Deadlifting is considered by many bodybuilders to be the “king” of all exercises. This move works out just about every major muscle group in the body at once to provide maximum bang for the weightlifter’s buck. Unfortunately, it’s also more likely than most exercises to end in injury, especially if people don’t use proper form. Read on to find five tips for how to perform deadlifts safely to maximize daily workouts without risking personal injury.
This tip applies not just to deadlifts, but to all forms of exercise. Staying hydrated is the key to building muscle and burning fat the healthy way. Water may be fine for the rest of the day, but try a Defy drink before and after serious workout sessions to maintain an optimal electrolyte balance and give the body what it needs to power through serious exercises.
Avoid Ankle Rolls
Foot placement is important when performing deadlifts. Weightlifters should place their feet a shoulder-width apart and ensure that they are flat so the weight will be driven down through their heels. Most amateurs drop their hips to pull, causing their ankles to roll. If that’s happening, put down the barbell and change the foot position to correct the issue. It’s also relevant to note here that some athletes may need to try different shoes or improve their ankle mobility before moving on to deadlifts to ensure correct form.
Get the Grip Right
There are several grips appropriate for deadlifting, but most people use the conventional double-overhand grip. The double-overhand grip involves grabbing the bar with the palms of both hands facing toward the body and the arms placed vertically to the floor. When grabbing the bar, the hands should be about a shoulder-width apart outside the legs. This hand placement minimizes the angles of the hips and decreases pull distance. Athletes whose hamstrings feel tight when using this grip can try some bodyweight squats to open up their hips.
Keep the Bar Close While Pulling
Once weightlifters have gotten their stances and grips right, it’s time to get started in earnest. While pulling up the bar, keep it close to the body and roll it over the knees and thighs. Stand straight, and do not lean back. When they’re ready, athletes can simply drive their feet down to help the weight begin its upward trajectory.
Maintain fluid motions, and don’t rise to a standing position too fast. Use the glutes to lock in a straight torso position when the bar hits the knees, keeping the core braced throughout the lift. Thrust with the hips as the bar passes the knees instead of pulling to avoid back injuries and keep the chest out and head up to maintain proper back alignment.
Don’t Rush the Return
When it’s time to return the weight to its initial position, don’t rush things, and don’t lower it straight down. Instead, employ the Romanian Deadlift to bring the weight safely back to the floor. Take a break after coming to a complete stop to reset for the next rep.
The Bottom Line
Performing deadlifts is a great way to tone a wide variety of muscles at once. It can also be a dangerous form of exercise for inexperienced weightlifters. Take the time to get every aspect of the form right, and never rush it. Improper form can lead to potentially serious injuries.