Requirements for the deadlift:The bar starts resting on the ground. The movement ends when you are standing straight up with your shoulders slightly behind the bar.
Here are a few tips to perfect your deadlift:
- Your feet should be directly under your hips and toes may be pointed out slightly.
- The bar should be over your mid-foot. You may need to have someone check this for you, since you can’t see your entire foot – only the part in front of your ankle.
- Your grip should be outside your hips so your arms do not interfere with your legs at any point during the lift. Your arms should stay straight throughout the lift.
- A double-overhand grip is preferred, but at max loads a mixed grip is acceptable.
- Your shins should be touching the bar.
- Your chest should be up – as high as you can get it.
- Your back should be tight and in good lumbar and thoracic extension (this is the natural curvature of your spine).
- When you set up like this, your shoulders will be slightly ahead of the bar, so that your scapula is directly over the bar. The scapula is what transfers the load from your arms to the rest of your body.
After you get an awesome set up, you are ready for the pull:
- Keep the bar close to your body as you pull. You should literally be dragging it up your legs (wear pants, or tall socks!).
- Your torso angle should remain constant until the bar reaches your knees. This means that your shoulders and hips rise at the same rate until the bar is at your knees. If your hips come up first or your chest comes up first, you violate this rule.
- The bar should travel in a perfectly vertical path perpendicular from the ground to the top of your pull.
And one last thing – breathing and tension:
- On max effort pulls, it is important that your torso is rigid to support your spine. The best way to do this is to take a big breath (referred to as the valsalva maneuver) before the lift. Filling your lungs to capacity with air exerts pressure in your torso, which keeps your spine rigid and in alignment. So, take a big breath before you pull a heavy deadlift, and hold it until you return the bar to the ground.