How to Do a Deadlift: Techniques, Benefits, Variations

Deadlift is one of the main exercises for building muscle mass and density throughout the back and legs. Any serious bodybuilding athlete performs this exercise. Properly covered, it will withstand a great deal of adverse conditions. But with the wrong technique or trying to lift too much weight, serious injuries can result.

It is advisable to first master the correct technique of the exercise and then increase the weights. It is important to always perform the exercise correctly, even in the warm-up series. Some flexibility (especially the Achilles tendons, the muscles of the back of the thighs and the gluteal muscles) is required for the correct performance of deadlifts, if such is missing, it is recommended that the trainee do stretching before performing the exercise.

When you increase the weight, wicks can be used, as the heavy weight will tire the forearm before the back is loaded and the grip will not last until the back is completely exhausted. A weight lifting belt can also be used, which gives extra stability to the lower back. But its use should be limited to heavy series, so as not to accustom the muscles to the belt.

The width and type of grip are not important for the load on the muscles, so choose the option that is most comfortable for you. The width of the stride should be about the width of your shoulders. Ordinary deadlifts strain and tighten the erectors, glutes, quadriceps, back of the thighs, lateral and trapezius muscles and forearm.

  • Straight Leg Deadlift – Also puts strain on the lower back, but primarily stresses the back of the thighs and buttocks. Here the weight is usually less than that of ordinary deadlift. This option can be performed on the day for the legs, before or after the hip flexion. There are two types of traction with outstretched legs: ordinary (classic) and a variant in which the bar slides on the legs. In normal traction, the weight hangs freely at all times and in the lower position (when you are bent) it is 50-60 cm in front of your feet. Ordinary traction causes the waist to strain due to the center of gravity being pushed forward. Therefore, the more preferred option with outstretched legs is one in which you move the weight all the time close to the legs and do not allow it to move forward, even in a lower position. So you will have to work a little with your hands to guide it. This option puts less strain on the waist. Regardless of which of the two options you choose – traction with outstretched legs loads the muscles equally. The difference is only in the tension of the waist.
  • Sumo deadlift – Widely used by some triathletes. The legs are spread wide, the feet pointing outwards. In this way, the legs and buttocks are mainly loaded with less involvement of the back. The grip is narrower than the usual type of traction.

  • Upper (partial) deadlift – The performance of only the upper part of the movement is oriented towards a greater load on the upper back and trapezius muscles.
  • Deadlift with dumbbells – The technique is like a normal deadlift. This type is easier to implement.

  • Stand by the barbell, feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the bar a little wider than the width of the legs. Bend your knees, lower your buttocks, back straight. During the exercise, the head is straight forward and the gaze is directed forward and slightly upward.
  • When standing up, take the weight first with the muscles of the legs and buttocks to include the muscles of the back in the next stage. Keep your weight close to your body and never look down.
  • Immediately after straightening the body, relax the shoulders down and tense the entire back and buttocks muscles. Do not lean back, do not pull your shoulders back.
  • Slowly and in a controlled manner return to the starting position.


  • Deadlifts can put a significant strain on the waist, especially with heavy weights and improper performance. Until you get used to the movement, it is recommended to do the exercise with light weights.

  • Perform the exercises slowly and precisely, without rocking the body. Keep your back straight at all times. Otherwise, you will easily get an injury to either the lower back or the spine, which is significantly strained and very vulnerable. If you cannot maintain the weight with your back straight, reduce it.
  • Look ahead all the time. If you bend or raise your head high, you have the same risk of spinal injuries, although not as great as shaking your body and squatting.
  • Do not involve your hands in pulling the weight. They just have to hold it. Stand at the expense of the buttocks and hip flexors.
  • If you do traction by squeezing your legs, bend them to a position where your thighs and calves are at right angles. Do not bend your legs anymore, as you will turn the exercise into squats.

  • Do not stretch your legs completely in the upper position. This will put unnecessary strain on the knees and will relieve the load on the muscles. Stretch your legs almost completely, but not completely.
  • If you do traction with outstretched legs, do not bend too much, especially if you use heavy weights. Some bodybuilders even prefer to do push-ups on a bench so that they can bend more. But the more you bend, the more the cross is loaded. Relax to an almost horizontal slope – down becomes dangerous.
  • Always warm up well, especially before heavy batches. The load on both the muscles and the joints is very high, so both are easily injured.

Traction is an excellent exercise that develops the strength and mass of the buttocks, waist and hip flexors. These are its main functions. It can be useful for bodybuilders at any level of development. But since it is a dangerous exercise, it is best not to include it in your workout if you are a beginner.

You can “try” it only from time to time, with small weights. Release it only after you have done about 3 months of experience in the gym. Do not do this if you are recovering from an injury or are predisposed to it. Where you include it in your workout depends on your personal choice. Thrust is usually included as a last exercise either in the back workout (because it puts a strain on the waist) or in the leg workout (because it also puts a strain on the hip flexors).

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