Muscles Worked: Lower Back primarily & every muscle in the body
Spotter Required: No
Minimum Equipment required: Standard Barbell with weights
The Best Equipment to Use: 7ft Olympic barbell with Olympic weights
Warming up: If deadlift is the first exercise in your workout you must ensure you warm-up, see my section on warming up with weights. If deadlift is not your first exercise you can start with your working set.
How often should I perform this exercise: Deadlift is a compound movement and works every muscle in the body. Deadlift is the hardest and best exercise you can do, so it should be performed at least once a week, if like me you do an upper/lower body split routine then you should include deadlifts as part of your lower body routine.
When should I perform this exercise: Deadlift works every muscle in the body, therefore it takes a lot of physical and mental energy to perform 3 or 4 sets with a heavy weight. For this reason it should be performed first or near the start of your workout, when you have the most energy.
How to do the exercise: With the barbell loaded on the floor, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, roll the barbell towards you so that it’s touching your shins.
Now, hold the barbell with one palm facing you and the other palm facing away from you, you should be gripping the bar with a grip slightly wider than your shoulders. Now, begin to squat down to the starting position, where your knees are at a 90 degree angle, keeping your back straight and your head neutral with your spine.
Begin to lift the weight, keeping your back straight, driving through your heels, your head neutral with your spine and the barbell as close to your body as possible throughout the movement. As you reach the top immediately lower the weight back to the floor using strict control. The weight must touch the floor on every repetition, if you stop just before the weight touches the floor you are not doing deadlift properly!
Tips: Deadlift is a tough workout to master, don’t be tempted to overload the barbell and sacrifice form, doing so could cause serious injury to your lower spine. If you have an old back injury (especially a lower back injury), make sure you wear a weightlifting belt tightly around your waist.
Make sure you wear very flat shoes or no shoes at all, keeping your feet flat on the floor gives you the most power and control to drive the weight up. When performing deadlift just remember that the power comes from your back and legs, do not try to use your arms & shoulders to pull the barbell up.
Mentality: Deadlift takes a lot of physical energy, the key to a successful deadlift is driving up through the heels and using your lower back to lift the weight.