How to Perfect Your Deadlift Form – SWEAT

How to Perfect Your Deadlifts

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How to Perfect Your Deadlifts
How To Deadlift

Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no denying the power of deadlifts. They’re a great test of physical and mental strength, and work more muscles in the body than just about any other exercise. Pretty impressive, right?

Deadlifts — as well as squats and bench presses — form the foundation of the BUILD powerbuilding program in the Sweat app

Here, we’ll explain why we’re such big fans of this movement — and share everything from detailed steps on how to perform a conventional deadlift to tips on how to improve your focus and form. 

So, whether you’re new to lifting or an experienced gym-goer, you’ll have no excuse to ditch the deadlift. Let’s go!

What is a deadlift?

A deadlift is a full-body exercise where you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and lift a bar or barbell (loaded with your chosen weights) up to your hips and back to the ground. Simple!

Deadlifts are incredibly popular with those who are serious about increasing their strength, as they’re a compound exercise that works so many different parts of your body.

This movement works all of your major muscle groups. When you deadlift you’re working your whole posterior chain, which is the group of muscles that run down the “posterior” or the back side of your body. Yes, that includes your actual backside, too! Your arms and core are also engaged to lift the bar off the ground.

Most seasoned gym-goers will be familiar with the deadlift due to its simplicity and effectiveness. But, regardless of your experience, it’s important to check your form.

How to perform a deadlift

When it comes to heavy lifting, technique is extremely important. Here’s how to perform a conventional deadlift:

Setting up your deadlift

  1. Stand in the middle of the barbell and place both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend at the hips and knees, and place your hands on the bar in an overhand grip, meaning your palms are facing towards your feet. 
  3. Draw your shoulder blades down and back to push out your chest slightly. Inhale and brace your core.

Performing your deadlift

  1. Exhale. Using your glutes and hamstrings (the backs of your thighs), push evenly through your feet as you lift the bar off the ground and extend your hips and legs to find a neutral standing position. Make sure you maintain a proud chest and that your head is in line with your spine.
  2. Inhale. Bend at the hips to lower the bar back to the ground and once the bar reaches knee height, bend your knees to return to the starting position. (Make sure your knees remain behind your toes.)
  3. Remember to maintain a proud chest and check that your head is in line with your spine.

Why you should deadlift

Where do we start? There are so many reasons to include deadlifts in your next workout!

First things first, deadlifts are a compound exercise, meaning they engage multiple major muscle groups at once, unlike isolation exercises like leg extensions or bicep curls.

Deadlifts use the strength of your core, lower body and arms all at once. It might not look like a core exercise, but performing deadlifts is definitely going to give your abs a solid workout!

Because of how many muscles they use (and therefore, how much energy it requires of you) compound exercises are tough, but very effective. So, if you only have a short time frame to squeeze your next workout into, deadlifts are a great exercise to focus on. 

Aside from working almost all of your muscles, deadlifts also have a high capacity for progressive overload. This means you’ll be able to increase your weights significantly and be provided with a tangible number to measure your progress.

Always check the recommendations in the Sweat app when it comes to increasing your weights. Safety first! It’s never worth compromising your performance and risking an injury by going too hard or overexerting yourself.

How to improve your deadlift

Even experienced gym-goers can slip up, so it’s important to remember the deadlifting basics.

Get your head in the game: Think heavy lifting isn’t about your mind? Think again. Lifting weights requires focus and confidence. As you approach the bar, visualise yourself successfully completing the lift. Breathe and focus on using the correct muscles.

Focus on your form: We go on about it a lot, but it’s SO important to get your technique right. Pay attention to the way you’re lifting and take your time to perform each movement. Closely follow the exercise demonstration videos in the Sweat app if you need help, or ask a gym staff member for guidance. If the weight feels too heavy, go lighter.

Train heavy deadlifts once a week: A proper recovery session is key to nailing your form, as is a well-considered lifting schedule where there’s enough rest time between intense sessions.

Reserve one session per week for heavy deadlifts (as you’ll find in BUILD), and use a separate session throughout the week for other variations. Always make time for rest, and tick off your weekly recovery sessions, too.

Be patient: Strength training is a game of patience, consistency and hard work. Upping your deadlift weights over time is certainly possible, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Good things take time. Stick with it, you’ll get there!

Different types of deadlifts

You’ll find various types of deadlifts in the BUILD program. The three most common are: conventional, sumo and trap bar deadlifts.

Conventional deadlifts

  • Conventional deadlifts are performed with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart and toes facing forwards. Conventional deadlifts are great for working multiple muscles, including your hamstrings, glutes, lats and traps.

Sumo deadlifts

  • In a conventional deadlift your feet are placed shoulder-width apart, while in a sumo deadlift they’re much further apart like a sumo squat.
  • Sumo deadlifts put more pressure on your quads and glutes but less pressure on your back.

Trap bar deadlifts

  • If you’re new to deadlifting and want additional support, trap bar deadlifts are a great option.
  • This bar puts you in a more upright position, which reduces the pressure on your lower back and shortens the range of motion (making the technique easier to master).

Build your muscles with deadlifts!

No matter what stage you’re at in BUILD, get ready to do plenty of deadlifts and reap the rewards - they really do offer so many unique benefits!

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.

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