On paper, the deadlift is as easy as it gets: pick up the bar and put it back down. But don’t judge a book by its cover because the deadlift is full of nuances. Here are two common deadlift mistakes:
- Don’t push your hips back.
- Don’t use your lats to hold the bar tight.
Let’s fix these issues with these drills.
1. Waistband deadlift
This will help you initiate the deadlift with your hips. Your hips move horizontally (back and forth) when you deadlift, not vertically (up and down) when you squat.
Many lifters initiate the deadlift by pushing their knees forward instead of pushing their hips back. This is not an ideal setup because:
- There is too much weight on the front of your feet. You want your feet to be rooted to the ground so you can keep a “heavy heel”
- There is no space for the bar to boot up. When you get off your deadlift by pushing your knees forward first, there isn’t much room for the bar to come back up in a linear fashion. If you begin your setup and eccentric phase by pushing your hips back, your shins will stay a little more vertical and the bar will be able to move up in a straight line without touching your knees.
- Your hips are not set. If you push your knees forward excessively during the deadlift setup, your hips will usually also point forward and your lower back will overstretch. Pushing your hips back first will bring them into an optimal lower position with a neutral lower back.
How it goes
- Use a kettlebell or barbell.
- Loop a ribbon around a squat rig and wrap the ribbon around your waist.
- Step forward so the tape pulls you back slightly.
- Get into your preferred posture (sumo or conventional).
- Start your set by letting the band pull your hips back. Of course, your knees will bend as you pivot forward.
- Hold down the lower position for 2-3 seconds to get a feel for it.
- When you come back up, push the floor away from you (apply force through the floor).
- Push your hips forward until they are fully extended and squeeze your glutes together.
2. Deadlift “Not-Smith Machine”
This will help you keep the bar close and activate your lats.
Each compound lift contains both primary and secondary beams for optimal performance. During the deadlift, the lats are one of the main promoters. They allow you to maintain close contact with the bar during your deadlift.
One of the biggest problems (and the main reason Chiros have thriving businesses) is that the bar is drifting away from your body. The further you are from the bar, the shitty it is for your spine. If you are happy to lift and move on, you don’t want this to happen.
The best and strongest deadlifts are when you hold the bar as close to your body as possible. With this exercise, you will learn to keep the bar close to your body and maintain the lat engagement.
How it goes
- Stand in the center of the rig and hold a barbell.
- Press the barbell against the pillars of the rig and squeeze your armpits together to feel the tension in your lats.
- Push your hips back and fold in your deadlift. Hold the rod against the frame.
- Come back and slide your hips forward while maintaining constant contact between the barbell and the rack. It should slide against the rack as if you’re simulating a Smith machine.
Related: 6 Deadlift Tips for Non-Powerlifters
Related: 30 day deadlift