Deadlift Safely With This Simple 5 Step Set Up

Courtney dead-lifting 250 lbs x 1 rep.

Courtney dead-lifting 250 lbs x 1 rep.

The deadlift is, without a doubt, one of the most progressive strength exercises and one that can be employed by one of the widest demographics of gym-goers at that!

Picking things up off of the ground is not only what humans have been doing forever and always but further, it’s a movement that our hips and knees allow us to do both naturally and efficiently.

Consider how simple it is to safely and methodically increase the load on a barbell. It only makes sense that it would top the list of exercises that yield a worthwhile return on effort invested when considering the relative improvement in physical capacity that one would experience by training this lift with a high degree of consistency.

An incredible benefit of incorporating a barbell lift such as the conventional deadlift is that it essentially targets every muscle in the human body – consider legs, hips, back, arms, grip strength.

Although certain parts of the body may only contribute fractional output relative to the intensity of

the lift, they still contribute and thus the efficiency of managing such a feat in one single exercise

eliminates the assumed necessity for so many machines that attempt to “isolate” one muscle group

at a time.

Steve learning to Trap Bar Deadlift.

Steve learning to Trap Bar Deadlift.

There is a greater degree of stress that can be applied and further adapted to through the execution of a barbell deadlift and its increased loading over time. With patience and perseverance in the incorporation of the deadlift in workout regimens, one will quickly find him / herself having a much greater level of strength that carries over efficiently into everyday tasks that are a part of being a functional human being.

Another certain “plus” that makes the deadlift an appealing exercise is the ease at which a novice lifter can learn to set up safely and efficiently to properly execute the lift.

When setting up for the barbell deadlift, keep in mind these 5 simple set-up cues which will improve your positioning to lift the weight efficiently and further, mitigate your risk of injury as you will have a “system” to maintain consistent form over time.

1) Start by walking up to the bar so that it is approximately 1 to 2 inches from your shins / over the centre of your foot.

2) From this position, bend over and grab the bar without lowering your hips.

3) Drive your shins forward until they contact the bar. This step is crucial. DO NOT bring the bar to

you but rather ensure that YOU MOVE TO THE BAR. The bar may end against your shins in both

scenarios but your positioning changes dramatically between the two.

4) Squeeze your chest upwards, focusing on straightening out your back by setting it into extension.

5) Finally, lift the bar while ensuring that the bar drags up your legs as you stand up and travels back

down your legs as you place it down. This will make sure that the bar path remains in a straight line!

As you venture forth with your own training and begin to incorporate the barbell deadlift into your

workout regimen, I cannot stress enough (having already mentioned this earlier) that one of the

most powerful contributing factors to your long-term progress and strength development is your

ability to remain patient. One of the fastest ways to become significantly stronger is to avoid injury

while prioritizing the execution of specific exercises with progressively heavier loads. Increasing the

load on the barbell in a slow and methodical fashion allows the body to safely adapt to the gradually

increasing stress without running the risk of injury. This is all too common when individuals rush

their training progressions and throw tens of pounds on the bar within a short time frame.

If you’re looking for a simple, starting read on the basics of barbell training and how you can

incorporate them into your own training regimen, CLICK HERE to purchase your own copy of Mark Rippetoe’s ‘Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training’.

Committed to your success,

Ben Graham, PTS, NWS

Fitness & Lifestyle Coach

Ben Graham