Deadlift: Do it Right

Always focusing on good form

Deadlift: Do it Right

The deadlift continues to be one of the best exercises for strength and conditioning because; (a) the deadlift allows you to lift heavier weights than any other exercise, (b) it is an effective tool for improving explosive strength performance, and (c) is one of the few exercises shown to have beneficial impacts to both testosterone and growth hormone.

If you haven’t been coached on how to perform the deadlift, it’s highly likely you’re making a mistake or two because proper form requires a disciplined approach.

Two weeks ago, my enthusiasm got me in a bit of trouble during my last deadlift set.

Suddenly the lower section of my lat muscle, on the right side, began to throb with pain.  While it could have been a strained ligament, or perhaps even a strained abdominal muscle, the pain was real but it did not seem to affect my strength.

In the workouts that would follow, I did as I’ve done for years, i.e. focus on strict form while reducing poundage to zero and gradually work my way up to figure out the severity of the injury.  During these recovery times I usually find great benefit from reviewing technique and finding new resources for my own growth.  This injury was no different.

I stumbled onto a great YouTube video on deadlift technique from Jeremy Either.

Jeremy explains the five most common errors in the deadlift, along with the proper execution to correct the error, as follows;

  1. DEADLIFT ERROR: Turning the lift into a squat lift movements with the hips too low and the back too upright.
    CORRECT FOCUS: In starting position, your hips should be between the level of your head and knees.
  2. DEADLIFT ERROR: Lifting with a rounded back, the most problematic error when it comes to acute back injuries.
    CORRECT FOCUS: Think about pushing the floor away and working on strengthening your hip muscles.
  3. DEADLIFT ERROR: Not maintaining a straight, vertical path for the barbell in motion.
    CORRECT FOCUS: Start with the bar mid-foot and lift vertically from there, focusing on engaging your lats throughout the lift.
  4. DEADLIFT ERROR: Jerking the weight off the floor from a relaxed position.
    CORRECT FOCUS: Pull the slack out the the bar before you lift, engaging the lats fully from the beginning.
  5. DEADLIFT ERROR: Overextending the lockout.
    CORRECT FOCUS: Finish with solid hip extension, pushing the glutes forward until the hips come in contact with the bar, with an upright torso

After two weeks of taking it lighter, and studying my lifting habits carefully on video, I’ve been able to spot a couple of issues that likely contributed to my injury.  After today’s deadlift workout I am excited to be pain free and looking at increasing poundages to the former levels.