To develop total-body strength, add massive amounts of muscle, and shape an amazing physique, the deadlift is a need. When done correctly, it builds up the hip, hamstring, and back muscles that are crucial for athleticism and general fitness. (Hell, it might even help with posture.)
But it’s difficult to find a clean deadlift when you stroll through any commercial gym. Bad technique makes the exercise harder and increases the risk of injury; also, because the deadlift uses such high weights, there is a huge margin for error.
The proprietor of Matt Kasee Training and Performance and a deadlifter who can lift more than 500 pounds, Matt Kasee, MS, C.S.C.S., explains the worst deadlifting mistakes, why they are terrible, and exactly how to prevent them. The next time you deadlift, don’t be shocked if you can lift significantly more weight with less discomfort.
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Your Shins Are Too Far Forward
Keep your shins as upright as you can when you set up with the bar. Do not lean forward with your shins, as this looks like a squat.
The glutes and hamstrings, which are the main targets of the deadlift, can’t be effectively engaged when your shins are too far forward, claims Kasee. The barbell will also be too far forward as a result of your misaligned setup; you’ll need to draw the bar route rearward at some point in order to bring the barbell back over your feet. That uses more quadriceps, wastes strength, and strains your lower back.
Squatting is not the deadlift. It involves entirely distinct movement and exercise techniques. The “hinge” is the fundamental motion of the deadlift, according to Kasee. This enables you to exercise your hamstrings and glutes by extending your hips with a lot of weight.
Begin by bending your torso over the bar while maintaining a flat back.
Your Back Is Rounded
Avoid arching your back when deadlifting; this increases your risk of spinal damage and lower back pulls and strains.
Take a deep breath in and push against your tensed abdominal muscles to learn how to brace, advises Kasie. This puts a lot of pressure inside you, protecting your back and assisting in keeping your spine neutral during the lift.
Your Hips Are Rising Too Fast
The “stripper deadlift” is another name for it. (Imagine something.) Men will inadvertently elevate their hips before they have raised their upper bodies, locking out their knees. Nevertheless, if you lift your hips first, your lower back will have to stretch in order to lift the barbell.
Instead, elevate your hips and shoulders together. Create tension in your glutes and hamstrings at the beginning of the lift, advises Kasee. “Pay attention to digging your heels into the ground and pulling with your upper back.”
You’re Not Dragging the Bar Along Your Body
Drag the barbell along your thighs and shins as you hoist the weight. Your lower back will be under additional strain as the bar moves away from your body.
Kasie says, “Consider drawing back and driving your heels through the floor. Engage your last as you pull to keep the bar close to your torso, which will make the lift safer and more effective.
For proof, watch world-record deadlifts’—you’ll often see scrapes on their shins from dragging the barbell along their skin.
The Bar’s Hitting Your Knees on the Way Down
The barbell crashing on the knees as the deadlifted lowers the bar is a common complaint. Instead, use the raising motion in reverse as you descend.
Kasie instructs, “Push your hips back to begin reducing the weight.” “Perform it quickly, but under control, so you don’t overwork your body by performing slow eccentrics.”
You’re Deadlifting High Reps
With all the muscles and joints it targets, deadlifting for a high number of repetitions might impair technique. 2 to 6 reps is Kasee’s preferred rep range for deadlifts.
He says, “You don’t need to go much higher than that.” “When you tyre out during the set, you increase the danger of injury to your body.” Use barbell hip thrusts instead of deadlifts to target your hips and hamstrings with volume training; you’ll improve the same muscles without putting pressure on your lower back or spinal column.
You’re Not Setting the Bar Down Each Time
Although many guys bounce the weight or even miss the ground, each repetition must start from the floor.
Kasee demonstrates that bouncing the bar off the ground provides you momentum and makes the lift simpler. “You can’t build strength from the first pull off the floor,” the instructor said. Use bumper plates if you can, and always lower the deadlift from the top. That takes out the eccentric part and makes you start moving from a complete halt.
Avoid looking up. Your cervical spine is harmed, and your neck muscles are strained. Even though some lifters feel that looking up will help them maintain a flat back, you should be able to maintain a neutral spine regardless.
Throughout the deadlift, maintain a safe position for your neck. Choose a point a few feet in front of you and keep your attention there throughout the lift, advises Kasee, to maintain a neutral neck.
You’re Overarching Your Back at the Finish
At the top, avoid leaning backward or overarching your lower back to finish the rep.
Before the lift, take a deep breath in through your belly, and then force your hips into the bar to lock out the lift, advises Kasee. You should be standing straight up at the top, braced firmly in the middle, and your glutes should be tightly contracted.