Traditional Deadlift (Regular Deadlift)
Traditional deadlifts are one of those exercises that stimulate just about every muscle in the human body. The deadlift is often thought of as a back exercise — and it is, but it’s also an incredible leg-builder, as you’re essentially dropping into a squat in the bottom position. Sometimes called “king of exercises” because of its effectiveness in building back and leg strength, the deadlift is also on of the three lifts performed in competitive powerlifting. Deadlifts will pack meat on your upper back as well as any rowing exercise, and build you a set of python-like spinal erectors. And they are about the only exercise other than squats that will build you a thunderous set of thighs.
However, if you don’t use proper form, it’s easy to injure your back. Always wear a weightlifting belt. Don’t use heavy weight until you become comfortable with the lifting motion.
How To Deadlift: Proper Form
STARTING (INITIAL) POSITION: Grasp a barbell on the floor with a shoulder-width mixed grip (one palm forward, one back — this helps you maintain your grip on the barbell during the exercise) and squat down, bending the knees and hips. Bend your knees until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Your back should be at about a 45-degree angle (see image below). Look up and make sure you maintain the natural curve in your lower spine while bending deeply at your knees.
ACTION (MOVE): Keeping your spine straight and elbows stiff, stand upright, lifting the bar upward to hip level. In other words, begin lifting the barbell, driving up with your legs, and gradually straightening your back and knees. Keep your arms straight. As you finish lifting (once standing), pull your shoulders back slightly and thrust your chest forward to stand fully erect. Pause. Lower the barbell along the same path (close to your body all the way down) to the floor. With each repetition, you place the barbell on the floor and start the entire lifting motion again.
In a manner of speaking a deadlift is just a squat with the bar held by the hands and not across the shoulders.
Muscles Involved in Traditional Deadlift
- Primary muscles: erector spinae, gluteals, hamstrings
- Secondary muscles: trapezius, latissimus dorsi, quadriceps, forearms
Key Points To Check When Deadlifting
- The bar should travel straight up and down, close to your body.
- Use a “reverse power” grip (one palm down, the other up) to stop the bar from rolling, although this can pose a risk to the muscles of the forearm, which is rotated outward.
- The barbell is lifted from the floor up to the top of the thighs, with arms extended and elbows kept stiff.
- Keep the spine straight throughout the movement; do not round the lower back forward or extend the spine to far backwards.
- Don’t make the common mistake of using too much lower back; bend deeply at the knees on each rep, and, as mentioned above, keep your lower spine arched.
- Make sure you don’t ever lower the bar too quickly and bounce the weight.
- Raise your hips and shoulder at the same time (like a squat).
Some people find that this exercise hurts their knees. If it hurts your knees, don’t do it. However, you might first try wrapping your knees with an elastic bandage for the exercise. Many bodybuilders do this to support their knees and avoid problems with them.
Traditional Deadlift vs. Romanian Deadlift
Like many exercises, deadlifts have evolved to many different forms and variations, and Romanian deadlift is one of the new exercises born out of Traditional deadlift. Compared to Traditional deadlift, Romanian deadlift is easier to learn and perform. It’s mostly due to the difference in its starting point. Traditional deadlift starts by bending down. You lifts weights off the ground from the low point. Romanian deadlift on the other hand starts from a standing position with weights in your hands and bend down from your hips to a lower point where your flexibility allows you to reach. In essence, Romanian deadlift is reverse of Traditional deadlift.