7 Tips For Mastering The Dead Lift - Possibly The Best Muscle Building Exercise Ever Invented
Here are 7 top tips for mastering the dead lift.
1/ Set your back before each rep that you do
Most injuries in the dead lift are lower back related. Your lower back gets a terrific workout when you dead lift, simply by having to keep it straight during each lift. You can even have a slight arch in your back (a concave arch, not a convex one) to hold the rigid position.
2/ Lead with your head
By leading with your head, and looking straight ahead or even a little bit up, you can achieve two things;
First, it helps you to keep your back straight.
Second, it helps to stop your knees from straightening too soon. This helps keep the stress of the weight on the thighs, glutes and hamstrings, which in turn takes stress off the lower back. To help you lead with your head, try and focus your eyes on a spot on the wall a little above head height.
3/ Never allow your back to round
This is vital, and probably how most back injuries happen. If your back is rounding then you are using too much weight. Build the weight up gradually. You could also strengthen your back by doing back extensions. If you even suspect your back is starting to round, dump the bar. (Under control if you can.)
4/ Never rush the reps
When you get into heavier weights theres a tendency to rush the reps in order to finish the set. You must resist this temptation. As you start to rush, you wont be getting down low enough at the beginning of the next rep, which means that youre doing a dangerous form of stiff leg dead lift.
One way to avoid this is to dead lift in rest-pause style. You do one rep, and set the bar down, and stand up. Then get down and pull the next rep. Then set the bar down and stand up. Then pull the next rep, and so on. Your sets will take a bit longer to do this way, but at least youre certain of doing them correctly, and the muscle building effect will be greater.
This also makes you mentally tougher for when the weights get really heavy. If you were doing say two sets of 10 reps, try thinking of each set as ten sets of one rep each.
5/ Push through your heels and squeeze the bar off the floor.
By pushing through the heels, you keep the stress of the weight off the knees. Try and imagine that youre pushing your feet through the floor as you lift the bar up. Feed the power in through your heels and keep the movement as smooth as possible.
This is to help you to avoid jerking the bar up, which could lead to injury.
6/ Never Dead lift if you back is fatigued
You need your back to be absolutely fresh before you begin you session of dead lifts. Its a very demanding exercise. Take an extra day off if you have to. If youre dead lifting later in the day, try and avoid any exercise that may tire your back and detract from your workout later on.
For this reason, consider making the dead lift the first exercise in that days workout.
7/ Dont do the Do or Die rep
You dont need to train the dead lift to failure, in fact it can be dangerous to do so. If you feel that theres a possibility that you cant pull the next rep, dont try - its an injury waiting to happen.
One way to make sure this never happens is to build the weight up gradually. Yes, the dead lift is mighty hard work, but the bar should never surprise you with how heavy it is. Make small increases in the weight, and dont increase the weight unless you made the required number of reps in the workout previous.
Happy dead lifting!