The deadlift is arguably one of the most effective exercises when it comes to increasing strength, building muscle, improving bone density, reducing the chance of chronic injury and boosting your metabolism! The reason being is that you target so many muscles in one single movement.
It isn’t the easiest exercise to get right, at least initially.
Performing this movement with poor form and execution can lead to stalled progress and the chance of lower back pain. However, with the correct technique and execution this can be easily avoided!
Here are the most common mistakes we see people make when deadlifting:
1 - Start position: You are either too far away or too close to the barbell before initiating the movement. This can lead to a change in your centre of mass which can place greater strain on your lower back!
Before initiating the movement ensure the barbell lines up with the middle of your foot or think “in line with the shoelaces”
2 - No brace and a rounded spine: Failing to brace limits the amount of core activation you get in this movement (reducing strength) and can lead to a rounded back which also increases the likelihood of you lifting with your back and not your lower body.
Before lifting the bar, take in a deep breath and brace. Retract your shoulder blades and engage your lats, creating a neutral spine. This creates tension throughout your whole body and gives you the strongest starting position!
3 - Not taking the ‘slack’ out of the bar: This can result in bent arms, yanking the bar, and limiting the engagement of your back and legs. Taking the slack out of the bar is a signal to our body that we are getting ready to exert force and lift a heavy object.
Get into your perfect starting potion and before lifting the bar off the floor you are going to gently lift it up until you feel tension in your whole body - you should even hear and feel the ‘slack’ being taken out of the bar.
4 - Hips shooting up first: This is a good sign that you are lifting with your lower back and not your legs/whole body. We want the hips and shoulders to rise at the same time.
A good way to reduce your hips lifting too early is taking the slack out of the bar before lifting and focus on pushing your knees outwards into your elbows - when you do this you should feel your glutes switch on which is going to help you generate leg drive when lifting.
5 - Squatting the weight instead of deadlifting: Often people will treat the deadlift like a squat which means excessive knee bend and minimal hip bend. The deadlift is a hip-hinge movement (which essentially means bending at the hip joint). This means we are bending when performing this movement not sitting down.
Focus on the hips beginning in a starting position which is slightly above parallel, which would be different if you were trying to squat.
Avoiding these common mistakes is a great way to speed up your progress and reduce the likelihood of injury! But, if you feel like you are making any of these mistakes don’t stress! The deadlift is definitely a movement which takes time to master. Speak to one of the 3PC coaches in your next class and they’ll be happy to walk you through how to avoid making these common mistakes.