Beginners Guide to the Deadlift

What is it?

The Deadlift is one of my all time favourite lifts and is a must for anybody, whether you are new to the gym or a seasoned pro. It is arguably the most simplest of lift which has you pick up a bar and put it down, but don’t let the simplicity of the lift fool you it also one of the most challenging lifts out there.

Why do we use it?

One of the main reasons we at W10 are big advocates of the deadlift is that it is fantastic for building the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes and lower back) which is generically weak in the modern population, who spend far too long sitting down and not enough time moving.
By strengthening the posterior chain you teach the body to move as it supposed to and use the hamstrings, glutes and lower back as a team.
The problem when you spend too much time sitting down is that you encourage the glutes to become lazy which means that you are asking the hamstrings and the lower back to pick up the slack.
This leads to a flawed movement pattern, which over time can lead to lower back pain. On the flip side deadlifts performed with perfect form can go a long way to strengthen your lower back and making back pain a thing of the past.

5 cues to help you in the deadlift.

1. Don’t jerk the bar – Essentially what this means is apply tension to the bar before you lift it, making the lift as smooth as possible.

2. Keep your chest up – By keeping the chest up you encourage your back to remain straight, which is very important for keeping the bar close during the lift.

3. Pull the knees back – The initial start position will see your knees over the bar a little and your weight towards the front of your foot. For full involvement of the posterior chain you want to get your weight onto your heels and by thinking “pull your knees back” you automatically promote this

4. Get your hips through at the top – We have spoke about the glutes being lazy and this can be evident in the deadlift with people not contacting the glutes at the top of the movement. Get your hips through and push your hips into the bar and get them glutes working!

5. Lower it properly – Too many times have I seen a perfect deadlift followed by the ugliest lowering phase. Lowering the bar with a rounded back is not only one of the least aesthetically pleasing things you can see it also hugely increases your risk of injury. Think RDL and sit. If you cant RDL then you probably shouldn’t be deadlifting.

Enjoy and lift safe.