Picking weights up and smashing them down again is fundamentally, a super satisfying way to work out. If you’re into whole body workouts, feeling like a girl boss and shifting big weights, read this guide and discover how to get the best deadlift form.
It’s one of the big three workouts and, for many, it’s the biggest one in terms of weight you can lift. We can vouch for this one girl, deadlifts feel awesome, grow all over muscle and make you stronger. Plus, who hasn’t just felt super jealous of those girls who can pick up those big bar bending loads? Be honest now.
Now we’re all on the same page about the incredible muscle-growing movement that is the deadlift, lets delve deeper into how to get the best deadlift form.
Table of Contents
- Best deadlift form
- Common deadlift mistakes
- How to sumo deadlift
- What muscles do deadlifts work?
- Final word
Best deadlift form
Before you head to the bar and start piling on the plates, you need to ensure your form is tight. The deadlift is a powerful movement, but, as with any other big lift, it can cause injury if it’s not done properly.
To help you nail it and stay safe in the gym, follow this guide to getting the best deadlift form:
- Prep a bar with lifting weights. You’ll find these in the Olympic or powerlifting section at your gym. They should be reasonably light, yet big enough to hold the bar off the floor at around mid-shin
- Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and with the bar covering the top of your shoe laces
- Bend over and grip the bar about shoulder-width apart so your arms are on the outside of your knees
- Gently tug on the bar to feel the tension through your arms
- With a firm grip on the bar, raise your chest up high, flatten your back and bend your knees until your shins touch the bar. Your shoulders should be over the front of the bar at this point
- Your first pull involves pushing hard with your legs to pull the bar up to your knee. Keep the bar as close to your body as possible throughout the movement and your back strong and flat. The angle of your back shouldn’t change at this point
- The second pull is pushing your hips through to fully stand up with the weight. Your hips and knees should be locked out, but not over extended
- To return the bar to the floor safely, reverse the two pulls, keeping your back strong throughout
Follow these steps and you’ve got everything you need to achieve the best deadlift form in the gym.
Common deadlift mistakes
The fastest way to achieve those big lifts is to perfect your form first, so don’t feel like you need to throw the weights on there straight away.
Take your time, get the best deadlift form you can, and build your strength in a safe, controlled way. A good way to do this is to avoid these common mistakes:
- Don’t jerk the bar – If you jerk the bar off the floor, you’re in serious danger of arching your back or rupturing a muscle. Make your lift a smooth, powerful motion
- Don’t bend your arms – A lot of people seem to think that if you bend your arms, the bar will get to the top faster. Instead you’re just putting your body under more unnecessary strain and risk pulling a muscle. Keep them loose and relaxed
- Don’t swing the bar out – Keep the bar as close to your body as possible. This is the most efficient way to lift the bar. It won’t expend any extra energy or put you at risk of falling over as you lift
- Don’t arch your back – We know, we’re repeating ourselves. You’re at risk of pulling a muscle and damaging your lower back if you lift heavy with an arch. Work hard on your form from day one to strengthen up your back
- Don’t use a thumb-less grip – Grip is essential in this lift, wrap your hand and your thumb around the bar in a hook grip so you don’t drop the bar
How to sumo deadlift
Once you’ve got the deadlift nailed, the next step is hitting the variations. These are also compound movements that will put the emphasis on your body in different ways. That means they’ll work your body for a whole new world of muscle building potential.
Where the conventional deadlift works your back, glutes and hamstrings, the sumo deadlift will do all this, but with more of a focus on those hammies. Perfect if you’re trying to get that perfect leg physique.
Follow this guide on how to sumo deadlift and show your prowess in the weight lifting area:
- Prepare a loaded bar on the floor
- Stand with your feet under the bar so you can’t see the top of your shoelaces. Then step outwards so you have a very wide stance under the bar. Test out different widths to see what works for you, but it should feel wide
- Bend at the hips to take a close grip on the bar. Your arms should be inside your knees
- Gently tug on the bar to feel the tension
- Bend your knees so your shins touch the bar, lift your chest and straighten your back. Your hips will be slightly lower here compared to the deadlift.
- Push up through the heels and straighten your legs to lift the bar past your knees
- When the bar is past the knees, push your hips through and squeeze your upper back together to completely lock out
- Return the bar to the floor by reversing the movement, keeping your back strong throughout
What muscles do deadlifts work
The conventional deadlift is pretty much a full body workout. As a compound movement it’s about as good as you can get. You add this to your workout and you’ll be making gains just about all you’re your body. Bonus right?
Drill this queen of lifts and you’ll work the following muscle groups:
- The back – Upper and lower back, including your lats
- The legs – Quads, calf muscles and hamstrings
- The butt – Glutes and surrounding hip muscles
- The arms – Forearms and biceps
- The shoulders – Traps
- The core – Lower back and abdominals
We’re all about it, girl. The well-rounded strength builder will give just about your whole body a burner of a workout. Whether you’re looking to increase mass or to boost strength, adding this to your lifting routine will put you on the fast track to gains.
What’s more, because it’s a compound movement, all of those muscle groups will be working together in perfect harmony. That improves your muscle communication, so your body becomes stronger in a functional way.
The final word
Once you’ve got the best deadlift form down, you’ll be ready to add weight to the lift and transform your physique. Make this movement the anchor of your back or hamstring workout and you’ll benefit from a huge range of gains.
Now the deadlift is your new fave lift, add to your big three lifts and perfect your squat and bench press too: