The benefits of deadlifts
“The conventional deadlift and its many variations should be a staple in everyone's training,” says Pap, who has teamed up with headphones favourite Jaybird to host the Byron Bay Active Escape retreat – a week (December 8th-14th) of fitness, food and chill time in early December.
“The deadlift assists in key areas that also have real world applications, hence why it’s often referred to as a ‘functional’ movement. Deadlifts can be performed with numerous intentions, from developing balance and explosive speed to increasing neural recruitment, hypertrophy and total strength or power.”
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What’s key, though? Getting your form on point, so you can perform a deadlift safely and well. Good job we’ve got you covered. Ready to lift?
1. Prep your form
“You need to be aware of your ability to assume the starting position from the floor before even thinking of loading the movement,” says Pap. “This includes understanding how to create tension within your position before lifting and awareness of your breath during the movement.”
The checklist to work through when you’re doing a deadlift:
- Stand above the weight or mid foot under the barbell.
- Feet under hips with even distribution of weight throughout the heel, and knuckle of the big and small toe.
- Grip the bar with hands positioned underneath shoulders and elbows flushed on the outside of knees.
- Before lifting, brace your trunk by taking and holding a breath throughout your diaphragm. This creates intra-abdominal pressure, which assists in keeping the spine neutral under load.
- Pull lats downwards towards lower back, and load hips and hamstring by pressing/externally screwing your feet into the floor. Keep your neck neutral. You should feel greater stability and be further grounded.
- Simultaneously push your feet into the floor and pull the bar into a stand-up position. There should be no delayed jerking within the initial lift, as the tension was created through assuming the initial lifting position.
- Bar travels in a straight line as close to body as possible both in the up and downward phase.
- Exhale when descending the bar down, allow the weight to drop to the ground.
- Reset brace and repeat.
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2. Watch out for common mistakes
Guilty of any of the below? Chat to a fitness pro, who can help you with form if you’re ever unsure.
- Retracting or pulling back the shoulder blades, rather than pulling them downwards toward the lower back.
- Not having tension within the shoulder complex, lats, midline, hips, hamstrings and feet on the initial lift of the bar.
- Seeing the deadlift as only a pull and not also a push exercise.
- Forgetting the importance of inhaling moments before the lift, and exhale on the descent.