How to Do a Deadlift Safely

Deadlifts—the perfect exercise to strengthen your back, hamstrings and glutes, yet the perfect exercise to screw up your back. The deadlift is a bend pattern, something we all do every day of our lives when we pick up a box, groceries from the trunk, or lift a child. It's a movement you do multiple times throughout the day. Since you perform this bending movement many times, performing a deadlift should be a easy, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, many of people do deadlifts with straight legs, which can cause major back injury.

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Doing a straight-legged deadlift and rounding the upper back with no curvature in the low back can damage your lumbar spine, and give you a herniated disc. If the knees are locked then the brain will not recruit the gluteus maximus. Instead, the hamstrings and lumbar muscles will be over used. Also, when doing a deadlift with straight legs, you put a great deal of compression on the spine because the nucleus of the disc is pushed way back toward the spinal cord, which leads to a herniated disc.

Your knees should be slightly bent to utilize your gluteus maximus, not your low back. Besides, wouldn't you rather have a nice lifted butt than back pain?

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Proper Form

Use these tips to perform a deadlift properly.

  • To avoid injury be sure to bend your knees about 30 degrees.
  • Bend down slowly towards your feet.
  • Move back to standing position. Make sure your knees are still.
  • Do not squeeze your shoulder blades together until the end of the movement.
  • Make sure your back is straight and not rounded at the thoracic spine or upper part of the back.
  • You should have a curvature at the lower part of your back as well and not flat.
  • Your head should also be in alignment with your spine.

See how to do a deadlift properly by Dan Hellman:

More:6 Weightlifting Tips to Avoid Back Pain

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About the Author

Leila Harper

Leila holds a B.S. in Public Health, is a certified ACE personal trainer and C.H.E.K. exercise coach. She continues to further her studies with the C.H.E.K institute as well as her nutritional knowledge with various holistic nutritional programs. Harper helps clients from many walks of life achieve healthier lifestyles through exercise and nutrition programs.

Leila holds a B.S. in Public Health, is a certified ACE personal trainer and C.H.E.K. exercise coach. She continues to further her studies with the C.H.E.K institute as well as her nutritional knowledge with various holistic nutritional programs. Harper helps clients from many walks of life achieve healthier lifestyles through exercise and nutrition programs.

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