deadlift exercise

Deadlift: Exercise of the Week

There aren’t that many different types of exercises you can do for the lower back since the range of movement is pretty limited in this area. With that said the deadlift is one of the most effective exercises to really strengthen the erector spinae muscles of the lower back.

The trick with this exercise is that you absolutely MUST have proper form to do it right otherwise you risk excessive strain on your hamstrings and lower back. Not fun, and why so many people shy away from this exercise, but when done correctly you will see some exceptional results.

If you’re beginning this exercise it is best to start with using dumbbells instead of a barbell. Light dumbbells will allow you to focus on your form and perfect the movement before you advance to a heavier barbell which challenges your balance more. Also when beginning do the deadlift with bending at knees. Once you have been doing that for several weeks you can try the exercise with stiff legs.

A variation I like to add is having one hand with an under-grip and one hand with an over-grip, it allows you to keep the bar balanced a little easier when you go heavier with the weights.

Muscles used in Deadlift:

Primary – Erector Spinae (lower back)
Secondary – Gluteus Maximus, Quadriceps,Hamstrings, Soleus, Gastrocnemius (Rhomboids).
Stabilizers – Trapezius (upper back), Abs, Obliques

Points to focus on:

  • Feet should be slightly wider apart than hips
  • Most important to keep natural arch in your back throughout movement
  • Push your but back and bring thighs parallel to floor
  • Keep abs tight to bring balance
  • Concentrate on keeping shoulder blades back

Common Mistakes:

  • Slouching at upper back
  • Using too heavy weight so can’t come down with thighs parallel to floor
  • Not facing mirror and checking form
  • Not keeping bar close to body
  • Movement of feet

Recommended Exercise Routine:

1 warm-up set of 12 repetitions
3 sets of 8-10 repetitions

Conclusion – Deadlift:

Start light and make sure your body is warmed up beforehand with some light cardio and you will drastically reduce your chances of injury. You will notice rapid change in strength over the first few weeks but remember to play close attention to your form. After several weeks you can try this exercise with a barbell or with stiff legs (not bending at knees), natural arch in your back through the movement will be your main focus for optimal results.

Have any questions or thoughts about this exercise? Please leave a comment below…