Top 5 Tips for a Better Deadlift

The deadlift is one exercise that I believe everyone needs to have in their fitness repertoire. It is very simple & basically just involves picking a barbell up from the ground & setting it back down (although it is slightly more involved than that). Indeed, we have even talked about deadlifting before on FitnessPlus in a long ago post that covers the difference between conventional, sumo, & Romanian lifts (I strongly urge you to go check it out).

The reason why the deadlift is such a great exercise is because it is simple & effective. It only requires a barbell & it works your entire body from your arms to your core to your legs (especially your legs). Better yet, it is a natural exercise – what is more natural than a human picking something heavy up off the ground?

Unfortunately, the deadlift is one of the exercises that is performed incorrectly the most often. Your best bet if you are learning to deadlift is to hire a Personal Trainer to show you how. In addition to improving your safety, having a little one-on-one time with a Personal Trainer will help you get the very most fitness benefits from all of your training.

Keep the five tips below in mind while learning to deadlift as well. These tips will all help you deadlift better.

1. It’s Not a “Dead Squat”


Many people – even professionals – think of the deadlift as a squat with a barbell in your hands. This is not true at all. There are significant differences in the technique & body positioning behind the lifts. Using standard squat technique during a deadlift is dangerous & could lead to injury. You need to learn proper deadlift technique, stick with it during your deadlifts, & reserve a different technique for squats.

2. Focus on the Hips


The movement of the hips, sometimes known as the hip hinge, during the deadlift is crucial to an effective deadlift. This is basically the part of the exercise where you push your hips back. A lot of people that use squat-like technique & movement for the deadlift don’t perform the hip movement properly. Ask your Personal Trainer to point out exactly how you can improve this part of your technique. It will make your deadlift much more powerful.

3. Keep a Solid Back


It really kills me when I see people deadlifting with rounded backs. In addition to bad technique, having a rounded back during the deadlift is a huge no-no for your spine. If you keep lifting this way, your spine will eventually get hurt. Make sure to attain upper back stiffness whenever you are deadlifting by keeping your chest tall & engaging your lats. This is another area that a Fitness Coach should be able to help you. Practice, with the right technique & low weight, is much better than practice with poor technique & high weight.

4. Remove Your Shoes


I see plenty of awesome deadlifters wearing their training shoes while performing the exercise. It doesn’t hinder them. However, I firmly believe that most of us can benefit by taking our shoes off. Deadlifting without shoes is a great way to improve your technique (shoes make you slightly taller & barefoot allows you to sit back on your heels more). Minimalist shoes like Chuck Taylors are a great alternative to actually slipping the shoes off.

5. Singles, Singles, Singles


Form is God when it comes to deadlifting. There is no point in doing high reps if you sacrifice form. You are best with sticking at around 5 reps at a time. In fact, even experienced deadlifters tend to stick with only around 1 to 5 reps at a time. Working in this range, even just doing singles, allows you to hone in on your technique. You can also move to heavier loads & do each rep as close to perfect as you possible can.

Start Deadlifting Today!


Deadlifting can be intimidating. It seems like an exercise only reserved for the super inshape. Those muscled up guys grunting over there in the corner. But, in reality, it is a great exercise for everyone to learn.

If you need help, then remember to ask for help! Find a Personal Trainer or ask your gym’s trainer for help getting you started. Then start small with low weight & focus on technique first. Watch others at the gym who deadlift with the proper technique & mimic them.

Before long, you will be deadlifting your way to fitness success! The deadlift is one of the best ways to get stronger – the right way.