Back Exercises

Build a Bigger Back With the Deadlift

For our five-part series, we delve into this back-building move.

A Day in the Life of… Ana Delia De Iturrondo

A series about the best back-building moves wouldn’t be complete without the conventional deadlift. There are a number of reasons why this exercise is so important for adding size and strength to your back.

  • The nature of the lift allows you to pull more weight than any other exercise
  • It trains both the lower and upper back at the same time
  • Not only does it help back strength and size, but it improves the function of the entire posterior chain
  • The compound movement pattern helps release testosterone, growth hormone, and burn fat

Needless to say – if you’re not doing them, you should be. The lift itself is fairly straight forward. You bend over and pick the weight all the way up off the ground!  But as far as technique particulars go, making sure you’re using the right form is the way to differentiate between success and failure. Here’s how to get set up properly.

SEE ALSO: The Complete 5-Move Guide for a Bigger Back

The Setup

When you’re about to pull off the floor, make sure you follow this step by step checklist.

  • Load the bar and step under it so that the bar is directly above your shoelaces, and very close to your shins. Keep your feet at hip width - no wider - and angle the toes out very slightly.
  • Bend at the knee and hip and reach down for the bar. Your hands should be just outside your shins, and not too far apart. Make a strong grip on the bar.
  • Without pulling the bar off the ground, squeeze it. Try to “bend” the bar by creating tension. As you do this, set your back into position by squeezing your ribcage up as high as you can. Dig in with your heels and create a flat or slightly arched lower back.
  • While continuing to “bend” the bar, drive your elbows behind you by “screwing” your arms back as they’re locked onto the bar. This will help set your shoulders and create added tension through the lats.
  • Tuck your chin down. Look at the floor barely in front of the bar. Imagine you’re trying to hold onto an orange under your chin, and you don’t want it to drop.
  • Drive with your feet and legs, and pull.

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