By Kevin Leland
The dead-lift is a type of exercise where you lift a barbell weights off the floor. By doing dead-lifts you will be performing an excellent ‘whole body’ strength exercise. You will be strengthening a wide range of specific muscle groups in the upper and lower body: spinal erector muscles, gluteus maximus and hamstrings. This exercise also develops the lats (Latissimus Dorsi), and the traps (Trapezius) muscles. Developing your lats gives your back that V-look, which you can also see from the front. The dead-lift is an exercise designed to help strength train people who are interested in weight lifting competitions. It is one of three Power Lifting lifts, with squats and bench press.
It is important to dead-lift correctly to avoid injury. Stand in front of the bar with your feet spread the width of your shoulders. You may bend down to grip the bar, but do not lift in this position. You must bend your knees so that your thighs are parallel with the floor. Never bend down and lift with your hips, you will injure yourself that way. Your hands need to grip the bar securely. You must remember that your have smaller muscles in your hands than you do in the rest of your body. Your large muscle groups may be able to take the load, but your hands may not be able to if they are not gripping correctly.
The deadlift is meant to strengthen your core muscles; it is important that you do not lift with your arm muscles, because you can injure them. When the deadlift is executed correctly the bar will touch your thighs as you raise the bar. However, when you lift this dead weight off the floor, be sure that you do not let the bar hit your shins or your knees, because you could injure them, and it adds drag, if you are going for a max lift.
How should you grip the bar to dead-lift?
There are to types of hand grips to deadlift. One is called the overhand grip, and the other is called the alternate grip. To explain the overhand grip, you grip the bar with your palms facing in toward yourself. You will close the grip with both thumbs placed firmly under the bar. To explain the alternate grip, you will have one palm facing toward you and the other palm facing away from you. The thumb on the hand with the palm that is facing away from you will be firmly placed over the bar. Before lifting chalk your hands to get rid of any moisture on your hands. If you are unsure of your grip, you may place straps around the bar and lift the weight with the straps.
If you are a beginner at this exercise, be sure to work with a weight you can handle. You need to train your muscles to lift more weight. Start out with a manageable weight, and as you workout on a regular basis you can increase the weight to train your muscles. Working out with weights you can handle will help train your abs to take the weight. To have a strong back you need strong abdominal muscles. When you lift the bar, your back needs to be flat, no bowed. Keep your chin and eyes upwards, and arch your back. Never let your back bow outwards. Keep it as straight as possible. Your thighs should be as parallel to the floor as you can manage. Now lift with a smooth fluid motion. Hold your stance for a second and release the weight back to the floor.
If you want some tips by a master, you’ll find these suggestions, in this DVD by Pavel, (who tends to say ‘comrade’ a lot!) very helpful:
Pavel will help you improve your dead-lift as well as your squat and bench. Many of the techniques he shows in this DVD are about stretching the hip flexors, which for today’s masses, are usually way to tight because we are always sitting. This DVD is aimed at experienced strength athletes, so it isn’t beginners guide to how to do dead lifts or the other two powerlifting moves. Those instructions can be found easily enough in articles and posts online, like this one. Pavel cautions us repeatedly, to allow time for the stretching. It is imperative that a good amount of time is spent stretching before any workout to avoid injury.
- Don’t forget your Deadlifts! (pmorgantraining.com)
- 2 New Favorite Deadlift Variations (haroldgibbons.com)
- The Top 5 Best Hamstring Exercises (projectswole.com)
- Deadlift: The Best Exercise you’re Not Doing! (allinfitnessnj.wordpress.com)
- How to Master the Deadlift (caseywilson-thenut.com)
- Workout Routine – Home Warrior Workout (fatherlessfitness.com)
- The Benefits Of The Sumo Deadlift (benefitsofdeadlifts.com)
- The Top 5 Best Back Exercises (projectswole.com)