How To: The Proper Deadlift

The deadlift is an essential exercise for anyone participating in a resistance training program. The stress placed on the body during this exercise will increase muscle mass that will develop total body strength and boost metabolism. For athletes, this exercise is key in developing explosive leg strength used in sprinting and jumping. Our FAST® trainer, Michael Winters, demonstrates how to execute the proper deadlift and prevent future injuries.

FAST® How To: The Deadlift <– Watch the video here!

Performing the deadlift:

1) Stand with the feet flat on the floor between hip and shoulder width apart with the toes slightly pointed outward.

2) Squat down and grasp the bar with a closed alternated grip. The hands should be placed on the bar slightly wider than shoulder width with the arms fully extended outside of the knees.

3) The bar should be positioned over the balls of the feet approximately 1 inch in front of the shins.

4) Positioning the body to perform the body is an extremely important aspect of performing a proper deadlift. Failure to maintain proper body positioning can compromise the low back and lead to injury.

Proper body positioning:

– Back is flat or slightly arched

– Shoulders are relaxed and allowed to stretch downward

– Chest is held up and out

– Head is held in a neutral position or slightly hyperextended

– Shoulders are held over the bar

– Heels are in contact with the floor

– Eyes focused straight ahead or slightly upward

5) Lift the bar from the floor by extending the hips and knees. Keep a constant angle with the torso relative to the floor. DO NOT LET THE HIPS RAISE BEFORE THE SHOULDERS.

6) As the bar is raised from the floor keep it as close to the shins as possible. With heavier weights the bar may even be in contact with the shins.

7) As the bar rises above the knees, push the hips forward to achieve contact with the thighs and the bar.

8) Continue to extend the hips and knees until the body is fully erect.

9) To begin the downward phase of the deadlift. Allow the hips and knees to flex as the bar is slowly lowered to the floor.

10) During the downward movement it is important to keep a flat back and to NOT let the torso flex forward.


Congratulations! You know how to not to only perform a deadlift; you know how to do so properly!

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*Source: NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association)

Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST) is empowered by Foothills Therapy Partners (FTP).