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The Art of The Deadlift

posted on May 17, 2023

What’s up UF! I hope your week has been off to a strong start.


Today I want to briefly talk about my personal favorite lift, the conventional deadlift. It seems that the deadlift has the reputation of being most people’s least favorite lift. However, I am one of those oddballs who loves it and how strong it makes me feel. To have a strong deadlift, you want to make sure that your form is correct, and that you leave little room for any error. Since I only use conventional form, I wanted to touch on the set up and the performance of this specific lifting form.


To start, when it comes to finding your stance on the platform, it is completely up to you. If you are unsure of where your feet should be placed, there are ways that you can test out what might feel right for you. One of these ways is the pullup bar test. This involves just hanging from the pullup bar and then dropping down from it to see where your feet land, and then using that measured distance as your deadlift stance.


Once you find that stance, you will need to find the correct starting position for the bar. Typically for me, I have the bar straight across the middle of my shoelaces. This seems to work out the best, because if you position the bar too far out in front of you, this will cause your hips to rise too quickly when you start, and you will fall out of your form immediately. If it is positioned too close to your shins, you will end up propelling the bar away from you when you reach down to start the pull. If the bar is positioned straight across the middle of your shoelaces, when you go to reach down for the bar, your shins should touch the bar, but they shouldn’t push it away from you.


When your stance and the bar are all set, next is finding out where to put your hands/arms and your head positioning. When it comes to the conventional deadlift, you want your hands/arms to stay close to your legs, but not directly up against them (right outside of the legs is a good spot and encourages you to keep your chest up throughout the lift). You will want to keep your head in a neutral position throughout the lift as well. You don’t want it facing down as that might cause you to round your shoulders and lose your positioning.


After your set-up is all good to go, it’s time to brace and pick that weight up off the ground. Once you brace, you will want to tuck your lats into your back pockets (in other words, pull the slack out of the bar and then think about pulling those lats together and down), keep that chest up, and your head position neutral. Push your feet down through the floor and pull yourself and that weight up while keeping that bar nice and close to you (my shins have bruises and scrapes on them from the many deadlifts I have done and that just means that I am keeping that bar close to my body throughout the entire lift). I like to think of my arms as hooks while deadlifting. You don’t want to bend them or move them throughout the lift, they are only there as hooks to hold onto the bar while you are lifting that weight off the ground.


And there you have it; this is a basic guideline for the setup to a conventional deadlift and how to execute it properly. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me directly or ask any of our other team members/trainers here at UF 🙂




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