While a deadlift seems like a simple movement, after all you just pick something up and then put it down, it’s more complex than you think. A deadlift is considered a compound exercise, meaning it involves the use of many large muscle groups, including your hamstrings, glutes, back, and core. Can you see why this exercise is so important for building strength and power, and why it’s so easy to mess up? Good thing you have the MoveU deadlift checklist to help you out. Read along to learn how to deadlift without hurting yourself below.

What Is a Deadlift?

First things first, what the heck is a deadlift? While many of you already know, (you can skip down to the next section if you’d like) some of you are pretending to know, and most of you have no idea, we will break it down for you.

A deadlift is a compound weight-training exercise where you lift a barbell or trap bar off the ground from a standing position to the level of your hips before placing it back on the ground.

Why Should You Deadlift?

Deadlifting done correctly has numerous benefits, including that it is one of the best exercises for building strength. Here are some of our other favorite benefits of deadlifting:

  • Increases core strength and improves core stability
  • Improves your posture
  • Builds strength in your legs, glutes, lower back, and core
  • Improves grip strength
  • Works your cardiovascular system
  • Stimulates muscle growth and human growth hormone (hGH)
  • Helps you move your joints through a full range of motion

It’s important to note that while this exercise is a slam dunk for strength building it’s also an advanced exercise, meaning it’s not for everyone. If you aren’t very flexible, don’t know how to activate your core, or haven’t learned how to hip hinge, we highly recommend checking out the MoveU membership before attempting this compound exercise. Trust us, you will thank us later.

Common Deadlift Mistakes

If a deadlift causes any pain, tension, or burning sensations (yikes), you’re doing something wrong and should seek out more help. The most common deadlift mistakes are not warming up properly, not using the right form, or poor mobility. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Not warming up appropriately – or at all
  • Placing your feet in the wrong position and not pressing into them during the lift
  • Rounding into your lumbar spine
  • Using your back to lift the bar
  • Gripping the bar incorrectly
  • Trying to turn a deadlift into a squat (it’s a very different movement you all)
  • Not pushing your hips back (learn to hip hinge people!)

Remember that learning how to do a hinge in a deadlift while maintaining a neutral spine is key to deadlifting without pain. While this concept is very difficult for a lot of people to understand as many of you round your back too much, it’s imperative for deadlift success. You need to learn how to find your neutral spinal/pelvis position to protect your hips and back. Check out our deadlift checklist below to learn more!

Deadlift Checklist: Step by Step

Do you experience any pain or tightness when you deadlift at home or at the gym? If so, you might be doing a deadlift incorrectly, which should be fixed as soon as possible. Check your form first with this deadlift checklist:

  • Breathe in deeply, activate your core, and add a little lift to your pelvic floor.
  • Bend over and grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip.
  • Rotate your thighs and lower legs out so that they line up with your knees and ankles (this helps you activate your glute muscles too). Keep your feet active and press them into the ground.
  • Lift your chest up and stand up with the bar. Make sure you keep your spine extended so you don’t lose its natural curve (you can check yourself out in a mirror from the side to make sure you’re doing this correctly).
  • Hold the bar at the top for a second and then hip hinge and return it to the floor.

Note: This is an advanced move for many people. If you need additional assistance, be sure to head to the MoveU program online for more support.