Leg Exercises

The Deadlift: Step-by-Step for Optimal Results

Learn the basics of this classic lift to maximize poundage and avoid injury.


4. Losing form

If you feel you're losing your form as you execute the move, just drop the bar—don't try to complete a rep, especially with heavy weight, if you're in a compromised body position.

5. Keep your back flat

Once you get the bar over your knees, maintain a straight back. As your legs approach full extension, squeeze your glutes to drive your hips forward and raise your torso back and up to the erect position. Concentrate on pulling with your hip muscles, not your arms, when raising your torso.

6. Speed

Keep the pull explosive as you ascend in a smooth motion, accelerating out of the bottom position while keeping the bar under control. When first learning the exercise, move very deliberately to master the technique. As you become more experienced, Johnnie recommends using a forceful speed even on your practice sets to condition your body to do so automatically on the heavier ones.