Leg Exercises

The Deadlift: Step-by-Step for Optimal Results

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



Here are a few extra tips to help you get the most out of this exercise.

Get warmed up

Do a 5 to 10-minute cardio warm-up plus some simple exercises to get blood flowing through the muscles, joints and connective tissue of the upper and lower body. When going heavy, include several lighter sets not taken to failure.

Skip the belt

For all but your heaviest sets, rely on the strength of your torso muscles instead of a lifting belt. Wearing a belt takes some stress off the lower back while increasing the workload on the abs, but it won't improve your overall torso strength.

Never allow your grip strength to compromise the lift 

If your grip is giving out even though your legs and back can handle the weight, use chalk or straps to assist in the lift. Otherwise go raw.

Set up the bar

Load the barbell on the floor with collars snug so the plates won't roll off. Clear the area of loose plates and other equipment.

Get feedback

If you're new to the lift, have someone with knowledge of deadlifting watch your form to provide feedback on your technique.