As an exercise that works and strengthens the entire body, the deadlift offers the most value for each repetition.
While it may seem too difficult from the outside, the deadlift is one of the most fun and most rewarding exercises you can do at the gym.
For many, deadlifting has become an incredibly pleasurable activity because there’s no other feeling as rewarding as it is to rip a heavy barbell off the floor.
With that said, let’s take a look at why the deadlift is so beneficial and how to go about lifting more weight.
Why Deadlifting Is Incredibly Beneficial For Your Physical Fitness
When it comes to full-body movements, nothing beats the deadlift. The exercise does an excellent job of training your entire posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back, and traps), as well as:
- Your forearms and grip strength;
- Your core muscles;
- Your quadriceps (front thigh muscles);
- Your shoulders and biceps;
The deadlift also builds whole-body strength, improves our posture, and makes us more functional and athletic.
Plus, despite what you may have heard about the deadlift, this exercise is incredibly safe so long as you perform it with proper technique. With that in mind, here are your three must-follow steps for nailing the perfect method:
Three Ways to Deadlift More Weight: Guaranteed
Here’s what you need to focus on if you want to build real deadlifting strength:
1/ Nail The Perfect Deadlift Technique: 5 Must-Follow Steps
Position Your Mid-Foot Under The Bar
The most important thing you need to remember when it comes to deadlift set-up is that you should align yourself to the barbell rather than aligning it to yourself.
This set-up might sound counterintuitive, but it makes the entire set-up much smoother and more streamlined.
So, place the barbell on your preferred spot for deadlifting and position your mid-foot under the bar. When looking down, the bar should be directly over the middle of your feet. There should be about one to 1.5 inches of distance between your shins and the bar.
Also, point your toes slightly outward.
Grip The Bar Just Outside Shin Width
Once you’ve aligned your feet, it’s time to bend forward and grab the bar just outside your shins. It would help if you also kept your knees unlocked but not bent at this point.
Don’t worry about keeping your back in a neutral position just yet. We’ll smooth this out in the following steps.
Also, make sure that you don’t shift the position of the barbell.
Bring Your Shins to The Bar
Once you’ve aligned your feet and your hands are on the bar, it’s time to bring your shins to the barbell. Again, don’t move the barbell – move your body toward it.
Once your shins are in contact with the bar, your hips will be at the right height for your specific anatomy and level of flexibility.
Bring Your Chest Out And Push Your Knees Against Your Elbows
Once you’ve finished the first three steps, you’ll be at the correct position, but your back will be rounded. This is why step four is so vital.
From this position, squeeze your chest out and bring your shoulder blades as far back as you can. This will flatten your back and squeeze the bar against your shins.
Also, straighten your arms and push your knees against your elbows.
Again, while squeezing your chest out, you mustn’t move the barbell back or forward. Only adjust your body to its position.
Lift and Lower The Bar In A Straight Line
This step might feel a bit uncomfortable and awkward at first because the barbell will be in contact with your shins.
The goal here is to lift the bar in a perfectly straight line from the bottom to the top. To finish the lift, squeeze your glutes and drive them forward as you simultaneously engage your back muscles.
At the top position, your hips and knees should be fully extended.
Once you’re at the top position, push your butt back as you’re lowering the bar and start bending your knees once the bar reaches your lower thighs.
2/ Incorporate Different Variations Of The Deadlift
The deadlift is a great exercise, but it’s also demanding, and it often takes longer for us to recover from it. So, performing the classic variation more than once per week might not be ideal for you.
But, nothing is to say that you can’t incorporate different variations of the exercise to increase the frequency and exposure to the movement pattern.
Here are two ideas:
- Rack or block pulls.
With this variation, the bar is elevated off the ground (usually at knee level), and you’re performing the top half of the exercise.
The variation is great because it builds your upper back strength while keeping your legs out of the movement.
- Romanian deadlifts.
The Romanian deadlift is an excellent exercise to perform with the conventional deadlift as it does a great job of emphasizing your rear thigh muscles (hamstrings) and glutes.
The primary difference is that you’re performing this exercise with almost fully straightened legs.
3/ Use a Weight Belt
Weight belts are incredibly useful pieces of equipment because they offer safety, increase intra-abdominal pressure, decrease the risk of injury, and boost our performance.
According to most studies on the matter, a decent weight belt, when used properly, will allow us to lift up to ten percent more weight. It’s not a huge amount, but that’s just from using a belt without changing anything else.
Now, it’s worth noting that the type of belt you get yourself is important. There are plenty of flimsy ‘bodybuilding’ and ‘fitness’ belts that don’t do much. It would help if you looked for a leather belt that is 9 to 13 mm thick and about 10 cm in width. Those seem to be the optimal dimensions that offer benefits for the deadlift without obstructing your movement or breathing.
Keep in mind that a new lifting belt will take some time to break-in, and it could cause some mild bruising at first.