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Deadlifting: For Beginners

Lets cut to the chase, here are some simple cues for setting up on the deadlift that can help you improve your deadlift technique.

1. Foot Placement

Start by setting your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Make sure your feet are flat and driving downward. If you drop your hips to pull and your ankles roll to the outside or the inside, something isn’t optimal. Adjust the width of your stance until your feet don’t rock as you set. Changing your shoes will often help, as well as just moving your feet in or out.

2. Where Are Your Shins

Your shins should start approximately 3 to 6 inches away from the bar, depending on your height.When you load into the bar, you can translate your shins and knees forward, allowing your hips to drop into place and keep your lower back arched with appropriate tension. When you’re too close to the bar you can’t get the right line of pull or optimal leverage which can derail proper deadlift technique.

3. Taking Your Grip

Your hands should be just outside of your legs to help minimize the hip angle, as well as decrease the distance you have to pull. Always try pulling double overhand until your grip gives out. This will train your grip strength as well as correct muscular imbalance due to the alternating grip.

4. Getting Your Air

You must capture and retain as much air as possible before the lift. This, along with a powerful isometric contraction of the entire torso will give you the tension to lift the weight with good form as well as protect the spine. When deadlifting conventional, try to get your air before you sit down into the bar. Once your hips have dropped, you’re compressed (especially if you have a belt on), and you might be limited in your breathing.

5. Get Tense

Massive amounts of tension must be created, not only across the leg musculature but also in the grip and back. Remember, the more tension you can create, the stronger you’ll be and the more protected your spine and back will be. The tension you’ve created allows your body to act as a single kinetic chain. Make sure to never forget the tension in the upper back. This is key to pulling it all together with your deadlift technique. You’ll immediately feel tighter and stronger once you create tension across your back by squeezing the bar down and “flexing” the armpits. This pulls the lats into the lift.

6. The Pull

When your about to start the deadlift focus on driving your feet downward into the floor, then the weight will begin to rise. Don’t let your hips come up too fast into a stiff legged position. As the bar hits the knees, a powerful glute contraction will lock you into a straight (line) torso position. Don’t over pull after the bar crosses the knees and move into hyperextension. This is un necessary and just extends the distance you are pulling. Leaning back doesn’t mean locked out.

Author: Ian Smalley
Website:  Violent Hero

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Julian Matthews

Julian Matthews

Born and raised in the valley of the Clearwater forest in rural, Julian was involved in fitness from a young age. Mountaineering, running, and climbing were a part of everyday life in the Clearwater forest. This routine of exercise resulted in Julian experimenting in martial arts as a teen, whilst also joining a local powerlifting focused gym. Julian followed a career in fitness, and became a qualified personal trainer in his late teens. Once in college he turned his hand at the corporate aspect of fitness, taking a management position at a large local gym. During that time he became a co-founding member of the Lehi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club, and was in their first competition team.

Outside of college Julian set up his own coaching centre. His list of clients included several professional MMA athletes.

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