My Favorite Deadlift Cues
The deadlift is one of the best strength building exercises out there. It challenges the body as well as the mind. It builds strength it the hamstrings, hips, glutes, lower back, as well as the upper back. Some people view it as brute strength. Picking up a bar off the ground can’t possibly be difficult? It is. There are plenty of moving parts to the movement and is a pretty technical lift. Sometimes major adjustments need to be made to your form while some require fine adjustments. Below are 3 of my favorite deadlift cues
Pressure on the heels
One of the biggest mistakes I see when people learn the deadlift is that they lift their hips first followed by their back. This is where injuries occur. If we straighten our knees too soon it causes our hips to lift which turns the movement into a back extension. Lower back injuries are common when the lift is executed this way. One way to combat this is to think of the deadlift as one smooth, stable motion. If we push our heels down to the ground, we eliminate the possibility of our hips rising first. This also creates a contact point on the ground that helps the motion. By pushing into the ground we stay tight and focused throughout the lift. One way to learn this is to put a piece of foam under your feet as you lift. Remember, our strength starts at our feet.
When first starting to lift, I would hyperextend my neck as I lifted. This is not optimal. Anyone who has had any kind of experience at Body Elite knows the 3 points of contact. If our head is out of position it causes our back to hyperextend and be prone to injury. Instead of extending the neck, pick a point in front of you that accommodates those 3 points of contact. Place something on the spot. Focus on that point during your lift and stay strong throughout the lift. Back injuries will diminish and progress will be made.
Squeeze the Glutes
The final cue I like to use is for the final part of the lift, the lockout. In a competition, if a lift is not finished and locked out, it will not count. Some people find this difficult as they are so used to going through their reps too fast, something that I’m guilty of as well. At the very top of the lift you should squeeze your glutes as hard as you can. This causes the hips to move forward into the most stable position.
Sean Willitts is an ACE certified personal trainer. He graduated from Kutztown University in 2015 with a bachelor’s is sport management and a minor in fitness. Including training at Body Elite, he is also a record holding powerlifter. He uses his practical experience and knowledge to help his clients achieve their strength and fitness goals.
pc: Victor Freitas @victorfreitas