5 Deadlift mistakes you need to avoid
Deadlift. That’s the basic 101 for strength training. Whether you are trying to burn fat, build muscle, increase your athleticism or focus on gaining strength, deadlifting is the answer. Rather, knowing how to deadlift correctly is.
Have you hit a snag in your fitness regime? Deadlifting for a while and haven’t seen noticeable results? Odds are you are not doing it right.
Am I deadlifting correctly?
Have you seen some folks in the gym doing their best impressions of a one-humped camel as they drag a barbell up their legs? Yeah, don’t do that. Small things to think about while deadlifting include:
- Feet flat on the floor, bent knees, hands shoulder-width apart on the bar.
- Do I need to change my overhand grip to where one hand grips the bar overhand and the other underhand to avoid the bar from rolling? This option will become more of a choice due to increased weight and hand strength.
- Think about your chest and shoulders. This will help to maintain a strong spine from beginning to end of the movement.
- Brace your core, always.
- Always keep your eyes looking forward. Your neutral spine position will follow then.
- Remember to keep the movement explosive without jerking the bar. A deadlift should be a clean flowing movement all the way from pulling the weight off the floor through to the top of the lift.
Also, what will help is, to understand the nuances of deadlifts and why you might have hit a ceiling; not literally but figuratively as you can’t seem to gain any more muscle. Or, for that matter, lift any more weight.
This article will help the real deadlifting fanatics to right a few errors you may be making in your technique and approach to the deadlift.
Common deadlifting mistakes
The key to a right deadlift form is in focussing on good form every time you deadlift. Here are five mistakes you need to avoid for an effective deadlift workout.
One: Too much deadlift diversity
Believe it or not, overdoing variations can be the death of your deadlift program. If some new exercise resembles a deadlift but isn’t a deadlift, it may be doing more harm than good. To begin with, you should focus on mastering the deadlift at its basic form.
That said if your exercise variation is designed to add power to an area that’s currently weak, fine as long as it’s actually doing that. But talk to your gym instructor or personal trainer before you go throwing inventive changeups into your workout mix. You can actually do your deadlift technique, not to mention your body, serious damage.
Really, you should have no more than three deadlift variations and try to ensure that none of those deviates drastically from the common garden variety deadlift technique.
Two: Not enough work
In other words, you’ve got your 3 sets of 8 or whatever set you’ve set; you do them, right, move on. If you’re not a quivering wreck after those sets, chances are you haven’t really worked. If you genuinely want the deadlift to work for you and pack on muscle, you have to work on the deadlift.
The deadlift is an effective and powerful strength-training and muscle-building tool. Find out how to build muscle in our 10 Effective Muscle Building Tips blog post!
Three: An overly wide stance
It seems logical that the wider your stance, the more stress you’re going to feel in your muscles and the more effective your deadlift will be. Not necessarily. The wider your stance gets, the less control you have over such issues as balance and maintaining a neutral spine. So for beginners avoid a wide squat position.
The time to fall over is not when you have a few hundred kilos in your hands. So experiment with your stance using a lighter weight first. Once you’ve got a comfortable, wide stance sorted, stick with it. Remember, if your form breaks, the weight is too heavy.
The safest way to make headway in weight is by hiring a qualified personal trainer to write your program and cue your lifts.
Four: Letting it drift
One of the biggest mistakes deadlifters make is sitting (or squatting) on the same weight for too long. Keep topping up your weight on a regular basis especially when you feel you can extend your reps. By testing yourself a little at a time you will avoid those pesky plateaus.
Looking to increase your endurance? Find out how to do endurance training effectively with our exercise tips!
Five: Not varying the reps
Yes, huge weight, low reps will pack on muscle, but change it up. You should only be increasing your weight when you can competently complete the sets and reps. A good goal is to be moving fluidly through 5 reps and 5 sets before adding another weight variation. Throw 3 sets of 10 or 3 sets of 8 with a lower weight to mix it up and keep your muscles guessing.
Interested in offering the right fitness advice to clients as a qualified Personal Trainer? Our SIS40215 Complete Personal Trainer^ program would be perfect for you! Alternately, here's a range of our other specialised fitness courses. Enquire now or call 0738669512 to speak with one of our career advisors for more information!
^The Complete Personal Trainer consists of the SIS40215 Certificate IV in Fitness + entry requirement units. Please contact us for further details on the course structure.