The deadlift is one of the ultimate full-body exercises, so it’s typical to see it incorporated in any strength training routine. It may seem simple — after all, you’re just picking up a weight and putting it back down, right? In fact, there are many things that go wrong when you deadlift, and if you are going to add this to your routine, it’s worth it to work with one of our Medford personal trainers to ensure you have the proper form. In the meantime, here are some common deadlift mistakes that you want to make sure to avoid.
The Wrong Starting Position
The work of the deadlift begins before you even pick up the weight. You don’t want to lean too far over the bar, as this will cause stress to the lower back. Before you pick it up, take a deep breath and hold it in while you tighten your abs. Squeeze your lats (visualize squeezing an orange in your armpit), let up on your grip slightly, and drive your weight into your heels as you pull as hard as you can. The idea is to do this in one fluid motion, which will come with practice.
Not Bending the Hips Enough
A very common deadlift mistake is to treat the motion like a squat. The deadlift is essentially moving back and forth. You are to bend your hip as much as you can without bending your knees, also known as a “hip hinge.” In the mirror, it will look like you are pushing your rear end back without arching the back. Your spine and neck should be entirely aligned as you hinge at the hip to grasp the bar, and when you lift the weight, you will thrust your pelvis forward to stand up straight again.
Rounding the Back
One of the struggles of newbie deadlifters is keeping a neutral spine. It feels awkward at first, and you may be used to rounding your back when you pick things up. As your back gets stronger, it becomes easier to accomplish this, but in the meantime, do what you can to avoid rounding the back. If you struggle to reach the weight without rounding, place the weight on top of two or three stacked weights to work on partial deadlifts that will allow you to build that neutral spine.
Too Wide of a Grip
A too-wide grip means that you won’t be engaging your lat muscles, which are essential to your deadlift. How wide your grip will be will vary according to your anatomy, but in general, start with your hands as close to hips-distance apart as possible. A closer grip also allows you to hold your weight closer to your body, which will give you greater control.
Arms Are Working Too Much
The deadlift is a test of your lower body strength, so your arms should not be involved in the power behind that move. You should hold your arms as straight as possible and fully extended throughout the move. All you want them to do is to keep the bar steady and close to your body as you deadlift.
The deadlift is an integral move for building and testing strength. You may need professional help to make true progress towards your deadlifting goals. If that’s the case, our personal trainers in Medford can help you. Contact Fit in New England for more information!