Strength Training

Step-by-step Approach to a Strong, Pain-free Deadlift

The barbell deadlift is one of the all-time great exercises for developing full body strength. Unfortunately, it’s butchered by 95% of the people who perform it. Hence, its association with screwing up your low-back. Because of this, I wanted to make an instructional video that anyone can easily reference at any time. You’ll find this video to be quick and extremely practical. Please do yourself a favor and invest 4 minutes of your time to watch. This will enable you to start experiencing the benefits of this great lift, as opposed to the all-too-common drawbacks (caused by improper technique).

Proper Deadlift Form – 7 Steps

Step 1: Take your sneakers off. Most sneakers have a heel on them which pulls you forward, and pulls you out of position.

Step 2: Close your eyes and do a vertical jump. Wherever your feet land is where you want to position your stance. This is usually about hip width, or slightly narrower.

Step 3: Place your shins close to the bar, but not directly on the bar. Place your shins around an inch behind the bar and perform a hip hinge until your hands can grab the barbell.

Step 4: Before you pull the barbell off the floor, you are going to “pull the slack out of the bar”. Example: If there is 135 pounds on the bar, only pull with 134 pounds of force. (This will put your lats on tension.) Also, make sure your chin is tucked (as if you were making a double-chin); this will ensure you maintain a neutral spine.

Step 5: Force your knees out against your arms. This will create torque at the hips.

Step 6: To initiate the movement, act as if you’re “leg pressing” the floor and stand up straight. Do NOT over arch (hyperextend) your low back at lockout. Your body should be in a perfectly straight line at lockout, while focussing on flexing these three specific muscles – lats, glutes, quads.

Step 7: To return the bar to the floor, perform an RDL. Once the bar reaches just below your knee caps, you can drop the bar straight down.

-Joe D.



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  3. I really want to lift a barbell and this post literally helped me a lot! Thank you so much.

  4. This is a fantastic blog and I can’t wait to hear more later. Deadlifts are one of the hardest exercises for people not to hurt themselves. I appreciate that you guys have given a guide.

  5. What are your thoughts on hook grip? I am concerned about uneven development and was thinking it would help with both sides being symmetrical.

  6. Good video, nice little tips about taking the slack from the bar and driving the knees out to create pre lift tension.

    Elo what are you talking about? Inner belt? this is not pilates, plus bicep tears do happen with a supine grip because of the stretch on the bicep. This was great video for what it is, a 4 minute video.

  7. This is not a good instructional video for deadlift. you dont mention anything about your inner belt, warmups, white knuckling, bar placement in the hand for mixed grip (actually you dont mention anything about grip).

    this is just a lazy video put together in 10 min. What you said about biceptear is not true, you dont get biceptear if you place the bar correctly in your fingers.

    4/10 at best.

  8. Never thought about taking shoes off, and I love the vertical jump thing first. I always wondered if my potion was correct, now I know what it should look/feel like. Thank you!

  9. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Spending some time and actual effort to generate a superb article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot
    and never manage to get nearly anything done.

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