Weightlifting is one of the best ways to improve lean muscle mass and increase strength. Other health benefits that also come from weight training including reducing your risk of diabetes, increased fat burning, relieves anxiety and improves self-confidence.
Studies have shown that the best way to increase muscle mass through weight training is to lift heavier weights. When doing so, proper form is essential to prevent injury from occurring. Below is an overview of how to set-up the deadlift, one of the most popular weight lifting moves.
The Importance Of Form
Learning and maintaining proper form when weightlifting is essential for a variety of reasons. According to Dr. John Ruskin of T Nation, some important facts to remember involving form and injuries include:
- Upper Back And Neck Injuries Are Due To Poor Posture
- Low Back Injuries Occur During Flexing And Extending The Spine
- Shoulder Injuries Rise With Increased Repititions
- Knee Injuries Happen When The Knee Collapses Inwards
How Proper Form Prevents Injury
Improper form most often occurs with lifting heavy weights. According to the National Federation Of Professional Trainers, when heavy weight is being lifted the body can become misaligned. This places increased stress on muscles, tendons and joints that causes tears or strains to occur.
The best way to combat injuries when lifting, is to begin with lighter weight and move up as strength increases. If proper form is not possible during weightlifting, then the weight is simply too heavy.
What Is A Deadlift?
The deadlift is a move that is best known for improving overall body strength and sculpting the hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes. During this move, a weighted barbell is lifted from the floor while standing. Benches are not used when performing deadlifts.
Steps For Proper Deadlift Form
Joe Defranco is a weightlifting expert and founder of Defranco’s Gym in Austin, Texas. He lists the following steps as the proper form for deadlifts:
- Don’t Wear Shoes-Sneakers Pull The Body Out Of Alignment
- Take A Hip Width Stance
- Your Shins Should Be 1 Inch From The Barbell
- Hinge Your Hips Until You Are Low Enough To Grab The Bar
- Tuck Your Chin Close To Your Chest
- Create Torque By Forcing Your Knees Toward Your Arms
- When You Pull The Bar Off The Floor Stand Up Straight
- Do Not Arch Your Back
- Avoid Overextending Your Back
The Consequences Of Improper Form
While the deadlift is considered one of the best strength moves, there will be consequences if you use improper form while lifting. Some of the most common injuries from deadlifting improperly include:
- Low Back Pain: Injuries to the lumbar spine are the most common deadlift injury. When performing this move, it is essential to keep your mind on your form. Losing concentration is one reason people become improperly aligned and sustain injuries.
- Neck Pain: Failing to tuck your chin into your chest when doing deadlifts may injure your neck. This is the reason experts advise keeping your chin tucked into your chest through the entire move.
Proper Form Includes Using Breathing Techniques
The National Federation Of Personal Trainers states that using breathing techniques can help improve performance in the gym. Proper breathing helps the body generate more force during lifts and reduces the likelihood of blood pressure spikes, aneurisms and heart problems.
When you use proper form when you lift weights, you can get the appropriate amount of air into your lungs and be more focused on each move. Experts recommend inhaling before lifting the weight and exhaling when lowering the weight back to its original position.It is also important to keep this up through every repetition of every set performed for maximum results.
The Bottom Line
Keeping a neutral spine is an essential part of protecting your back when deadlifting. This means don’t flex or over-extend your back when you are lifting. If you can accomplish this goal, your form will usually be on point.
Deadlifts are a staple in old school bodybuilding routines for a reason, because they work. However, you can greatly maximize your success and see results much more quickly by making sure you set-up for this move properly and perform every repetition correctly.
Things to Remember
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or back problems, it is best to check with your doctor before adding deadlifts to your weightlifting routine. When incorporating this move into your workout, be sure to start slowly.
Only increase the weight when you feel completely comfortable that your form is perfect during your lifts for several workouts. Some soreness is normal after adding any new weightlifting move to your workout, but stop if you begin to feel sharp pain or soreness that lasts for several days after a workout.