How to deadlift safely

Why do you need to deadlift safely?

Deadlifting is one of those exercises that can often be overlooked as a simple, straightforward movement. However with incorrect technique, it can and does lead to injury. There are several different styles of deadlift, however this post will focus solely on the conventional barbell deadlift.

How to perform a deadlift with correct technique:

The deadlift is a movement that is not used just on its own, as it is the first phase of other Olympic weightlifting movements such as the snatch and clean. Therefore it is extremely important that this movement is done with correct form.

  • The deadlift must start from the floor, with your feet positioned under the hips. It’s a great idea to set up your shoulders before setting up your grip, so before bending down, ensure that you have pulled your shoulders back and down to prevent you from losing the back arch when you start the movement.
  • Your hands should be placed outside of your legs, with an overhand grip (a mixed grip can be used when you’re starting to get heavier).
  • Your shoulders should be slightly in front of the bar, the bar in contact with your shins and your weight in the heels.
  • Your knees shouldn’t come past your toes, or behind your heels.
  • Your arms are basically being used as straps in this movement; therefore they should be locked out, with no bend at the elbows.
  • You want to ensure that your are sitting back almost as if you are going to sit on a chair, however your hips are not breaking parallel like they would for a squat.

Once set up, to prepare for the lift, brace your core by taking a big breath.

  • You want to start by pushing through the heels, and raise the hip and shoulders at the same time.
  • Once the bar gets past your knees, open your hips all the way up until you come to a standing position with your knees straight – don’t lean back at the top of the movement.
  • Ensure that the bar maintains contact with your legs the entire time, and keep your head in a neutral position.
  • To return to the floor, you are doing the same movements in reverse, therefore send the hips back and shoulders forward, and start bending the knees once the bar hits the top of your knees.

The end of the movement will look exactly the same as your setup.

That’s how to safely deadlift in a nutshell. Your coaches are always on hand to help you with technique, so don’t hesitate in asking any questions – safety in this lift is paramount.

Coach Becs – CrossFit Hawthorn East


CrossFit Hawthorn East is a physical fitness gym close to both Camberwell and Hawthorn.  We offer group fitness classes, personal training and regular workshops.  Email to book your free intro class.

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