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Deadlift-How To's

Updated: Feb 20, 2022

Deadlift is one of the weight training exercises, along with bench press and squat, where a barbell with weights loaded is lifted from the floor up to the level of the tips, then putting it back to the floor. Deadlift exercise can help increase muscle build as well as form part of rehabilitation for the knee.


Deadlift is lifting weights that are considered “dead weights”. Dead weights are those where there’s no prior movement, thus no energy is stored in the muscles. Deadlift exercise usually benefits the hips, legs and back. Depending on the type of approach used in deadlift, several muscles can be targeted, such as the hamstrings, glutes, and quads.


Deadlift is performed in three phases: the setup, then the initial pull, then lastly the lockout. During the first phase or setup, the lifter sets his body low to the floor and loads energy on the leg and hip muscles. While stabilizing the spine, the lifter positions behind the bar with the legs almost touching it. While keeping the spine straight, feet flat on the floor, and most of the weight placed on the heels, the bar is gripped. Force is then generated from the spine, through the shoulders and arms.


The second phase, also called the drive, is where most of the force is produced. The aim in this phase is to lift the bar off the ground. Taking deep breaths that originate from the diaphragm, pressure is brought to the core and throughout the hips to maintain stability. The back muscles are then kept tightly contracted which ensures safe posture during the lift. With the weight evenly distributed in the hips, the bar is driven up and lifted off the ground.


The third phase, called the lockout, is considered as the most crucial part of the lift. Standing erect with the spine straight and the pressure equally distributed throughout the core, the bar is driven towards the hips. The abdominal and hip muscles are then contracted as the bar is lowered down on the floor. This muscle contraction ensures safety on the back and spine as the lowering motion is completed.


There are different variations of the deadlift, namely, the stiff-legged deadlift, straight-legged deadlift, sumo deadlift, trap-bar deadlift, Romanian deadlift, and American deadlift. The main differences are the approach on the grip, drive, the manner of distributing the weight throughout the body, and the muscles being used and targeted.


There are different weights used for deadlift, such as barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells. A deadlift suit as the clothing for powerlifters. The suits are made of tight fabric that tightens at key areas of the body that enables the storage of energy during squatting down and lifting up. Wrist wraps are also used as additional support. Straps are also used when there is a weak grip.


Several muscles that are used and put into motion when doing deadlift exercises. It mainly involves the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, lats, quadriceps femoris, erector spinae, and trapezius. This is the type of exercise that produces and builds the muscles, as well as provides weight resistance for knee rehabilitation and leg and back strengthening.


See how doing deadlift exercises can help you in your recovery and rehabilitation. Consult with a highly qualified physical therapist at Arise Physical Therapy today

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