As we’ve all learned the hard way, there’s more to the deadlift than just pulling weight off the floor. This exercise is a must-have for building strength all over the body and growing huge muscles of steel, so learning how to do it right requires some effort
Unfortunately, most guys are guilty of poor technique and improper form when it comes to deadlifting, which puts them at great risk of injury. Since the deadlift involves such heavy weights, the chances of lower back pain and herniated discs skyrockets, compared to other exercises. And if your form is terrible, it will be impossible to increase your deadlift without reaping serious injury. If you too are guilty of sloppy deadlifting, don’t worry. Nobody was born with perfect form – that takes months of practice and mistakes are bound to happen. But if you remove these 10 deadlifting sins from your repertoire, you will be able to prevent injury and speed up your progress in the shortest time possible.
#1. Squatting Your Deadlifts
First of all, the point of deadlifting isn’t to unrack the weight, lower it and deadlift it back up. The proper way to deadlift is by starting each rep with the weight on the floor, then deadlifting this weight until your hips and knees are locked. So the first rule would be: always deadlift from the floor. Furthermore, if you deadlift with low hips like when squatting, your shins will come forward and the bar will hit them on its way up. So raise your hips and keep your legs back.
The proper hip position depends on the length of your limbs, but a good rule of thumb is to keep them where they would be if you setup with the bar over your mid-foot and shoulder blades over the bar.
#2. Bouncing Your Deadlifts
Bouncing your deadlifts on the floor is considered cheating because it lets you think you’re stronger than you really are. If you deadlift this way, the rebounding of the weight lifts the bar to your mid-shin, not you, and your reps are actually half-reps. And you’re leaving certain muscles out of the lift. And the point of training is not in getting more reps, it’s in building real strength and muscle. On top of that, bouncing increases the risk of lower back injury by making it harder to keep your lower back neutral.
Would you rather get injured instead of strong? Stop bouncing your deadlifts.
#3. Leaning Back At The Top
Leaning back can hyperextend your lower back and squeeze the discs, which can cause injuries like herniated discs. Don’t shrug or lean back at the top – it provides no benefits and it’s safer for your back.
All you need to do at the top is to stand tall and lock your hips and knees, shoulders above hips. Instead of hyperextending the back to lock out the weight, extend the hips and try to finish with your ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles forming a perfectly straight line. That’s it.
#4. Hitting Your Knees On The Way Down
Obviously, this is an unpleasant phenomenon. But the real problem with hitting your knees as you lower the bar is that this prevents you from moving it in a vertical line. The bar will land over your forefoot, which makes your next rep harder and more stressful for your lower back, because the proper setup includes pulling the bar from your mid-foot.
Therefore, avoid hitting your knees by first moving your hips back on the way down. When the bar reaches your knees, bend them to bring the weight to the floor and the bar will land over your mid-foot, ready for the next rep.
#5. Not Touching The Floor
Touching the floor at the end of the rep gives your lower back rest between reps and allows you to set it neutral again before beginning your next rep. That way, you’re less likely to round your lower back and squeeze your spinal discs. If you avoid touching the floor in order to keep muscle tension, don’t bother. Keeping tension all throughout this movement isn’t necessary to build muscle. Instead of that, just increase the weight on the bar and you’ll get more tension. If you don’t lower the bar to touch the floor, the only result will be too much tension in your back.
#6. Beating Up Your Shins
When performing a deadlift, slight shin scraping is inevitable because you must drag the bar over your shins, which is a key part of proper technique.But there’s more to this than making sure to wear long pants or some kind of padding when deadlifting. If your shins bleed every time you deadlift, this should be taken as a clue that you’re doing it wrong – your form is bad and you’re either bouncing or squatting your deadlifts.
Your shins are not supposed to take that kind of beating. Fix your form instead of compensating with pants or tall socks and your shins will stop bleeding. Setup with your shoulder blades over the bar and the bar over your mid-foot, then pull the bar in a vertical line without hitting your shins. If you still get unwanted bruising and scabbing, get a good pair of shin guards.
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