The Deadlift: best ways to master it in 1 article

The Deadlift: best ways to master it

I have lower back pain. Should I practice the deadlift?

This is the most common question that I heard.

The deadlift is a weight training exercise in which a loaded barbell or bar is lifted off the ground to the level of the hips, then lowered to the ground.

People refer to the deadlift as being “the king of weightlifting”

Muscles involved in Deadlift:

Even though this exercising makes use of the hips and legs because the number one movers, it is able to simply as be considered a back exercise.

It is one of the three powerlifting exercises, along with the squat and bench press.

Variations and forms of the Deadlift

  • Deadlift
    1. Conventional Deadlift
    2. Sumo Deadlift
  • Rack Pulls
  • Stiff leg Deadlift

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Sumo deadlift vs conventional deadlift

Sumo DeadliftConventional Deadlift
It is Leg dominant exerciseIt is back dominant exercise
Performer with a long body and short arms will usually perform better sumo deadlifts.Lifters with a short body and long arms will usually perform better using conventional deadlifts.
Shorter traveling path for bar.Longer traveling path for bar.
Required less hip mobility.Required more hip mobility.
Feet should be angled along the line that runs from the middle of your upper thigh to the middle of your ankle.Feet are generally straight forward or angled slightly outward.

Deadlift is an exercise most feared by people who have either weak back or history of back injury.

It holds them back from lifting any object, not necessarily a loaded barbell, off the ground from a bent over position.

They are often advised to sit down instead of bending over to pick up even the lightest object.

Back pain is often due to stiff posterior chain (chain of muscles starting at the base of back of the neck extending down all the way to calves) which translates to poor posture & inefficient lifting technique.

The remedy is to improve posture & lifting technique to get prepared to combat daily activities.

Read more:Fitness simplified

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The deadlift can be broken down into three phase:

  • The setup
  • Initial pull or Drive
  • Lockout

Correct lifting set up

The bar right over midfoot.

Stand either hip width apart or shoulder width depending on the ease to bent over and maintain balance.

Hold the bar with one palm facing forward and other to the rear to avoid grip fatigue.

Maintain neutral spine all throughout the lift and avoid rounding of the spine at any cost.

Correct set up ensures movement at the hip and knee joint; not at the spine.

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Injuries such as slipped disc happen as a result of lifting with a rounded back. Neutral spine facilitates optimal strength and safety.

Read more:Weight training 101: Reasons Why you should love it

Exercises make us functional, wrongly executed exercises make us dysfunctional.

Be wise!

Stretching to improve mobility

Stretching is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle group or tendon is deliberately flexed or stretched in order to improve the muscle's flexibility.

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The rack pull is an exercise similar to the deadlift that can be used to increase general pulling strength.

It is even used as a teaching adaptation for maximum range deadlift

How to perform Rack pulls

  • Set up in a power rack with the bar in the slots of racks.
  • The bar should be set to the desired slot.
  • Simply under the knees, just above, or in the mid thigh position.
  • Your feet should be under your hips.
  • Your grip should be shoulder width.
  • Back arched and spine should be neutral.
  • With your head leaning forward, extend through the hips and knees.
  • Pulling the weight up and back until hip and knee are locked out
  • Shoulders should be backed.
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If we compare deadlift & rack full which is more effective for our spine & lower back and spine stability?

As far as stability of the spine is concerned both are effective because they force you to bent over and lift.

Deadlift is superior with regards to transferable strength. We lift objects in daily life off the ground and rarely off the rack.

Rack pulls is an assisting exercise and not a main lift. It aids to improve hip drive which is the end phase of a deadlift.

Why is the deadlift called “deadlift”?

Deadlift called as deadlift because you have to lift weight till you die!!

Don't worry just kidding :p

When you deadlift, you're starting with the weight "dead" (on the floor), you're gripping it and lifting it straight off the ground until you're standing erect. You're literally doing the name of the lift when you perform it. Barbells and dumbbells are examples of dead weight.

The Mechanics of the Deadlift

An examination of men's division deadlift will show you what you need to know about the relationship between the loaded barbell and the lifter:

The barbell travels up the legs in an approximately vertical line over the middle of the foot, while the shoulders stay in a position just forward of the bar until the top of the pull.

And this is true no matter what the lifter attempts to with the bar; you may start somewhere else, but you're going to end up doing the pull this way.

Pleasant manner to improve deadlift


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Form is vital to any lift. Using the wrong form will prevent you from properly utilizing all of the necessary muscles needed to generate maximum power for the lift.

Form is also critical to ensure that you do not leak power in your kinetic chain and prevent injury.

For form pay attention and administer the right technique for the following:

  • Proper Hand Placement
  • Proper Feet Placement
  • Proper Loading of the Hamstrings

Loading The Hamstrings

Loading the hamstrings will help you achieve more velocity and speed off the ground.

This inertia can help you lift more weight. Most people lift using their lower back.

This is not only un-safe but it is eliminating the use of some of the largest muscles in your body.

A deadlift uses as much muscle recruitment from the lower body as it does from the lower back.


Once your form has been fixed and you are properly recruiting all of the key muscles in the deadlift, the next area is to build up frequency.

Frequency is the number of times per week you do the lift.

If you want to become good at something, do it more.

Performing the deadlift multiple times a month and with increasing weight will build:

  • Muscle Tolerance to Heavy Weights
  • Condition the Central Nervous System
  • Build Muscle
  • Increase Endurance

All of these help the key muscles you use int he deadlift become stronger and more efficient.

Stronger muscles lift more weight and efficient muscles use less energy.

More energy and capacity to handle heavy weights means you can lift more in the deadlift.

  • Central Nervous System (CNS) Overloading
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One of the reasons we fail in 90–100% of our 1RPM is because we are not used to the weight.

Most people do sub-maximal training and do not test their maxes frequently.

As such, when you do start to lift heavy weight, the feeling is foreign to you and you have not memory/context of how the weight feels.

As such, your central nervous system freaks out and tells your brain that this is too heavy.

These thoughts can significantly hamper the true amount of weight you can lift. As much as people do not want to admit it, lifting is at least 50% mental.

The amount of weight your body can actually lift vs the amount of weight your body will allow you to lift is at least 10-12kg.

To help get your body used to heavy weights and your max, you have to lift heavy weights.

By heavy I mean greater than or equal to your 1RPM.

You shouldn’t lift these weights through the full range of motion in the deadlift. Instead use a rack and do lockout reps.

This way your body gets used to holding the weight, how it feels and you build confidence. When it comes time to lift the weight.

It will be heavy but your body won’t freak out as much and you might even get some signals to the brain convincing you that you can lift this weight.

My friend got injured due to Deadlift should I do Deadlifts??

Deadlifts are a incredible exercise - and when finished successfully, should no longer result in any injuries.

The reason that most people get injured on a deadlift is due to the fact they allow their ego to take over, and add extra weight than they could control, and use the false form to get the load up.

Leave your ego out of the gym. Attention on getting the weight up with desirable form, and also you must not get injured.

Does Deadlifting stunt growth?

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I have several clients who began to deadlift in their teen age, and most of these guys achieved the full growth that they had been expected to hit, if not taller!

But, there are cases where you can seriously injure yourself and stunt your growth.

What size bar must I use for a deadlift?

If you train for muscle gain or general fitness then any bar will be acceptable.

If you're training for competition then The real Olympic bar.

There is only one, with well defined measurements, weight and etc.

the smaller ones aren’t Olympic, they’re just plain old bars that may have similarities in construction.

How frequently do you Squat and Deadlift?

How frequently do you Squat and Deadlift?

This depends on your goals and intensity of workout

If you are competitive power lifter you have to increase frequency of these exercises.

If your intensity of the workout is low, you should reduce frequency of these exercises.

What is the gold standard grip width in the deadlift?

Grip should be Shoulder width. Just hang your hands down and grip the bar.

Also a good tip is that the insides of your elbows should be touching to your knees.

Must I wear a belt while doing the deadlifts?

If you are lifting at your max capacity then yes you have to wear it.

If you are using light weights less than 5 rep max then you shouldn't wear it.

But type of belt also matters because most of the gyms don't have proper powerlifting belts

These powerlifting belts are made for safety of spine and surrounding muscles

How can I learn how to deadlift properly?

You can learn Deadlift in many ways:

Through watching videos on YouTube

My best trainers will teach you at your gym with a small fees

Contact me for more details

'The Mountain' from 'Game of Thrones' set the deadlift world record at 1,041 pounds

Icelandic actor and tremendous robust human Hafþór Björnsson performs “The Mountain” on game of Thrones. He’s an giant character who can lift insanely heavy items.

Björnsson earned a spot in the record books.


  • The deadlift is a weight training exercise.
  • The Deadlift is a structural exercise which uses almost whole body.
  • Deadlift can be done with two different forms.
  • You can avoid injuries totally if you did it with proper form.
  • Usually back pain is because of tightness of muscles
  • You can vanish pain by doing posterior chain stretching.
  • You can increase weight of the Deadlift through followings:
    • Better from
    • Loading The Hamstrings
    • Frequency of workout
    • Central Nervous System (CNS) Overloading


What is the heaviest deadlift you perform?

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