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Deadlift Exercise

Written By Chris McCombs

If you are looking to develop your lower back and legs, the Deadlift should be a central part of your fitness routine. But for whatever reason, this exercise is sadly neglected by trainers, with most opting for the squat to get their leg and back worked. While this makes some sense because the squat is a tremendously effective exercise, there are a few reasons lifters should consider switching over to the Deadlift.

Besides actually working more muscles than the squat, a properly executed lift can build your core, strengthen your grip, and create impressive muscle mass. And trainers can reap all these benefits through using very minimal equipment. Unfortunately, because the deadlift is underused, many don’t know how to do it properly. With a little education and schooling in the proper technique, any serious trainer can quickly start deadlifting like a pro.

Basically, a Deadlift is performed by lifting a barbell off the ground and raising it to your hips. When gripping the bar for a deadlift, keep your hands about shoulder width apart, with your left hand underneath the bar (your palm facing away from you) and your right hand over the bar (you palm facing towards you.) When you perfom the lift, keep your head facing straight forward and lift with your legs.

That’s the basic move, but it gets a bit more complex from there.

There are two way to perform the Deadlift: conventional and sumo. The difference mostly had to do with how you grip the bar and your lifting stance. In the conventional deadlift, you line your feet up with your shoulders and place the bar right in front of your shins.

Upon completing the move, your knees and shoulders should be locked. Lifters usually perform the sumo varition when they want to put less stress on their back. In the sumo deadlift, widen your stance so that your feet are a couple inches from the plates. Keep your back straight, and lift to your hips, like in the conventional lift.

While performing the Deadlift, pay attention to any serious pain in your lower back. If it becomes too uncomfortable, stop immediately. Pain from this exercise might be a sign of poor technique. Consult with a personal trainer to ensure you are performing it properly. You may also consider switching the “sumo” version if you experience pain in the conventional lift.

To avoid injury, don’t jerk the bar upwards. The whole motion should be smooth and controlled. Like in any exercise, don’t forget to breathe naturally. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ground. Moving your feet increases your odds of tipping over or experiencing back injury.

If you feel too much stress on your knees or if your knees bend to side, switch to a lower weight. If you have difficulty with the grip, you might consider investing in a pair of wrist straps. If you are new to the deadlift, you should start with a very low weight to practice getting the proper technique down before moving up to a heavier and more challenging lift.

Chris McCombs is an Orange County personal trainer in California with specialty in fat loss and muscle toning. He owns a successful company called Positively Fit Personal Training. His website contain valuable tips on fitness and “how to” style exercise videos.


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