Brian Parker | HealthGreatness

Deadlifts are becoming one of the most popular exercises to perform on a weekly basis, and is just behind squats in popularity. The reason why is because the deadlift is a multiple joint focused exercise, which basically means a lot of muscles are being used during the movement. This is the desired affect you want because it allows muscle hypertrophy (growth), fat loss, and release of hormones that are beneficial for training.

However, with these benefits comes the possibility of injuring your body. The deadlift is easy to perform improperly without proper understanding of how to improve your deadlift.

1. Keep Your Spine Straight

This is referred to as maintaining a neutral spine position, which simply means your spine needs to be vertically straight from top to bottom. When your allow your chest to fall forward too far your lower back begins to “round”. This means your spine is unnaturally curved and supporting the resistance being pulled. You have to practice keeping your back straight throughout the entire movement. A lifting belt comes in handy if you have difficulties with this task.

2. Wear Flat Soled Shoes with Minimal Padding

Normally you don’t want to go barefoot at the gym for sanitary and safety reasons, so you should choose flat soled shoes with little to no cushion. This allows you to keep your feet as close to the ground as possible, which allows more force output and provides stability. Cushioned shoes distribute the weight unevenly and can throw you off balance.

3. Breathe In. Breathe Out.

Proper breathing patterns are vital for all athletes and sports enthusiasts. But for some reason many of people neglect this basic fundamental. Your deadlift will improve significantly through proper use of inhaling and exhaling. Breathe in as you lower the bar, and breathe out as your pull the weight. This activates your diaphragm, which is highly effective for spinal stability and energy release [2].

4. Try Different Grip Techniques

Think about it. You’re pulling heavy weight directly from the floor with a bar. You have to be able to hold this weight or bad things occur. Try using the mixed grip first, which is one hand faces away from your body while the other faces in. Then you can try supinated (palms away) or pronated (palms in). Find what works best to have a strong grip.

5. Wear Proper Clothing

You want to wear clothes that are not going to restrict your ability to squat down and pull the weight. Tight sweat pants can become an issue, so try wearing shorts or loose-legged sweat pants.

You have your tips for improvement, so go hit the weights!