While many would consider deadlift as leg workout, I personally include it in my back workout routine. Well, deadlift actually can be considered as ‘everything’ workout because it works almost every muscles of your body. This exercise is the mother of all training.
When you deadlift, you use every single muscle in your body:
- Your arms, forearms, and hands hold onto the barbell and make sure the bar stays in the right position and stays stable throughout the lift.
- Your shoulders and traps hold the weight and hold it stable.
- Your back and core help keep your entire body tight and stable to help keep your spine secure.
- Your posterior chain and legs to act as a lever and lift the weight.
Deadlift is the basic human movement. Other than the squat, there might not be another movement that is more “functional”. From the grocery store, to moving a piece of furniture, to picking up your child off the floor — you are deadlifting.
The deadlift is awesome – perhaps the purest measure of strength: either you can pick the weight off the ground, or you can’t.
There are different types of deadlift and the most common ones are the traditional Deadlift (DL), Romanian Deadlift (RDL) or Stiff-legged Deadlift, and Sumo Deadlift. In this article we are going to cover Deadlift and Romanian Deadlift.
1. TRADITIONAL DEADLIFT (DL)
- Ready the barbell with weights on the floor. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your feet should point straight forward. Your mid-foot should be positioned over the bar.
- Lower your hips, but do not lower it below your knees. Deadlift is not squat, where you lower your hips below your knees. Lower your hips during your Deadlift setup so your shoulder-blades are over the bar, bar over mid-foot. This engages more muscles.
- Grip the bar about shoulder-width apart, but make sure your arm doesn’t touch your leg. Your legs’ position should be inside your arms. Use the normal grip at first.
- Lock your elbows. Keep your arms straight. Never pull with a bent arms.
Keep you back straight. Maintain a neutral spine. Make sure the weight is close to your body too. Also, keep your abs tight to minimize the stress imposed on your lower back. Maintaining this proper form is very important to avoid injury.
Now, lift the bar. When you stand up with the barbell, your hips and shoulders should go up together. If your hips go before your shoulders, you are using your back and not your legs. Do not exert force with your arms, this is not an arm exercise. Push your legs through the floor to lift the weight, DO NOT start the lift using your arms.
Come to a standing position with upright posture. Pull your shoulders back if they are rounded forward.
Lower the barbell in a controlled manner back to the initial. Do not forget to keep the back straight because you are still supporting the weight. Breath out as you do this.
- Repeat for 3-4 sets with 8-10 repetitions each set.
2. ROMANIAN DEADLIFT (RDL)
With Romanian Deadlift, all the key steps are almost the same except for one, the position when you are lowering the bar. With DL, you are lowering it back to the ground and you bend your knee back to starting position whereas with Romanian Deadlift, you don’t go all the way down and bend your knees. Instead, you bend your knee a little and lower the bar up until it reach below your knees and pull it back up.
- Always maintain a neutral spine position to prevent injuries. Most common mistakes are hyper-extending your back or rounding your back position.
- Always keep your bar close to you.
- Do not bend your arms
- As you pull, all the weights should be stressed on your heels and mid-foot, not your lower back.
Here are some videos tutorial that might help you. Note that these videos are not mine. I picked the best video tutorial to help you guys perform the correct movement of a particular training and gain results.
While deadlift is a really powerful training, it is also a deadly exercise. You do it wrong, you will most definitely bust your spine and lower back and you will be out of the gym for some time. This exercise can be performed using dumbbells, barbells, trap bar, or smith machine
It is recommended for the first-timer who wants to deadlift, you start with a light weight. If you want to use the barbell, don’t add any weights on first. You need to get the starting position right and get used to the motion. It sounds easy to keep your back straight, neutral spine position, and stick your bum out, but when you really do it with weights, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
As you grow stronger and familiar with the deadlift, you can slowly add on more weights. For advanced users that already lift heavy weights, you might want to consider using weight straps to support your grips and weight belt to support your back.
Happy Training and stay motivated!