Article by JC

Deadlifts are not only for bodybuilders or The World’s Strongest Man competitions, they are for everyone: young, old, men and women.

Starting Position

First of all the bar should be directly over the middle of your foot. Starting with the barbell over your mid-foot will ensure that the weight is evenly dispersed throughout your entire foot. It will also ensure that you are balanced when you pull. If you start the deadlift with the barbell over your toes or against your shins you can very easily put a lot of pressure on your lower back and very possibly get injured. It all comes down to physics, you have this thing called a “moment arm,” which is the shortest distance from the axis of rotation (hip joint) and the line of force from whatever you are lifting. A longer moment arm means the weight is relatively heavier and more strenuous to lift, because the load is further away. To understand better, hold a 10 pound weight by your side, now extend your arm fully. You’ll find that extending your arm that way will be heavier, because the weight is further away. Same goes for deadlifts, if the barbell is further away it’s more difficult to lift; it puts stress on your lower back and makes it harder to keep a stable spinal position.3-1

The barbell should be directly below your shoulder blade (not your shoulder joint). If you start the deadlift with your shoulder blades behind the barbell this is going to cause your butt to drop down which is going to cause your knees to go forward, now you are forced to pull the barbell out and around your knees, rather than pulling it up in a straight line. If you start with your shoulder blades too far in front of the barbell this will cause the barbell to swing out and away from your body and shift the weight onto your toes, causing you to lose balance.

Leg Drive

Pulling the barbell up from the floor is not the best way to lift bigger weights. If you are not using leg drive for the deadlift, you are missing out on half of your potential.

Stop thinking of picking the barbell up and down and start thinking about driving your feet through the floor, pushing the floor away from you while you pick the barbell up. This is going to allow you to use your quads when breaking the barbell of the floor, and your quads are very important for getting the barbell off of the ground.

Abdominal Bracing

Force moves like water through your body. It’s going to move in the path of least resistance and, if you’re not properly braced and you aren’t creating enough full body tension, that force is going to move in places you do not want it to go. This will create inefficiency in your lift. Lots of people doing heavier deadlift sets drive their hips up quicker than their shoulders which mean they round their lower back and then they struggle to finish the deadlift and hurt their lower back. You have to brace 100% against the weights.

Lastly some benefits of doing deadlifts:
• Improved mood, state of mind and increased confidence
• Improves and corrects posture, core stability and core strength
• Anyone and everyone can do it
• Deadlifts improve all your other lifts
• Increased cardiovascular health and fat burning
• Near total body workout with all the major muscle groups used

JC is a fitness instructor; if you want to contact him for one-on-one training add his  WeChat: jc18370330856 (Chinese) or janihaupt (English)