By: Nick Lape

If you know what a deadlift is, your mind probably goes straight to the strong man competitions where they are trying to deadlift as much weight as humanly possible.

When I think of deadlift, I think of good posture, strong hips, and even lessened back pain. Doing a deadlift is not just stacking enormous amounts of weights on a bar and lifting it. No, a deadlift takes you all the way back to some of your most primitive movement patterns. When done incorrectly, the consequences can be quite severe, most of which are seen in the lower back. When done properly, athletes, exercise enthusiasts, and exercise novices alike can all reap the benefits from the deadlift.

When talking about proper deadlift posture, we want to address the positioning of the head, shoulders and hips. Starting at the head, we want to make sure the ear is over the shoulder with the crown of the head being pulled as tall as possible.

Pull the shoulders in a back and down position in order to engage the latisimus dorsi (two large muscles of the back located under the armpit). To prevent any sway in the lower back, and further neutralizing the spine, the hips should be tucked under slightly.

When in the proper position, a stick or PVC pipe should be able to touch the back of the head, mid-back between the shoulder blades and the top off the butt.

Keeping neutral posture throughout, begin the movement by moving the hips straight backward. The knees should be soft, not locked or bent. This keeps the lower leg as close to vertical as possible.

When beginning the lift, keep the core tight, shoulders locked in the postural position and the spine neutral, and bar pressed into the shins or as close to the midline (frontal line) of the body. Drive through the heels and stand straight up.

Deadlift start position

Deadlift start position

Deadlift Finish Position

Deadlift Finish Position

Everyone can benefit from a deadlift. Ladies, will you get big bulky muscles from doing a deadlift?

Absolutely not!

Athletes, do you want to jump higher? Do you want to run faster? The deadlift is a game changer when added to your strength training program.

Do you have chronic or mild back pain? Use deadlifts to strengthen the back side of the body with and help to decompress the vertebrae by taking the forward tilt of the hips and start to bring them back.

Athletes are always looking for that edge in their training programs. Exercise fans seem to have the answer for quad strength, but not always a way to strengthen their backside. Then there are those with back pain who constantly seek medical advice on how to get rid of their back pain. While there’s a chance these people could have structural issues, it’s highly likely that strengthening the backside with a deadlift could help to alleviate a good amount of these painful cases.

That being said, incorporating this movement into your training program can only benefit you. Just remember, there is a right and a wrong way to do just about everything. A deadlift is no different. Pay attention to your form and posture and make deadlifting helpful and not hazardous.

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