How to Deadlift

The Deadlift is no joke. It’s ferocious animal whom you must break before it can become your companion.   So read on and we’ll teach you how to tame this wild beast.

Setup

First thing you need to do is position your feet so that the the bar is dividing them in half lengthwise. You don’t want the bar too close to your shins, nor too far. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart or closer, and toes slightly pointed outwards.

If you’re using 45 lb plates the height of the bar is perfect. If you’re using anything lower than put some weights flat on the floor and place your barbell on top of them to elevate it to proper height.

Reach down and grab the bar with a double overhand grip, hands just on the outside of your legs.  Without lifting the bar, stick your chest out, butt up, and look forward.

Proper deadlifting technique

Back straight, chest and butt up.

Perform

Inhale, contract your abs, tighten your back and by pushing through your heels raise the bar. Raise the bar by first straightening the legs. Let the bar smoothly follow the vertical line of your leg but don’t drag it on your shins. When the bar  reaches the knees, straighten the torso and the legs simultaneously (without rounding your back) to reach the fully erect, standing position. Throughout the lift, maintain a neutral spine (natural, proper alignment of the spine; no excessive curving).

Don’t worry it only sounds complicated, after a few sets it will feel very natural. It may seem a little bit intimidating and it may feel like there’s a lot of info, but after you do it a few times (correctly) it’s very easy.

Initial and Final deadlift position

Do this, but with a shirt on.

Note: Different people have different anatomies and just like with squats, your natural deadlifting form may be different from someone else.

Nothing feels better than a heavy deadlift, but nothing can feel worse if it’s done improperly and you hurt your spine. Hyper-extensions are for cardio bunnies and people who didn’t read our page on proper deadlift form. Head on over to our Deadlifting Mistakes section to see what you shouldn’t do while deadlifting or check out our Deadlifting Tips and Tricks Section to further master the lift.