The deadlift is one of the best compound exercises for targeting the hamstrings, quads, glutes, traps, back, and even the forearms.
It is an exercise important for building overall strength and size. However, it must be done carefully and in a controlled motion as, if improperly executed, the potential for injury such as herniated discs are possible.
How to Execute a Deadlift [7 Steps*]:
#1. Rest a barbell on the floor and attach the correct amount of weight to each end.
When doing a deadlift, it is better to start off with lower weights and increase as needed. This will prevent over exertion while you learn to perfect your form and test your physical abilities.
#2. Approach the bar keeping your feet shoulder width apart and pointed forward.
From a vertical viewpoint, the bar should sit above the balls of your feet.
#3. From a squatting motion, carefully grasp the bar.
It is important that your hands rest slightly wider than the shoulders (on the outer part of the legs.) While it is possible to use any grip that provides comfort, maximum effectiveness is achieved with an alternate grip; this means that one palm should be facing the other so as to stabilize the bar and prevent accidental roll out.
#4. Lower the hips so that the thighs are level to the floor.
When lowering the hips, it is vital that the lowest part of the leg be mostly vertical. The glutes will extend outward, use the weight to provide balance. The angle between the foot and lower leg should be as close to 90 degrees as the body will comfortably allow.
#5. Keeping eyes forward, carefully straighten your back.
Avoid tightening the natural arch of your back. Bending over can cause serious strain on the lower back.
#6. Stand up, raise your hips and shoulders, and carefully lift the bar off the ground.
The weight should hang with straight arms. Return to a standing position and maintain an upright posture. The shoulders should be pulled back so that the weight follows a vertical path.
#7. Lower the bar and return to the starting position.
Take care to maintain proper posture while supporting the weight. Carefully lower the weight by pushing down as you would if you were sitting on a chair. Remember to keep looking forward as the bar is lowered to the ground.