By Aris Demarco
The deadlift is perhaps the best way to demonstrate pure full body strength. Like a big squat, a big deadlift is generally representative of a strong lifter overall. Also like the squat, the deadlift involves almost all the major muscle groups of the body—the entire torso, including the stomach and upper and lower back; the entire posterior chain; the legs, and the grip. As such it is a phenomenal developmental exercise especially when we take into consideration all of its variants: conventional, sumo, snatch grip, one arm or one leg, pulling from varying heights or with different bars or implements, and more interesting ways of lifting a barbell from the floor like zercher or Jefferson lifts. Finally, the first way the deadlift is taught and for many, the only way the deadlift will ever be done is in the hinge pattern—one of the more important basic movements that a human body can perform.
Despite the massive potential for variation in deadlift form, there are a few basic rules that should always be followed to make the lift both safe and mechanically efficient. And… guess what… plenty of people don’t know about them or ignore them completely. We try to instill these general guidelines as soon as possible in all of our clients; but when I venture outside the most common mistakes I see are as follows:
Starting the lift with the hips too low
Starting the lift with the bar too far away from the shins
Loss of torso integrity