The deadlift is another compound movement, and as a full body exercise it recruits the most amount of muscles and is therefore one of the best for changing total body composition and adding muscle.

Apart from being a great full body exercise, the deadlift works your posterior chain which includes your glutes and hamstrings as well as your back. So as well as building strong legs and glutes, it will also help work wonders for your posture – which is so important if you spend most of your day sitting in an office like the majority of us do!

However, a word of warning on the deadlift; when it comes to form this is one exercise where you don’t want to sacrifice form for an ego lift. This is something Munya, who was originally my PT, drilled into me when we first taught me the movement, explaining that poor lifts can result in back injuries including slipped discs. Despite thinking I understood this and was always careful, one day when I got too excited going for a PB I learn the lesson the hard way about respecting the deadlift. The result of this was a broken rib and a month off training, however it’s safe to say I have definitely learnt my lesson about always keeping strict form now!

If you missed the first post on squats or you’re just wanting to learn about deadlifts, please watch the first video on bracing and learn how to breathe properly through your diaphragm and brace your core. This is so important for injury free deadlifts!

Some tips to remember:

  • Before starting, check that you have the proper hip mobility to perform the lift. If you don’t, this will cause you to shift too much emphasis and pressure onto the back, which can lead to injury
  • Bracing to keep your core tight helps to prevent back injury, this is also why you will see people wearing belts
  • Take your time to learn the movement and technique properly before progressing with the weight

To perform:

  • Walk up to the bar, setting up with the bar over the middle of your feet
  • Bring your shins to the bar, bend forward and set up with a mixed grip (one hand over, one hand under) where ever it is comfortable for you. Also making sure your shoulder blades are over the bar
  • Take a deep breath and brace
  • Pull the slack out of the bar, which helps to engage the lats and create further torso tightness
  • Stand up, lifting the weight off the floor, exhaling as you come up. Think “leg pressing” the weight off the floor, rather just lifting the weight, as this will help you to focus on pushing the weight up with your legs rather than pulling with your back
  • Drive your hips forward to the bar at the top of the movement and squeeze your glutes!

Next up in the series are lunges!

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Sophie is the owner and creator of The Beautiful Existence. A Melbourne based self proclaimed nerd, gym junkie and lover of all things creative, tasty and well designed!

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