Deadlift 101: Five Tips to Mastering the “King of Lifts” and Preventing Injury.

Missed the last workshop at the clinic on perfecting your deadlift and avoiding injury?

Here are 5 tips shared at the workshop by Physiotherapist Nate Mundy of Alaia Physiotherapy and Strength Coach Sean Alt of Innovative Fitness-Telus Garden.

1.  Hop to It

To get a general idea of where your feet should be when setting up for the conventional deadlift, perform a few hops on the spot. Where your feet naturally land is generally where your feet should be for the deadlift.

Of course, if you feel that you need a little adjusting from this position, go ahead and do it – whether it’s having a little more toe-out or maybe it’s having to step a little wider, adjust as needed. All bodies are created differently and your lifting position should reflect what works best for you.

2. Cover those Bows

Now that we have our feet set, we want to get the bar in the right spot. Too far away and it’s more likely that you’ll end up injuring your back. Too close and you’ll just end up shredding the front of your shins (even more so than what usually happens with deadlifting).

A good cue for this is that when you look down at the bar it should cover where the bow is when your shoelaces are tied.

 3. Brace, obviously

No surprise here, but we couldn’t leave this out. Of course you’re going to want a well braced core when performing the deadlift, but how do you do it?

As you’re standing over the bar squeeze your glutes tightly. This helps to level the pelvis and draw many of us back from our anteriorly rotated pelvic position. Next, take a big breath in and then forcefully push it out. By doing this it not only helps to engage the abdominals, but it also helps to prevent the ribs from flaring out.

*Note: from this engaged position you should still be able to breathe while maintaining the core rigidity you just achieved.

4. Create your Triangle

Once you’ve got your core braced and have your hands around the bar you want to create your triangle.

This is seen from the side-view and is created by the torso, thigh and arm. It should look like an equilateral triangle if you’re doing it right.  Now that you’ve got your triangle, engage your lats by imagining you’re squeezing oranges under your armpits. This also helps to add rigidity to your brace.

 5. Take out the Slack

Now, before you think about just ripping that bar off the ground after all that great set up, you’ve got one last thing to do: take the slack out of the bar.

All this requires is a light pull on the bar until you hear that *clink* which indicates that the barbell is now firmly against the top of plate. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready for liftoff!