Western Campus Recreation

How to Deadlift



- Glutes, quads, hamstrings, upper back, lower back, core


- Core, lower back (both for stabilization purposes)



- Not deadlifting


- Squats

- Hamstring exercises


- Good for all rep ranges

- For strength: 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps

- For power: 3-5 sets of 1-3 reps, performed explosively

- For hypertrophy: 3-6 sets of 6-12 reps

- Deadlifts are a great exercise, but be careful to tailor the weight to the rep range. As with any lift that requires precise technique and lots of stabilization, heavy weights should only be lifted if confidence in your form is at a maximum.


- Lower back pain

   - Can be caused by a myriad of factors including poor core stabilization and poor form


- Romanian deadlifts

- Sumo deadlifts

- Deadlifts from a box

- Rack pulls


- Ever bent over to pick something up? The deadlift trains and corrects all the common lifting mistakes: not lifting with legs, rounded back, poor core stabilization.


- Set up a barbell with the desired weight on the ground (you typically want the bar about 6-8 inches off the ground, or the height when 45lb plates are used; if you are using less than 45's, set the bar on some risers)

- Set your feet about shoulder width apart

- Move forward to the bar so that the bar rests anywhere from near your toes to right against your shins; this is a matter of personal comfort and something that will need to be experimented with

- Squat down

- Grab the bar with your preferred grip; there are many different grips, but the standard is the overhand grip

- While bent down, grasping the bar, look straight ahead, straighten your back to emphasize that natural curvature of the spin, try to squeeze your shoulder blades together to keep the chest open, and keep the chest up (no bending over; if you have text on your shirt and you're deadlifting in front of a mirror, you should be able to read it throughout the lift)

- Squeeze your abs and glutes

- Begin the movement by lifting the shoulders and the hips at the same time, pushing through the heels; the shoulders should never be the last thing that gets lifted -- if they are, it means you're lifting your hips first and then lifting most of the weight with primarily your lower back; failure to move the body in one swift movement is one of the best ways to destroy your back

- Continuing the lift, keep squeezing the core and glutes and push through the hips to finish off the lift, coming to a stop in a standing position

- You'll be holding the bar at this point, but keep the shoulders retracted and don't let your arms hang like dead weight

- Reverse the movement to lower the bar to the ground

- Push the hips back and sit down with the weight, keeping it as close to your body as you did on the way up

- Keeping the bar close to your body throughout the movement keeps the load close to your body, prevent any drastically high lever movements

- Lower the weight in a slow, controlled fashion; controlling the weight on the eccentric movement is a great way to increase strength and coordination; control the weight, don't let it control you

- Repeat



- Feet under the bar

- Squat down

- Grip

- Look straight ahead

- Straight back (as in to say stiff and naturally curved, not rounded like a cat)

- Open chest (squeeze the shoulder blades together)

- Chest up

- Squeeze glutes and core

- Push through the heels

- Shoulders/hips move in unison

- Drive through hips to finish movement

- Sit back to lower

- Reverse

- Control


- Starting with the bar too far away from the body

    - This will put undue stress on the body, especially the lower back

- Lifting the shoulders last or the hips first

    - Turns the movement into a stiff-legged deadlift, which is likely an inappropriate movement based on the weight you're working with and can lead to lower back issues

- Rounded shoulders throughout the movement

    - The deadlift is a great upper back lift; make sure you're holding the bar, not just letting it dangle from your shoulders

- Poor flexibility

    - If you lack flexibility, you may find it difficult to assume the proper positions