Arguably one of the most intimidating exercises there is, the deadlift is a compound lift that requires you to lift as much weight from the floor as you can in one go. It is considered the truest test of strength around so inherently see’s people stretching (literally) their limits in order to clock up a new best total.
The nature of deadlifting see’s people performing questionable form in the pursuit of a new PB, the deadlift is one of the main causes of injury in the gym environment, so try these 3 tips to fine tune your deadlifting technique and performance.
NOTE: If you’re happy with your deadlifting then please carry on as you are, these recommendations are just some suggestions from my experience in Sports Science and tips I was given from Commonwealth Champion Powerlifters.
1.) Bring your feet in a little closer: Most people will place their feet at shoulder width apart when addressing a deadlift. Try bringing your feet in a little, just so that they’re inside shoulder width. Make sure the bar is tight up against your shins, and you will notice that you are forced to drive through your legs which should limit the strain on your lower back.
2.) Hold your breath: With many exercises including bench press, it is advised that you inhale on the negative phase of the lift i.e. lowering the bar to your chest. However, with the deadlift you need to maintain intra-abdominal pressure throughout the whole movement, consequently you should take a deep breath right before you start the lift, finally exhaling once the weight is on the floor. Don’t exhale as you lower it because you may lose that intra-abdominal pressure and in turn lose lower back tension, this might lead to the rounding of the back and a bulged disk!
3.) Alternate grip: If you currently hold the deadlift bar with an overhand or underhand grip, then try changing it up to an overhand AND an underhand grip. This causes you to ‘push pull’ the bar, enabling you to hold onto the bar more securely, which is key, because your grip will normally give up before your back will.
Try these small, subtle changes the next time you deadlift, but for goodness sake listen to your body and respect your limitations. You only get one body after all!