How to Deadlift Correctly - Core Results Chichester

Learn How to Deadlift Correctly

The deadlift. Love it or hate it, we believe it is one of the most important movements to learn how to do correctly at Core Results gym Chichester.

When performed well it looks effortless, but in reality is a complex and technically demanding exercise.

The Benefits

  1. Develops all over strength which helps in many other movements
  2. Works most of the major muscles in the body
  3. Is a very relevant everyday movement
  4. Will help to get you great legs and butt!

Even with all these benefits, the Deadlift is recommended to be avoided by some physios, osteopaths and chiropractic professionals. Having said this, some of the best coaches and trainers throughout the world believe the opposite.

The Detail

When choosing exercises for our members we use a “risk vs reward approach”. We believe that for most of our members, the Deadlift (in one form or another) is definitely worth the risk to reap the rewards. The deadlift is an exercise that almost all people have to do in some shape or form, on a regular basis. From time to time you will need to lift heavy objects.

The main group of muscles that perform this lift are called the posterior chain. These are muscles from the upper back, running all the way down to our heels.

The reason the deadlift is so difficult is that all these muscles need to work together, along with bracing the core and correct breathing all at once!

I find myself repeatedly telling clients to breathe and not worry about making some noise. It is impossible to lift anywhere near your maximum without exhaling and making some noise.

Of course most of our members don’t want to and don’t need to lift to their maximum, but the principles apply whatever the weight being lifted.

Without getting too technical, if you exhale sharply on the hardest part of any lift  (going up on a deadlift) you will be stronger and expel air from the lungs at the correct time. Getting your breathing right can improve your lift dramatically.This can reduce the feeling that you may pass out from lack of oxygen, and / or reduce a sudden rush of blood away from the head.

The Process

These are the steps we teach our members for a Barbell Deadlift.

How to deadlift correctly:

  1. Approach the bar, feet shoulder width apart, hands slightly wider than shoulders
  2. Take a firm grip on the bar starting with the bar on your shins and hips slightly lower than shoulders
  3. Take the slack out of the bar  (the space between plates and bar), slide your shoulders back and down, lifting your chest up and tucking your chin in
  4. Tighten your lats and drive the floor away from the bar with weight in your heels keeping everything tight
  5. As the weight leaves the ground exhale until fully upright bringing hips under the shoulders, being careful not to over arch backwards
  6. Pause for a moment at the top, then shift your hips backwards and lower the bar quickly (don’t resist the bar just get it down on the ground ) without hitting your knees and keeping tight with neutral spine

Our Focus

There are several different types of deadlift, but with a standard deadlift we are only interested in the up phase of the movement. So use as little effort as possible (keeping good posture ) to get the bar down to the ground.

When we get a new member we try to instil the importance of “always form over speed of exercise”. So take your time and make your deadlift the best it can be. Possibly the most important position to get right is your neutral spine. As almost every exercise you perform at Core Results is with a neutral spine. This is no different for the deadlift.

View this attached video with Emily demonstrating. I correct her set up slightly until the stick is touching the back of her head, between her shoulder blades and on her tail bone. Practice the hip hinge with the stick to remind yourself of where your body needs to be.

If you don’t go through the setup sequence as listed earlier, the whole of the posterior chain  (all the muscles down the back of your body ) cannot engage and work together on the lift. If you are lifting your head during your lift looking up, you can pinch the back of your neck, restrict your airway, and over strain as you lift the bar.

Emily also demonstrates a few examples of how not to do a deadlift in the video. If this is you, make the changes for a better lift and before you get hurt.

Happy dead lifting, keep practising, stay safe and let’s get stronger!


Paul Butler is one of the owners and personal trainers at Core Results Chichester. Paul specialises in core conditioning and corrective exercise and has several years experience in dealing with competitive cyclists. Find out more about Paul in his profile 




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