Fundamental Exercises: Deadlift November 7, 2007Posted by Matt Brown in Strength.
The OTHER lower body exercise. In addition to probably being the oldest lift in the world, tests of strength in ancient cultures probably involved lifting stones, it is also a fantastic workout for all the muscles of the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, calves and lower back), muscles which play a dominant role in many athletic activities, such as running and jumping. Like other lifts, there are some myths about the deadlift, mainly concerning its safety or supposed lack thereof. These myths probably originated from idiots who walked into the gym, wanted to be like Arnold and lifted way more than they were ready to do. Performed correctly, the deadlift is a safe, effective lower body exercise.
Step one: Place feet shoulder width apart, shins either touching or within an inch from the bar. Hands are slightly more than shoulder width apart and in an up-down grip; one palm facing towards you, the other facing away. Your knees are bent so that your thighs are parallel with the ground. Keep your back straight at about a 45 degree angle, your abs tight and your anus clenched (Trust me on this, especially if your lifting heavy weights.)
Step 2: Begin to lift the weight up, moving your entire lower body in unison. Keep the arms straight as you move up. This is not an arm exercise. Make sure not to let the angle of you back drop towards parallel. This will place most of the strain on your back muscles, which is a great way to hurt yourself. Starring at a point on the wall above you will help to keep the back straight.
Step 3: As you come up to a full standing position, straighten you back so that you are standing straight up. If your shoulders are rounded forward, pull them back. When you finish, you should be standing straight with the bar resting against your quads.
Step 4: In a controlled manner, bring the bar back to the ground. Do not drop the bar as most gyms will kick you out for ruining there floors like that. Also, be sure to keep the back straight all the way down. It is still very possible to hurt yourself during the descent.
There you have it. The deadlift. What I have outlined here is just the basic model. There are numerous variations to this lift; sumo, Romanian, etc. Once you’ve got the basics down, experiment, find the one that works best for you.