deadlift during competition

Time to bypass the weight racks and benches and get down to business. We’re talking about the deadlift, where it’s just you, the barbell, and the floor. And a good pull! This article will demonstrate how to do the deadlift properly.

Deadlift Basics

This one is just you grabbing onto a barbell and ripping it off the floor as you stand up straight. The name comes from how you’re lifting “dead” weight.

The Deadlift, Step-by-Step Instructions

As with any serious lift, it’s very important to use the correct technique. Follow these instructions.

Setting Up the Deadlift

Place the bar on the floor in front of you, then walk up to the bar.

Your feet should be just under shoulder width apart (your toes can point straight ahead or slightly outside,) and you want the bar to sit directly over the middle of your foot (above your shoelaces, maybe 3″ out from your shin.)

Grab the bar. Your arms should be vertical, with the bar directly under your deltoid, which means your shoulder blades will be just behind the bar.

Unlike the bench press, you can hold the bar in the upper palm, close to your fingers.

I suggest using the double overhand grip until your grip absolutely can’t take it anymore. If you get up to those super heavy weights, you can use the mixed grip (i.e. “over under” grip.)

To get into position, push your hips back and down and bend your knees. Make sure your hips remain higher than your knees (this isn’t a squat,) and only bend your knees enough that your shins reach the bar.

Now lift your chest and press your shoulders down and back (you don’t have to press your shoulder blades together.) Your back should be arched.

Lastly, keep your head in line with your body. Right now, you’ll be looking forward but slightly down, then looking straight ahead at the top.

Get a deep breath, squeeze the bar tight, and tense your body.

The Pull

To execute this lift, stand up tall, bringing the bar with you. Really focus on driving your feet into the floor.

Keep the bar very close to your body, basically rolling it over your knees and up your thighs. Try not to slam it into your shins or knees (it hurts and cuts up your shins, and it probably means you’re doing something wrong.)

Keep going until your hips and knees are locked. You can squeeze your glutes and hip thrust a bit to reach the final locked position. (It looks like you’re leaning back but it’s actually just pressing your hips forward to lock out.)

[For being a so-called “pulling” exercise, a lot of the technique is actually pushing!]

Return Bar to Floor

Push your hips back then, once the bar is at knee height, bend your knees. The bar will hit the floor.

Make sure you keep control of the bar on the way down so you don’t slam it. You don’t want to waste energy lowering the bar slowly, but you must keep contact with it until it settles.

You just did a deadlift!


P.S. If you need chalk to improve your grip on one exercise, that one is the deadlift!

Make sure to read these guides as well:


Photo Credit: J Griffin

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