The Greatest Deadlift Tips for Beginners
These deadlift tips will help you not make the same mistakes I have in my pursuit of deadlifting. I have scraped my shins up, hurt my lower back, got tennis elbow and strained my hamstrings just so you do not have to make the same deadlifting mistakes.
These are the most important deadlift tips I have learned over the last six years. Many of my injuries because of listening to gym ‘experts’ could have been avoided. Every injury cost more time away from the deadlift. So always use lighter weight to perfect your deadlift form, and then gradually add weight as you get stronger.
- I have learned that it is real important to keep your feet fairly narrow. Think of the stance you would take to jump as high as possible.
- This jump stance is how wide you want your feet to be, so you can exert maximum force against the floor.
- Narrower than shoulder width or just shoulder width so that you have room for your arms at your side.
- You must wear proper deadlift shoes, which are as flat, close to the ground and as stable as possible.
- Do NOT wear normal gym or running shoes which have a flexible compressive rubber sole.
- You do not want your foot to be shifting around, you need absolute firm and stable support.
- Eye up the barbell over your instep, smack in the middle of the foot.
- A good cue is that you should see the barbell directly over the laces of your deadlift shoes.
- For this reason, it is better to wear shorts with deadlift socks than long deadlift pants.
- If you lift with proper deadlift form, you will not be afraid of scraping your shins doing deadlifts.
- A good pair of deadlift socks, shin guards or shin sleeves is adequate shin protection.
- Bend down to the bar by first pushing your hips back, and then lowering your arms to the barbell.
- Do not squat down, keep your hips up, remember, the deadlift is not a squat.
- Take a firm double overhand grip on the barbell with your arms just outside of your legs. At least for warm up, use the double overhand grip. Some prefer a mixed grip for heavier weights to prevent the bar from rotating.
- Keep your elbows straight and locked. Do not bend your elbows.
- You do not lift the bar with your arms, your arms are like hooks stabilizing the barbell.
- Raise your chest, this will flatten your back. Keep your back as straight and tight as possible.
- You must keep your back neutral. You must never leave your back rounded or loose.
- Your entire core should be tight before you start lifting the weight.
- Tighten your core by taking a deep breath and holding it. When the weight you lift increases, use a weight lifting belt.
- Start the deadlift by pushing your feet against the floor. This will help you raise the weight off the floor without using your lower back. Just use your leg drive to get lift the weight off the floor.
- Think leg press, a vertical or reverse leg press. The same way that you do a leg press, push the floor with your feet to start the deadlift.
- Keep the barbell close to your body and the barbell will glide up your shins.
- When the barbell gets up to your knees, drive your hips forward to complete the deadlift.
- You will feel as if you are pulling the weight back, dragging the weight up your shins, and pulling the weight back using your back and hip drive.
- Stand up tall, but do not arch your back, just stand up straight.
- Now push your hips back again and let the weight lower the same way you did the deadlift off the floor.
- Do NOT bounce the weight off the floor for another rep. Do not let the barbell fall to the floor like a bomb.
- Put the weight down as lightly as possible without creating a ton of noise. A deadlift is a lift of dead weight, not a bounce off the floor.
- Old school experts will tell you to bounce the weight off the floor so you can do more reps.
- Don’t be that guy or girl or creates noise chaos in the gym by bouncing or dropping your barbell.
- Set the weight down and set up again for a deadlift with perfect form from a complete dead weight still position.
- If you bounce the weight off the floor, you could end up with lateral epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow.
- Get stronger gradually and with the best deadlift form possible.
- Deadlift every day with light weights. 3 sets of 8 repetitions is enough for a great deadlift workout.
- For deadlifting every day, you can use 50 to 70 percent of your estimated one rep max deadlift.
- Once a week do heavy deadlifts, where your work set is closer to 80 – 90 percent of your estimated one rep max.
- For a heavy deadlifting day, you can do 2 sets of 8 reps using 80 – 90 percent of your 1 rep max.
- Review these deadlift tips in your mind and imagine yourself getting progressively stronger on your deadlift.
If you violate deadlift tip number 31, don’t be surprised if someone from the gym who is having a bad day does the following:
Deadlifts – The King of all Exercises
What are the best deadlift tips for the King of all exercises? Some will say squats and some will say deadlifts are the king. Because both squats and deadlifts work so many muscles of your body at the same time. No matter which opinion is correct, deadlifts are an amazing tool to help make your body lean and strong.
When I first started deadlifting in June of 2012, I started out with the 45lb bar alone. Gradually I added weight using bumper plates which allow you to keep a proper deadlift height of the barbell as you get stronger. In December of 2012, I was able to do one deadlift of 175lbs after 5 sets of deadlifts. A bigger part of the story is that between June and December of 2012, I took off 75 pounds and 18 inches from my waist.
Now my one rep max deadlift is 205 pounds. Sure, not a big increase in weight, but who cares? I am 61 and in better shape than when I was 55. At 55, I was pushing 275 pounds with high blood pressure, near type 2 diabetes and a 50 inch waist. Yesterday at a physical, my weight is 175 pounds, normal a1c levels and blood pressure of 100/68.
I credit the Ten Rules of the HM FIT Rx formula I have used the past 6 years:
- Eat Real Food
- Get Good Sleep
- Drink Enough Water
- Take a Complete Rest at least One Day a Week
- Do Deadlifts
- Do Squats
- Do Pushups and/or Bench Press
- Start Moving Every Day – Walk and/or run/do the elliptical/swim/jump rope for at least 30 minutes a day
- Think Good Thoughts
- Speak the Words that You Want Your Life to Resemble
Deadlift Tips for Breathing
You must take a deep breath before beginning the lifting phase of your deadlift. You want your body to be tight. Wearing a weightlifting belt when the poundage gets heavier is a good deadlift tip. Because the belt will help you create intra-abdominal pressure. And force you to feel how your deep breath makes your body tighter.
Do not exhale while you are standing up. Take a deep breath before your deadlift and leg press against the floor, drive your hips, drag and pull the weight to a standing position. Then you can exhale when you are just about at the top. Breathe normally and lower the weight to the floor. Never drop the weights like the weightlifter above and of course never kick a barbell out of a lifters hands cause you don’t like the noise. The guy who went ballistic was kicked out of the gym as well.
You can do squats and deadlifts on the same day, but you will need a lot of time if you are lifting heavy. Therefore, a good practice is to limit your heavy squats, deadlifts and bench presses to one day a week. For heavy lifts you will need more rest time between sets. But for lighter lifting days, you can minimize your rest between sets to help you get toned and ripped.
Deadlifts have not just been useful physically, and along with squats, I think they have added the most in terms of helping to transform my body from one with zero muscle to at least a little muscle.
But also figuratively, meaning I think one can become not just physically stronger from deadlifting, but emotionally as well.
When you see that you have the ability to keep getting stronger and deal with heavier weights, it can give you more confidence that we can do the same thing with all of the emotional challenges that we all face, be they small or large.
I hope you find these deadlift tips useful to perfect your deadlift and change your body into the physique that you want.
Read more about the remarkable benefits of deadlifts here.
Let’s keep the conversation going, what are your favorite deadlift tips?