In-Depth: The Deadlift

In Depth: The Deadlift from Steve Bechtel on Vimeo.

The deadlift is pure strength. There is no cheating the range of motion – you pull from the ground and you don’t dare stop until you are standing. Although it works the legs, it is primarily a “posterior chain” exercise, taxing the hamstrings, glutes, and muscles of the low back. For building pure total body strength, no exercise comes close. The stance should be shoulder width apart or slightly narrower with your toes slightly kicked outward or neutral. The hips should be above your knees and your shoulders above your hips. The shins should be vertical and the barbell should be touching your shins. The grip is outside your stance, somewhere around shoulder width apart. The head, neck, and spine are neutral. Before you lift, take the “slack” out of the bar. This means tense your whole body like you’re going to lift the bar, but don’t. Have a proud chest, squeeze the barbell, flex your lats, and fire your glutes. As you pull the barbell up your shins, the hips and shoulders rise simultaneously while keeping a neutral spine. At the top, completely lock out the deadlift my squeezing your glutes and your quads. Reverse the movement and once the barbell gets past your knees you can drop it to the floor.