Deadlifting – BTB 1.2
In this video, we go back to basics with Deadlifting! Deadlifting is a movement that utilizes all of your muscles from your toes to your head. It requires an immense amount of body awareness to properly execute and focuses primarily on your posterior chain.
We start off this video by looking at the mechanics of the deadlift, such as placing your feet hip-width apart, distributing the weight evenly through your feet, and sinking your hips back and down till you feel a stretch in your hamstrings and glutes.
Deadlifting – The Set-Up
First, let’s look more in depth on how to perform a barbell deadlift.
- Foot Placement – Hip width apart with toes parallel
- Knee Positioning – Follows the direction of your toes throughout your movement (i.e. keep your thighs parallel while deadlifting)
- Hip Position
- At the start of the movement reach your hips back (aka reach your butt back) and make sure your hips are lower than your upper back
- At the top of the movement squeeze your glutes and make sure your hips are neutral. Your body should be straight like you are standing up tall
- *** No need to exaggerate the deadlift lockout, we aren’t trying to do a back bend, just trying to stand up tall
- Torso Position – Your back should be flat with your shoulder blades retracted (i.e. pull your shoulder blades back so your back doesn’t round). Relative to the ground, your torso should be slightly angled; not so low that your back is parallel with the floor but not so high that you are in a squatted position
- Head Position – Keep your head neutral. Don’t strain your neck when you are lifting (aka don’t look up to the stars)
A final note on breathing, when you are going through the concentric phase of deadlifting (aka standing up) exhale and when you are bringing the bar back down or setting up for the lift, inhale.
In this video, we looked at three different deadlift variations, the first was a PVC Deadlift.
This variation is focused on developing your deadlifting movement patterns (i.e. hip hinge position, torso position, etc.). By avoiding a load you will be able to make note of, and hopefully correct, any deficiencies you may have in your movement pattern.
From the PVC Deadlift, we moved on to the Kettlebell Deadlift. With a kettlebell, you are challenged to fight gravity because you are deadlifting against a static load. Additionally, because the handle is elevated from the ground you are able to get comfortable with your deadlift set up.
One of the best things about kettlebell deadlifts versus barbell deadlifts is that you are capable of starting with beginner friendly weights, which in turn gives you the ability to get comfortable with a loaded deadlift.
Finally, the king/queen of the hour, the Barbell Deadlift, progressing to this movement from a kettlebell is fairly straightforward. The movement pattern is almost exactly the same in every way, save your hands will be outside of shoulder width apart.
NOTE: Unless you have bumper plates in your gym you will have to load the deadlift quite heavy before you get the full benefit of deadlifting with a barbell. Since traditional gym plates increase in size as you go up in weight unless you are deadlifting 135lbs. the barbell will be much closer to the ground. This, in turn, means you have to compensate for the lack of height on the barbell by reaching lower to the ground.
Yes, get strong, super quick and deadlift 135 lbs. starting day one.
In all seriousness, though… Don’t worry! There are a few ways to get around not being blessed with bumper plates.
- Deadlift from a box – By placing the bar on a box you are able to elevate it to an appropriate height.
- Use the safety bars – If your gym has safety bars that go low enough, you can place them so that it mimics the same effect as deadlifting from a box.
- The benefit to this is there is nothing near your feet that can sometimes make deadlifting awkward (e.g. a box)
- Deadlift with plate supported plates – By this I mean load up your deadlift and under the plates that are loaded onto your bar place additional plate. This will elevate your barbell and raise it to a more natural position.
If none of these solutions work for you… go to another gym! I kid, but in all reality, the best alternative is to perform RDLs (Romanian Deadlifts) or Kettlebell Deadlifts till you are able to Barbell Deadlift 135 lbs.
Finally, we concluded this video with a look into a few accessories that will enhance your ability to deadlift and cope with heavier loads.
The first of these accessories is chalk; yes like the chalk you have for chalkboards. Chalk has the uncanny ability to dry your hands more so than the Sahara (great for lifting, not great if you want nice moisturized hands).
For those of you that struggle with gripping the bar due to having clammy or sweaty hands, chalk will be your saving grace. Not only that, but it will also provide you with a very thin cushion between your hands and the bar (granted, you cake on chalk to your hands like icing on cake).
Weightlifting straps are a very common in a lifter’s arsenal. Especially, for those that regularly lift heavy loads and need some extra grip assistance.
By rolling the straps a few times around into the barbell you are able to distribute the weight from your hands into the strap. Allowing you to focus on the muscles you are using for an exercise, rather than gripping for dear life.
Finally, Versa grips are an alternative to lifting strips and are a bit more of an investment. The benefits of these over straps is that you do not need to roll them into the bar to get their benefit. They work by countering the direction of your grip, allowing you to worry less about letting the bar go and focus more on lifting.
I hope this post has given you some great insight on how to properly perform a deadlift or improve your current deadlifting form. While the deadlift is a complex movement, it can be mastered with patience and through becoming aware of your body’s positioning.
Finally, I want to thank you for taking the time to learn how to properly deadlift with us. I wish you all the best of luck deadlifting and I hope you hit some new PRs following this post.
PS If you have any questions please feel free to comment below or reach out via email.
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