Love them or hate them, deadlifts are one of the most crucial and effective exercises out there for gaining strength and size. They work your entire body, especially your posterior chain, engaging some less-targeted muscles like the hamstrings, and generally improves your day-to-day movement as well as posture.
Deadlifts, however, can be very easily done wrong, to grievous results. Wrong technique or wrong form can lead to injuries that might even lead to long-term movement issues, which you will want to avoid at any cost. In order to keep your deadlifts effective, here are four tips you must know.
MORE DOESN'T MEAN BETTER
Doing more deadlifts doesn't mean you're going to reap better results. Deadlifts require a lot of strength to execute, and are generally very taxing on your body. They cause fatigue rather quickly as well, and over-exerting yourself leads you closer to injury if you're not careful. Ideally, perform one to six deadlifts per set, and not more than 30 total reps. To vary the intensity, you can increase or decrease your load, but bear in mind that the number of reps you can do for that set will similarly waver. It's also extremely important to warm up properly beforehand.
Photo credit: stronglifts
KNOW WHAT GOOD FORM IS
People constantly stress on form, form, form when it comes to heavy lifting, and they aren't wrong. Here's a concise description of good deadlift form:
- Have your legs hip-width apart, with the sides of your forearms touching just outside your legs.
- Remain in neutral spine throughout, meaning your back should be flat.
- The bar should be touching your lower shin.
- As you lift, your hips and knees should move in sync to transfer the bar from the ground up, where your thighs should be locked and torso up.
- The bar should always be in contact with your legs throughout the entire deadlift.
NOT IN SYNC? THEN IT'S TOO HEAVY
Many people tend to have the mentality where if you succeeded on your first heavy lift, you can constantly keep amping up the weights. While heavy lifting is all about smashing personal records, never do it at the risk of your personal safety. When it comes to a deadlift, imperative signs to watch out for are when your spine buckles, and your hips and knees don't move in sync to lift the weight. If you're displaying these signs, the weight is too heavy. Time to downsize.
Photo credit: deadlift workouts
VARIETY IS BENEFICIAL
Deadlifts are an umbrella for many, many other deadlift forms that specifically engage certain muscles. Being able to vary your lifts rather than always sticking to the same deadlift will benefit you greatly in the long run, strengthening muscles that you're weaker at, and making you an all-rounded weightlifter. Go all out and do research on the different deadlift forms to experiment with. Figure out what works best for you, and mix that in with your regular, stiff-legged deadlift for optimum results.
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