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The Deadlift

Originally named the “health lift”, the deadlift is the foundation for all pulling lifts.

A picture-perfect deadlift.

The moment you are incapable of picking something up off of the ground with a neutral spine is the moment your quality of life begins to deteriorate. Don’t let this happen to you! As with all lifts, there is a proper set-up, execution, and finish. Let’s dive into the common faults and how to fix them. Set-Up When you set-up for a deadlift, you want a straight back, bar in the middle of the foot, shoulders slightly in front of the bar, and your knees slightly flexed.

Fault: Rounded spine.

In this first picture, the athlete’s back is rounded. Thinking about looking straight forward and pinching your shoulder blades together will activate your back muscles and protect your spine.

Fault: Shoulders behind the bar.

In this image, the athlete’s shoulders are not in front of the barbell. This is usually caused by sitting too deep into a squat. As you can see in the second frame, the trainer adjusts the athlete’s position so that her shoulders are slightly in front of the bar while maintaining a knee bend.

Fault: Hips too high.

Finally, this fault is a subtle one where the hips are too high. The issue with not flexing your knees and sinking your hips lower to the ground is that the deadlift changes from an exercise that taxes your entire lower body to an isolated movement at the hamstrings and low-back. Execution Setting up in the proper position is fairly easy. Maintaining correct positioning throughout the lift is hard. When deadlifting, you want to keep the bar in contact with your legs and raise your shoulders and hips simultaneously.

Fault: Bar comes too far out .

You can see in frames 2 and 3 above that the barbell starts to leave the center of the foot and come up on the toes. This will cause unnecessary pressure on the low back. Keep the bar up against your legs.

Fault: Hips rise without the use of the shoulders.

While the set-up is good in this position, the hips rise without the shoulders. This usually happens when an athlete is attempting to lift a near-maximum load.

Fault: Shoulders rise without the use of the hips.

This fault is similar to the one above it, except only this time the shoulders rise without the hips. The shoulders and hips should rise together.

Finish (or the Descent) Finally, the deadlift finishes with knees and hips extended in a straight line with the shoulders and elbows. On the way down, the deadlift should look identical to the way it did on the way up.

Fault: Hips don’t move back to initiate the descent.

This fault is a common one for novice lifters. You must initiate the descent first with your hips, then your knees. Now go out and practice the health-lift! Tyler WOD 2 Rounds For Time: 25 Deadlifts 25 Box Jump Overs *Images used from here.

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