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Guide to Deadlifting

MuscleMecca Crew

MuscleMecca Crew

MuscleMecca Crew
May 11, 2012
If you're looking for the one move that brings together everyone that has ever hit the gym, from bodybuilders to powerlifters and even complete novices, then it should be deadlifting.

Being the best of all compound exercises, it's difficult for any other type of weight lifting to replace deadlifting in gaining muscle, strength building, and building your core balance.

However, many people avoid deadlifting because they fear that it'll cause them an injury due to their poor form or fear of not being able to lift properly and sustaining an injury in the process. But you see, it's a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength that his body is capable of.

In light of this, it's essential to understand the techniques behind deadlifting to benefit maximally from it. Think about it; no other exercise builds all your muscles at once like deadlifting. Picking up the iron from the floor requires you to have a strong core balance, and strength in the arms, shoulders, and back. It deals with your whole body, and the more weight you lift, the better the structure of your body.

This article will serve as an ultimate guide to everything you need to know about deadlifting. At the end of this article, you'll discover the safer, healthier, and happier way of deadlifting. Read on.

How to Deadlift​

The first step to becoming a pro at deadlifting within a short time is understanding the basic concepts and techniques behind the exercise.

  • Stand with your feet under the bar, and allow your toes to protrude beneath the barbell slightly. Then crouch and grasp the iron rod with both hands, leaving enough space in between that's at least shoulder-width wide.

  • While you're in that position, ensure your chest maintains an upward position, with your shoulders pulled back, and keep a straight face. Yes! A straight face where you're looking neither up nor down but straight ahead.

  • Drag the bar upward, in proximity to your legs, but don't let your shins obstruct the bar in the process. While lifting the bar, allow the weight of the dumbbell to fall on your heels and not your toes.

  • Pull the bar up to your thigh level, take a pause, then return the dumbbell slowly to the ground, while maintaining the position you used in picking it up.

  • While the dumbbell is on the floor, check if your body is still maintaining the right posture; remember, chest up, shoulders back, and a straight face, then pick it up again for another rep.

The Ultimate Guide to Deadlifting​

Many professional dead lifters have been before now, and it's either they're gods or they've got some tricks up their sleeves for some of them to pull half a tonne. If they've got some tricks up their sleeve, then those tricks are about to be revealed to you. Here is everything you need to know as you feel that adrenaline rush pass through you when you approach the bar.
  • Foot positioning​

As simple as foot positioning looks, many people that try out deadlifting always have a problem with incorrect foot positioning. Before you lift that dumbbell, ensure that the bar stays in the middle of your feet– let the bar be in the middle of your heels and your toes.

Also, make sure your feet are kept straight in the same direction, without one facing other directions. In the same vein, there should be a distance between your legs, say a shoulder-width space. If you maintain this foot position, you'd find that you can drag the weight off the floor easily.

All too often, you hear people say that before you can deadlift, you must have a straight back. Well, that isn't always true. A rounded back works better than a straight back; it's all about conditioning your body to hold that roundness. But for starters, begin with smaller weights and release your back to form a round shape. This will prepare you for heavier weights.

However, if you're keeping your back to the point where it feels like you're about to break your spine, then you're doing it the wrong way. Note that you can only get to master this round-back posture with the right foot positioning.
  • Head positioning​

Head positioning boils down to whatever position you're comfortable with. Some may choose to look down the bar, others may choose to look up, but for professionalism, keeping your head looking straight ahead is the best head positioning. If you look around too much, you tend to focus more on what's going on around you than what's before you.
  • Hand positioning​

Keep your hands on the bar with as much space as possible between them. For you to have a better grasp of the bar and lift comfortably, keep your hands at least an inch apart from your shins on both sides. Although the space in between is quite wide, that's how you lift like a pro without the weight affecting your stability.
Also, ensure you have a firm grip on the bar in your palms to prevent injuries like a tear in your biceps.
  • Breathing​

Your breathing also affects and facilitates the way you lift. It's okay to inhale lightly while pulling the bar off the ground, but holding your breath all through the process is better. By avoiding deep and heavy breathing, you're ensuring your body has enough stability.
  • The Pull​

This is the easiest part of deadlifting, but it can be the most difficult at times. Once you're in all the right positions, the pull becomes very easy. Just pull it up to your thigh level, take it back down, and repeat the process.
  • Supportive gear​

As a beginner, it's most advisable that you train with supportive gear. Also, if you're preparing to lift a half-tonne, you'll need supportive gear. Wearing a belt before lifting heavy weights ensures that your body is supported. But down the line, as you become better at deadlifting, you can begin to do away with supportive gears. That way you're building an all-around strength and improving your stability.

How Many Sets and Reps Should you Do?​

Everyone is different from each other in the gym. You could be the only novice in the gym at the time of your training, so do not compare your strength with others. Your workout plan should be suited to you, you'll end up hurting yourself if you copy others.

Below is a rough guide to how many sets and reps you should do according to your level.

  • Beginner: 4 sets of 6 reps

  • Intermediate: 3 sets of 5 reps.
  • Advanced: 5 sets of 5 reps.

What Weight Should You Be Lifting?​

Do you want to know the weight you should be lifting? Then you'd need to work out your one-rep max. Below is a basic guide to knowing the weight you should lift.

  • First, discover the heaviest weight you can lift about 4-6 times. Having done that, work with this equation : (4.6RM X1.1307) + 0.6998.

  • If you're able to lift 5 reps of 60kg then by working with the formula – (60 x 1.1307) + 0.6999, you should be able to lift 68.5kg per 1RM

  • Now you're informed about your 1RM, which means you can plan out how much you can lift. If you lift 50% of your 1RM, it builds your muscles, but lifting 70% of your RM builds endurance.

Do Deadlifts Cause Injuries?​

Deadlifting cannot guarantee a total lack of injury, but that only happens when you don't play it safe. As with any other exercise, you are liable to sustain an injury if you're not in proper shape or if you exceed your limits.

To avoid unsolicited injuries, start small. Start by lifting light weights, then advance gradually to the heavy stuff. Research has it that deadlifting is recommended for people with low back pain, but that depends on how much pain they're feeling.

The best way to avoid sustaining an injury is to stretch; not any hardcore form of stretching, just simple stretches to ease the muscles.

How many times a week should you deadlift?​

You should know that you can't build all your muscles within the space of a week or even a month. It requires constant consistency. You can deadlift once a week to build your strength and muscles. As you improve, you can repeat the exercise twice a week till you get better and in good shape.


Deadlifting is a good way to build your muscles and endurance, and maintain a core balance. It's time to stop shying away from deadlifting because, contrary to popular belief that it causes injuries, deadlifting is also used for rehabilitation. Some doctors recommend that some of their patients with lower back pain engage in deadlifting.

Hit the gym today, pick up that bar and experience the different feeling of building muscle in all the areas of your body all at once. It's a gradual process and with time you can be like other legendary dead lifters.
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