How to Deadlift

This is probably the biggest of the big three lifts. Picking up something really heavy and putting it down again sounds simple, but it’s super satisfying. It’s also pretty much a full body workout in its own right. It’s the queen of compound exercises, and works just about every muscle in your body – perfect for building strength and shape.

How to Deadlift

1. Prep a bar with light lifting weights so it sits off the floor, at around mid shin. You’ll find the right sized plates in the olympic or powerlifting section of your gym and they’ll make getting your deadlift a whole lot easier. Start light though

2. Stand with your feet at hips-width apart and position the bar so it’s sitting over the top of your shoe laces

3. Hinging at the hips, bend over and grip the bar so your arms are outside your knees

4. Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar, raise your chest up and flatten your back. Your shoulders should be just over the front of the bar

5. Gently tug on the bar to take the strain

6. On your first pull, push through your feet and straighten your legs to lift the bar to your knees. Concentrate on keeping your back strong and flat, without changing the angle of it

7. On the second pull, push your hips through and pull your shoulders back to stand up fully. Don’t overextend, stand straight up

8. To return the bar to the floor, reverse the movement, keeping your back tight and protected throughout

Top Tip: Start light and keep your back as strong and flat as possible when you’re learning your deadlift form. It’s essential you get your form on point for this lift, as an arched back could lead to a injury. If you’re back strong, your deadlift will be too.

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The Benefits of a Deadlift

The deadlift is your key to all round body strength. As a functional movement it recruits a huge range of muscles, including:

  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Quads
  • Calves
  • Upper Back
  • Lower Back
  • Arms
  • Shoulders
  • Abs

Nail down your big three lifts and check out these how-to guides from gym girl: 


gymgirlfit was created by health and fitness enthusiasts, with backgrounds in powerlifting and writing. We've written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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