go” reps or “dead stop” reps. With dead stop reps, one lets the bar come to a complete stop after setting it down and waits for a brief moment before lifting it again. With touch and go reps, on the other hand, one starts pulling up again as soon as they set the weight down, without letting the weight come to a complete stop in between reps.
It may seem easier due to the stretch-reflex action, to do more reps with the touch and go method, but it is not worth the risk. There is too much potential harm in immediately pulling the weight up again before allowing it to come to a complete stop. Quick frankly, you are also lying to yourself about how many reps you can complete at a certain weight if you rely on the stretch reflex to start the movement.
Even if one intends to train themselves, they might benefit from an occasional session with a personal trainer. Good personal trainers will be able to help you improve your deadlift technique after just a couple of sessions.
The deadlift is an intense strength-building exercise that both has more benefits than most other lifts but has more risks as well. The deadlift, therefore, has to be taken more seriously. Using poor form when deadlifting is more likely to hurt you than using poor form when training in most other ways. On the plus side, its intensity makes it one of the best ways of building a powerful body.