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Common Mistakes with the Deadlift

There is not a more honest lift than the deadlift. It truly is a representation of full body strength that is compiled of muscular synergy, all working in a sweet, brutal, dizzy, blistered hand, tired legs and back harmony.


With a lift like this, mistakes are easy to come by. The slightest mistake can take away a lot of pounds from a lift and cause injury. Remember, a deadlift is a full body workout all packaged up in one single lift.


What are some mistakes to look for?


Here is a short list:


Too Much Weight


This is the most frequent mistake and the most obvious, of course. If you have too much weight on the bar your form and everything else will look jacked up. Check your ego at the door when you know you are going to do deadlifts. Do not worry about trying to impress anyone because the very fact you are doing deadlifts is impressive enough. Keep the weight heavy but manageable. Your back and ego will thank you for it.


The “Lean”


This is when people either lean too far forward or are too focused on keeping their back straight. Either way your lift will look weird and also take away your power and could cause injury. If a trainer says to keep your back straight, this can be misinterpreted. The right thing to say is keep a neutral spine which means your spine in all inline even though your torso is leaning forward. And in regard to the lean forward, make sure the shoulders are not over the knees or toes. This will force you to bend more at the hips and knees, getting the butt down and keeping the back safe.




This can be spoke about all day but know there are two primary grips with a deadlift: hook and conventional/overhand. Hook grip will allow more pull strength due to the grip being stronger. For rep work on deadlift it is recommended to do overhand for balance in the back and even the arms. Make sure the grip (whichever one you choose) is locked in, and the bar is not hanging from your finger-tips. No false gripping either. This is when the thumb is not wrapped around the bar and you are basically lifting with bunched up finger which also can take away from the lift. Wrap your mitts around the bar, grip it like crazy and go!


Foot Wear


You might be thinking to yourself “really?”, but this a real thing. Having shoes that are too cushioned in the sole can actually take away from your deadlift. Shoes with really high arches in the as well are not recommended. Shoes with a harder, flat sole provide your feet with much more stabilization and help engage all those muscle in the feet and legs to pull with max force. Get a pair of Chuck Taylors or look really tough and just go barefoot!


The “Hitch”


It’s a word that makes powerlifters cringe. The hitch is not so much a mistake as opposed to being a revealer of a mistake in your lift. A hitch is when the knees lock, unlock, and relock to get through the lift. This is mostly in part to the weight being too heavy. It also can be that the rep is not clean going up and the bar’s path needs to be more inline. A “Buffalo Bar” is used a lot in these cases. A Buffalo Bar is a long, floppy bar that is used by powerlifters to help increase the fluidness of their lifts. If a lift is not smooth and a hitch occurs, the bar will develop a reverb of energy and it will begin to bounce. Deadlifts are hard enough when the bar is still, imagine it when it is bouncing up and down in your hand.


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