How To Do Barbell Deadlift

Muscle Groups worked: Hamstrings This is a great exercise if..

How To Do Barbell Deadlift

Muscle Groups worked:

This is a great exercise if you want to achieve the “pump” it is perfect if your a Intermediate or even an expert. 

It is a fantastic exercise if your trying to gain strength and is also a great compound exercise!

Doing a pull day? This exercise is perfect for you! 

Muscles Targeted:

Barbell Deadlift targets the hamstrings and lower back area of your back and legs and its great for strength. The calves, glutes and lower back are also worked when doing this great exercise! 

Exercise Instructions:

  1. Approach the bar so that it is centered over your feet. Your feet should be about hip-width apart. Bend at the hip to grip the bar at shoulder-width allowing your shoulder blades to protract. Typically, you would use an alternating grip.
  2. With your feet and your grip set, take a big breath and then lower your hips and flex the knees until your shins contact the bar. Look forward with your head. Keep your chest up and your back arched, and begin driving through the heels to move the weight upward.
  3. After the bar passes the knees aggressively pull the bar back, pulling your shoulder blades together as you drive your hips forward into the bar.
  4. Lower the bar by bending at the hips and guiding it to the floor.


Barbell Deadlift Tips:

When positioning your feet under the bar (with the bar over the the half-way point from your heels to toes) it can be difficult to gauge if your foot position is correct, so ask another lifter for guidance or video tape your deadlift set up.

Use an alternating grip if the weight gets too heavy. Using lifting straps will also allow you to lift heavier than your grip strength will allow.

The biggest mistake you can make is trying to perform deadlifts from an unnatural body position. Read and re-read the form tips presented in this guide and practice them with a moderate weight.

Start the deadlift with the hips in a position of strength and maximal leverage.

If you start the deadlift with your hips too high you will be at a mechanical disadvantage and will tax your lower back.

Starting with your hips too low will also cause you to lose your leverage and power.

If you start the deadlift while looking down, there is a good chance your hips will lift up causing you to lose form and lift with your lower back.

This is a very common deadlift mistake. Think about exploding your head upward while trying to stand erect. The body will follow the head.

If something feels wrong, it probably is. Video tape your deadlift session and have experienced lifters on the Muscle & Strength forum critique your form. To post your videos, visit the Form Critique Thread.

Reps and Sets:

For beginners, start with 8-10 reps for 1-2 sets of Barbell Deadlift. As you progress and become adept, increase your reps and sets. However, avoid over training your back. Only train your Back/legs once per week for optimal results.

Consider your entire program and keep your overall volume for shoulders a little lower than for other larger muscle groups like your back and legs.

Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

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