The deadlift is definitely an exercise where if you have poor form, you are going to be in a world of hurt. Poor form on an exercise such as this and you could really mess up your back. This article is to teach you the proper technique and form to execute the deadlift.
Exercise The Deadlift
The deadlift is a great exercise to help develop the hamstrings and the lower back. The exercise is done by pulling the weight off of the floor and then standing with your legs straight and your shoulders back. To keep pressure off of your spine and lower back muscles it is important to keep your back straight.
You really want to concentrate on sitting back as if sitting in a chair when you are deadlifting. You want to get a good grip on the bar and can also use some straps to ensure your grip on the bar.
Once you have a reverse grip on the bar (one hand over, one hand under) you want to drive the weight from your heels through your legs.
In the down position you want to have your thighs parallel to the floor. You should have your knees directly over your feet. Make sure your knees aren't past your toes or behind your heels. You want to keep your butt low to the ground in the downward position.
breaking down the deadlift
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If you have too much weight on the bar for you to handle a tale tell sign is that your back will be rounded. Make sure this doesn't happen or injury can occur.
In the next portion of the movement it is very important to execute the movement with power. You want to use your glutes and quads and explode the weight off of the floor. You want to think of the movement more as a push than a pull movement. Your lower body muscles should be doing the work, not your arms and traps.
Exercise The Stiff-Leg Deadlift
The stiff-leg deadlift is a little trickier when compared to its cousin the deadlift. You want to begin by having a shoulder width stance over the bar. You want to have your feet straight ahead or even angled out to the sides slightly. You can experiment a little bit to see what works and feels best for you.
By finding a foot position that keeps you stable you will be able to use heavier weights. Make sure your feet stay flat on the floor at all times.
At this point you want to have the bar close by your shins (about 2 inches from the bar is good). Just like with the standard deadlift, it is best to use a reverse grip for this style of the deadlift as well. Grip the bar with your arms just slightly out wider than your thighs. Again, if your grip strength is weak, you can use straps to ensure a better contact and grip with the bar.
For bodybuilding purposes, nothing is going to punish your hamstrings better than the stiff-leg deadlift.
You want to make sure that your head follows your body. It is ok to look up slightly but for the most part you want to make sure your entire spine is in a neutral position. The weight should be on your heels. This will make sure you hit your hamstrings and glutes. The name is obviously the stiff-leg deadlift; however, it is best to keep your knees just slightly bent throughout the movement.
Now for the lift portion of the movement. As you bring the weight off of the floor, you should be bringing the weight up using your hamstrings. It should feel as if you are driving your hips forward. Make sure that your shoulders and hips are ascending together, if they aren't then you know you are using more of your lower back rather than your hamstrings.
Bring the weight all the way up until you are standing straight up. Now that you made it past the hardest part, reverse the order you just went through and bring the bar back down to mid to lower shin and then ascend the weight again. Make sure you are using a controlled motion throughout the movement to not only prevent injuries, but to also hit the muscles you are trying to target.