The deadlift tends to be a staple in a lot of my programs.
Here are 9 tips to help you improve this movement.
1- Start with the bar as close to the shins as possible. Most people start with the bar too far away from them, even from the start positing. Thus, this usually leads to the upper back rounding and the hips/glutes rising at faster rate than the bar itself.
2- Keep the upper back tight. A good way to practice this is to use a snatch grip, which is essentially I very wide grip. It’s almost impossible to not keep your upper back tight, while using this grip. Once you have mastered how this feels, switch back to your regular dead lift grip.
3- Keep your glutes back, and contracted. This is one point in particular I need to keep reminding myself of. A lot of people try and deadlift how they squat. Essentially, their glutes start to low, meaning the glutes often rise up too quickly. Keep your glutes pushed back and contracted throughout the movement.
4- There are a few grip variations. Personally I am a fan of the Olympic style grip, one hand under and one hand over. This possibly puts you at a greater chance of a bicep tear but most tend to be a lot stronger with this grip. A quick note on that grip, try alternate which hand is under and which hand is over after each set otherwise you will become imbalanced. The typical overhand grip is another good choice too.
I like to use straps. The purest may say you shouldn’t use straps. But I’m not a power lifter, and I suspect you are not either. You will find you are considerably stronger with straps, than without.
5- Another common mistake I see. Especially with beginners is not keeping the bar close enough to their body when they deadlift. The problem starts initially with the bar not close enough to their shins when they start the lift, but after that you almost want to graze your shins as you’re pulling the bar up.
6- Breathing- Before you pull the weight, take a couple of big breaths and focus on pushing your abdominals out, as you pull the weight off the floor. This will help keep your back in a neutral position too.
7- Try not to look at the mirror- For some this tip may be harder than for others… . But in all seriousness, I have found from experience, by trying to look 6-8 feet in front of you at the floor, helps prevent your hips from rising too quickly in the lift.
8- As you’re pulling the weight off the floor, focus on squeezing the glutes and snapping the hips forward. Lock the hips out at the finish position (push your hips as far forward as possible at the finish position).
9- Finally, this is going to sound counter intuitive but, try focus on pushing your feet through the floor, this will help keep your glutes back and generally keep you in a more solid position.