Workout Tips

Lift Doctor: Prescription for a Better Deadlift

Follow these positioning tips to deadlift more weight without wrecking your back.

Lift Doctor: Prescription for a Better Deadlift

“What's the best way to perform a deadlift with the proper form and an effective posture.” – Kevin Gonzalez

One big component of the “Big 3” barbell training lifts – bench press and squats being the other two - deadlifts are one of the best exercises for building mass across the entire body and developing serious levels of strength and power. But, like all loaded strength training exercises, performing deadlifts comes with risks – especially if you use bad form or you get out of position when you pull.

1. First, getting set up in a good position on the bar – before the initial pull – will determine how well you perform each repetition and how much weight you can lift safely. Your back should be straight from your hips to the top of your head and the bar should be as close to your body as possible.

2. Next, full body tension is created by catching a deep breath and holding it while simultaneously gripping the bar as hard as possible. Full body tension is created by using the bar to pull yourself into position – i.e., ‘taking the slack out of the bar.’

3. Once you’re in position and your entire body is tight, drive the ground away. Don’t jerk up on the bar as if you’re performing a leg press.  It is critical not to let the bar get out in front of you by letting it drift away from touching your legs at all times.

4. Return the weight to the ground by driving your hips back, which will keep tension on your entire posterior chain. Once the bar passes your knees, squat the weight back to the ground without losing the ‘neutral’ (or straight) position of your back.

How to Deadlift the Right Way

Meet the Lift Doctor

Jim Smith is a highly respected strength and conditioning coach and Fitness Advisory Board member for and numerous national publications.  Owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning, Jim has been called one of the most "innovative strength coaches" in the fitness industry. Jim’s FREE gift – The Mass Report – has been used by thousands of lifters and athletes to build muscle faster and break through training plateaus.