How to Deadlift with Proper Form

Oct 15, 2021

If you’ve never deadlifted before, it can look pretty simple: you pick up a very heavy weight and stand up, which takes a lot of strength. This is true, but there is a lot more that goes into it than brute strength. Using the right form and technique when deadlifting can be the difference between having serious injuries or continuing to feel your best. With the help of a chiropractor in Marietta, you can deadlift in a way that feels good and prevents you from suffering pain in the future.

Setting Up Your Deadlift

You should always begin with your feet flat on the floor, roughly shoulder-width apart, with your weight distributed evenly across your foot. The heel, big toe, and pinky toe should be equally supporting your body.

Place your barbell directly over the middle of your foot–not over your toes, and not too close to your ankles. You can then grab the bar with an overhand grip, placing your hands just wider than the width of your stance.

For the beginning position, your knees should be slightly bent, with your butt centered between your knees and shoulders. It is key that you keep your back and neck neutral, taking care to not arch or round your back or extend your neck upwards.

The Lift

Before you begin the lift, you need to spread the floor apart with your feet and legs in order to activate your glutes. Take a deep breath, then brace your core as if you were expecting a punch in the stomach. Engage your lats by pretending to squeeze an orange between each of your armpits; imaging you are trying to put your shoulder blades into your back pocket and pull your chest tall.

Now you can lift. Rather than lifting the bar, try to push the floor away from you, driving through your legs to keep your spine neutral and your head facing forward. Keep your core and lats engaged as you drive forward.

Once you’re done with the lift, lower the bar to the ground while maintaining the same form and core engagement.

Always take a break between lifts, though you can stay in position to keep your muscles engaged. Remember that every lift must start from a full stop.

Deadlift Injuries

Failure to use proper form in a deadlift can cause a range of issues, including minor pain and severe injuries.

One of the most common problems is lower back pain, usually as a result of failure to keep the spine neutral. You should have a natural arch throughout the lift without rounding your back or arching excessively. Sharp lower back pain can be a sign that this wasn’t executed properly.

If you have a neutral spine and continue to have lower back pain, be sure to lift with your legs engaged, pushing into the floor rather than pulling up your barbell. It is also important to ensure that your bar is close enough to your legs.

While the lower back is usually where sprains and strains occur, they can appear throughout the body. Without proper form, the arms can also be overexerted, leading to pain that can cause back pain which might not go without treatment.

Benefits of Deadlifting

When done properly, deadlifting can be an excellent form of exercise. Besides just strength building, a deadlift uses a large number of muscles in the body, keeping them active and strong. This strength can translate into day-to-day life, making it easier to do simple things like carrying the groceries or moving between a sitting and standing position.

If you can master proper form when deadlifting, you can also easily apply those skills to your posture outside of the gym. As things like a tall chest, shoulders back, and a neutral spine become habit, your posture will improve throughout day-to-day life. Good posture prevents a range of injuries, even in those who don’t lift.

Studies have even shown that people who deadlift properly have a reduced risk of injury and lower back pain. The breathing techniques and core bracing used in a deadlift activate your natural waist belt, which strengthens the core and leaves you less vulnerable to injury. The muscles, in general, are also more active, especially the glutes, which can reduce hip and knee pain commonly seen in people with more sedentary lifestyles.

If you’re planning to deadlift, it is always crucial to ensure you have a team of doctors who can advise you and treat any injuries that do occur. The chiropractors at AICA Marietta are here to help you be the strongest version of yourself!