Exercise unpacked #8: Deadlifting Technique

Deadlifting technique can feel like a golf swing. Once you add in a new cue or movement, you can feel like you lose something else. This is why the lift is a fantastic physical and mental challenge.

The key to deadlifting is core strength. Without proper endurance of the core muscles, you cannot transfer force from your legs through to the hands, which are carrying weight. To help maximise this contraction, it helps to take a deep breath and contract your abdominals as hard as your can. If done properly, you will feel very rigid. The challenge with deadlifting is holding this contraction through the movement and through multiple repetitions. It helps to take a breath in between reps and re activate the abdominals.

The deadlift is a leg dominant exercise. Picture yourself with a tight upper back and core, and just stand up! Simple in nature, but without this thought process, sometimes the body will lift with the back extending rather than a PUSH from the legs. If you feel a lot of lower back fatigue, this could be the reason.

When setting up for a deadlift, you want to make sure the bar is located under your shoulder blades ( a phone camera recording from a spare shoe will help here ). You want the bar to move straight upwards from this position. For some people, a higher hip position or a lower hip position may be needed, adjust this accordingly. As long as the bar doesn’t swing forward or backward through the movement, you have started at the best position.

If you are plateauing with your deadlift numbers, make sure you are undertaking an appropriate loading program. On the side of this, exercises focussing on the posterior chain (gluteal, hamstrings and back) are transferrable to the deadlift. A lot of squatting exercises are also very beneficial, as you use your core + glutes and quads.

The deadlift is great for overall strength of the body and when done effectively, is GOOD for the back and is a lot of fun when hitting goal weights.