How to Deadlift

How to Deadlift: Top 5 tips

The Deadlift is often referred to as the KING of all exercises. Primarily because it involves so many muscles but also because the bigger your deadlift the more of a BEAST you are!

This KING exercise does take some learning to perfect the movement though - and it is crucial to perfect the movement before you start loading on massive weights.

Purpose of the movement:

The deadlift is the key to developing a strong 'posterior chain' (back), often the area of the body that gets neglected in the gym. Majority of people that are always sitting at a desk or in a car are developing poor posture - forward head, slouched shoulders, a rounded spine and no butt. Mastering the deadlift will help to strengthen up and eliminate these issues.

Basically the aim of the movement is to pull/rip the weight up off the ground with the intention to move it quickly and put/throw it back down again.

Muscles involved:

As mentioned above there are so many muscles involved in the deadlift, the major muscle groups are:

  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Quadriceps
  • Lower back

Obviously other muscles play a role but these listed above are the key movers. The image on the right goes into more specific detail.

Equipment needed:

The key things you will need to perform the deadlift:

  • barbell
  • plates
  • a floor
  • weight plate collar

Optional extra equipment:

  • knee sleves/wraps
  • weightlifting belt
  • weightlifting shoes/flat shoes
  • barbell jack
  • weightlifting platform

The Hip Hinge

Before we can look at picking the bar up off the ground. We need to master the crucial 'hip hinge' movement. During the deadlift the hips are the main mover - everything happens from the hips - hinging at the hips. The hip hinge involves the butt going backwards. Instead of sitting down (like a squat) we want to sit backwards. Keeping a neutral spine and big chest throughout the hinge, the butt moves backwards and thrusts back through to the start position. Practice this movement holding a piece of dowel on your back. Keeping it in contact with your head and tail bone - sit your butt backwards and then snap hips back through to the start position.

Step by Step guide:

  1. Ensure all of the equipment is set up correctly
  2. Foot placement - approx shoulder width apart and with the middle of your foot lining up under the middle of the bar.
  3. Grip - just outside of shoulder width on the outside of your legs, can use either over hand or mixed grip
  4. From the bottom position - sit back slightly with the chest over the bar
  5. Nice big chest (neutral spine) - if performing in front of a mirror you will be able to see the logo on your chest at all times.
  6. The bar will remain in contact with your body at all times - running up your shins and thigh (some say if your shins aren't bleeding at the end of the session you didn't try hard enough)
  7. Pulling the weight from the floor - keep the big chest and stand up tall remembering the hip hinge movement we practiced earlier.
  8. Lock hips through at the top position
  9. Control the weight back down - or if using bumper plates you can just drop from the top position.
  10. If you can't maintain the big chest (neutral spine) when pulling from the floor - start off some blocks or the safety bars in a rack (rack pull) most beginners will start from here.

Top 5 Tips:

  1. Master the hip hinge
  2. Start nice and close to the bar
  3. Keep a big chest throughout the movement
  4. Snap hips through at top position
  5. Always have the intention to move the weight quickly


You now have all of the knowledge required to master the deadlift. This is a must have exercise in any training program it is the KEY to strong hamstrings and strong glutes and yes girls you should be deadlifting! Start ripping the weight up off the floor with this great technique and you will be a BEAST in no time.

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