Deadlifts are amazing for the
posterior chain development.
There are two types of Deadlifts you can perform depending on personal preference. Before we break down both movements, we will go through some useful lifting accessories that you may need to perform the optimal Deadlift.
Consider these lifting accessories
Footwear is an important piece of equipment that you will need. You’ll l need ones with grip, a flat sole and low to ground. Ryderwear Raptors are very good to use during this movement. Using sneakers or runners to Deadlift will be one of the worst things to use. They are generally very soft and you can lose energy transfer through the soft sole.
A belt can be very helpful when performing a Deadlift. It gives you something to brace your abdominal wall against and keeps you more upright to complete the movement. The type of belt is more personal preference. Ryderwear has many different options to choose from. I prefer the clasp belt as it is much quicker to lock and release.
Straps can also be useful for Deadlifts. If you are a bodybuilder who's not worried about grip strength and wants to maximise muscle gains then straps or wraps are useful. Grip pads, lifting straps or figure 8 wraps are all offered on the Ryderwear website. If you are a power lifter and want to increase your grip strength, then chalk will be your best option to enable you to get a better grip on the bar.
To perform a proper Deadlift you need the bar to move in a straight path up against your shins. I recommend tights, long pants or knee high socks to avoid nasty scraping of the shins.
Conventional Deadlift set up
Foot position is up to the individual. The feet are placed where ever you can generate the most power from and the hands are just outside your shins.
Optimal starting position is generally shins at 90 degrees to the ground from the front and the scapula (shoulder blades) should be positioned over the top of the bar. Make sure to engage the lats so you pull the slack out of the bar to avoid jerking the bar up. Jerking the bar up will cause whip in the bar and is more likely to cause you to round your back, preventing you from keeping a straight bar path.
Take a deep breath and brace your abdominal wall which will help protect the spine and enable you to generate more force.
To execute the movement you want to press the ground away from you, as you would performing a leg press. As soon as the bar leaves the floor you want to squeeze the glutes and drive the hips forward. This will enable you to keep a straight bar path and lock out effectively.
Sumo Deadlift set up
Foot position in the sumo deadlift is generally having your shins at a 90 degree angle from the ground when facing from the front. The best way is to look in the mirror and play around with the width. Pointing the toes out will help keep the knees out of the way.
Once again scapula should be over the bar but hands are placed inside the bar generally shoulder width apart in either the over hand grip or over/under grip.
Engage the lats to take the slack out of the bar, take a deep breath and brace the core.
To execute the movement you want to think about spreading the feet apart. As soon as the bar leaves the floor you want to squeeze the glutes and drive the hips forward just like the conventional deadlift.
Tips on what to avoid.
1- Rounding of the lower back
Spinal flexion is more likely to lead to a back injury as it creates uneven pressure on the vertebral discs. Building up your deadlift weight with better spinal position as will give you more room for error when testing for your 1RM
2- Bar separating from the shin
If the bar is further away from the shins there will be greater torque on your back. Keeping the bar close to your shins will enable you to keep a straight and optimal bar path.
3- Locking the knees out too early
Locking the knees out too early will make it more difficult the lock out the movement as this can separate the bar from the shin and create more torque through your lower back
4- Engage the lats and pull slack out of the bar
Engaging the lats and pulling the slack out of the bar will decrease the amount of bar whip and can avoid separation from the shin and decrease the difficulty to lock out the movement
5- Over dipping the hips
Over dipping the hips or positioning your butt too low will create a difficult position where your scapula is behind the bar. The deadlift is not a squat. Squatting into the deadlift will decrease the force when lifting.
6- Touch and go
Touch and go is optional but not recommended. It can lead to poor form therefore increasing the risk of injury. A very slight reset or pause is optimal as this will allow you to think about the movement. Although there are some programs from coaches that will allow the touch and go method. This is best discussed with a power lifting coach and may not be suited for a beginner lifter.
As with any movement the more you do it the better you will become. With the deadlift there is a lot of risk but performed correctly you can really optimise your strength capabilities with this compound movement.
Starting off light and working on the basic bio mechanics is the smart choice. Thinking about the key movements will help you deadlift in the most optimal and safest way.
If you want more information on a deadlift please speak to a personal trainer or power lifting coach as individuals may have restrictive issues with injuries and tight/weak muscles. Mobility will have a large effect on how you perform any lift.
Article written by Ryderwear Athlete Jason Morris of Morris Conditioning