If done correctly, the deadlift is safe and super-effective. It's one of the most productive dumbbell exercises. But poor execution, no warm-up, overtraining, and excessive weight can all cause injuries.
First you have to learn the correct execution, only then can you go up with the weight.
Flexible tendons are required for execution. Women may have shortened Achiles' tendons from wearing high heels. If you don't have the flexibility you need to train it before you start deadlifting.
In traditional deadlifts, you start with your legs bent (medium distance), straight arms that lie outside the legs, a straight back, and the hips must be much lower than the shoulders. The weight is then lifted off the floor until you are standing upright.
Preparation and positioning
Deadlifts should be done with 20kg discs on each side whenever possible.
However, if this weight is too much, you have to use a lower weight, but make sure that the distance between the barbell and the floor is exactly as high as with 20kg plates.
Furthermore, it is particularly important to ensure that you do not use shoes with heels (e.g. sports shoes where the heel is higher than the ball of the foot), as this promotes execution errors and thus the risk of injury.
It is best to have shoes with low heels and a firm sole so that you don't slide back and forth.
You should also place the dumbbell on a non-slip surface to avoid rolling back and forth between sets.
The feet are hip-width apart and the toes are turned outwards.
The hands should just touch the outside of the lower legs at the bottom of the movement.
When deadlifting, the lower back must not be curved and the upper body should not be leaned too far forward.
The heels must be firmly on the floor so that you can stand securely throughout the exercise without stumbling forward.
You shouldn't stand too far or too close to the weight. If the bar hits your shins as you move up, you are standing too close.
However, if you stand too far away, the weight will be carried too far away from your legs and you will put tremendous pressure on your lower back. This increases the risk of injury.
Stand so that the bar slides along your legs as it moves upwards.
The position of the arms is closely related to how you stand on the barbell.
These only connect the upper body to the weight without playing an active role. You should be held straight without bending your elbows.
When deadlifting, your arms should be nearly vertical throughout the exercise.
While holding the bar, your left hand should reach under the bar and your right hand over the bar. After a set, the position of the hands should be changed in order to achieve the most even load possible.
Both feet must be the same distance from the bar. This means that no foot may be put forward or withdrawn, otherwise you will sway.
With your feet and the barbell in the right position, you can start the first repetition.
The arms are on the sides of the body, ready to go straight down. The back is strengthened. Now go down until your hands touch the barbell. Both legs and hips are bent. The weight is always pressed over the heels and not over the ball of the foot.
Jerky movements must be avoided!
In this lowest position, you stand up with your legs bent. The hips must be much lower than the shoulders. The barbell is close to your shins and your body weight is on your heels.
The deadlift is performed with the back and legs together. The movement must not come from the legs or the back alone!
The angle at which you bend your legs mainly depends on the length of your arms and legs in relation to your upper body.
For example, if we take a person with relatively short limbs and a long upper body, they have to bend their legs much more than someone with an inverted anatomy.
During the lift, the head, shoulders, and hips must remain in their relative positions and the back must remain straight at all times.
The first part of the upward movement is that the weight is lifted with the shoulders. (cf. shrug) whereby it is not moved from the ground if it is not an extremely light weight. This will spread your back into a stable position.
Then the weight is moved up by pressing with the legs (over the heels) and at the same time pulling from the back.
This sequence of movements must be gentle, because every jerky movement increases the risk of injury.
During the entire course, the view must always be directed straight ahead (jaw parallel to the ground). You should never look at the ground.
During this upward movement, exhale slowly and keep the weight along your legs.
Under no circumstances should the weight move away from the body!
In the last phase of the upward movement, extra care should be taken to keep the shoulders back, because when they are facing forward, the back becomes crooked and the risk of injury increases.
At the highest point of the movement you have to stay straight.
Under no circumstances should you bend over (hyperextension) and make a hollow back.
Now the weight is slowly lowered to the ground by a downward movement.
Here the knees bend and the upper body moves forward slightly.
First you let the weight slide down to your knees and then bend forward just enough to get the barbell over your knees. Then the bar is brought down as close to the shins as possible to relieve the back.
The entire downward movement should be carried out in a controlled manner and last at least 2-3 seconds.
The sumo deadlift
The bar is held between the legs with the arms.
For some people, because of their body structure, the sumo deadlift is more suitable than the traditional deadlift.
Athletes who prefer a wide stance on the squat with good leverage in the process will likely prefer sumo deadlifts.
The main factor here is also: keep a straight back!
The sumo style allows the back to be kept straight to a much lower point than is possible with a normal deadlift.
The sumo style doesn't bend the upper body so far forward and the legs are much further apart.
It should also be noted that the barbell is gripped much tighter.
This type of deadlift may seem easier because the knees don't get in the way because of the wide stance.
Otherwise, normal deadlift rules should be followed. The movements must never be jerky!
As a beginner, you should first learn the normal deadlift and then switch to the sumo style (if this is an advantage) in order to learn and understand the basics.
The trap bar deadlift
Trap-Bar, developed by Al Gerad, is a considerable aid for the deadlift and is far superior to a barbell, as the spine is relieved and the arms and hands are brought into an almost perfect position.
Furthermore, the bar is no longer in the way of the legs when moving up and down. The legs can thus be better involved in the exercise.
You can find animations for the deadlift on many English-language sites:
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