Correctly performed Deadlifts are one of the most important exercises in the Crossfit Spectrum.
Correctly done they will help you to build massive strength in your posterior chain and you will need that for all your weightlifting. It is also the exercise that allows your body to move the most possible weight. But as will every heavy lift, progress and avoiding injury lies in great technique. Here are 5 tips to improve yours:
1. WARM UP
Before lifting heavy, warm up properly! Avoiding a warm up is an invitation for injury. Row, do Good mornings and Romanian Deadlifts with an empty bar. Stretch your hamstrings and your lower back.
Start with a few warm up sets with an easy weight and higher reps before loading the barbell.
- Walk to the bar. Stand with your mid-foot under the bar. Don’t touch it with your shins yet.
- Grab the bar. Narrow, about shoulder-width apart. Arms vertical from the front-view, hanging just outside your legs.
- Bend your knees. Keep going until your shins touch the bar. Don’t move the bar. Keep it over your mid-foot.
- Lift your chest. Straighten your back. Don’t move the bar. Don’t drop your hips. Don’t squeeze your shoulders-blades. Pull.
- Take a big breath, hold it and stand up. Keep the bar against your legs. Don’t shrug or lean back at the top.\
2. POSITION YOUR FEET PROPERLY
Like all lifts, the stance for Deadlifting is very important. If you are in front of the bar go to a hip-width stance, toes out 15°. Try to focus the weight on your forefoot but without letting your heels lose contact to the ground. That’s a classic Deadlift.
3. HEAD POSITIONING
Your spine has to be straight. That’s one of the most important things when you Deadlift. A straight spine distributes the weight evenly. If its not straight then the weight will be concentrated on one point, mostly the lower back. Hello herniated disc.
Keep the image of a straight spine in your head. If you are in the Deadlift position and raise your head you automatically feel how your lower back tightens. That’s because you are overstretching the muscular system in your back which goes from your head to your hips. Solve this by keeping your gaze on the Ground while Deadlifting in order to bring your spine into a neutral position.
4. DEADLIFTS: WORK ON YOUR GRIP
There is nothing worse than when you could lift more only your hands won´t let you. After a heavy workout or a high number of sets your grip will become weaker. Also, for many lifters, Deadlift strength is limited by what they can hold. So work on your grip strength.
Good exercises include farmer´s walks, static holds or higher reps. And of course a mix of them will attack and strengthen your grip in many different ways.
5. STRENGTHEN YOUR UPPER BACK
The upper back is the linchpin to all lifts that involve squatting, picking weight off the floor, and supporting weight overhead . Because of this, your weak upper back may be holding you back from bigger deadlifts. There are a few ways you can correct the upper back issue:
Heavy, high-rep Olympic high pulls
Putting high rep high pulls in your training will do wonders for building thick traps and a strong upper back, especially snatch high pulls. As far as muscle growth on the upper back is concerned, you get about the same effect from a high pull as the actual lift, but the benefit of the high pull is you can use more weight.