The 5 most common deadlift mistakes – and how to correct them

08-05-2018
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Deadlift is an essential mass-builder exercise because it stimulates a whole lot of muscles. Like every other essential exercise, you gotta learn how to do deadlifts properly. There are a lot of mistakes to avoid, so we gathered the top 5! We didn't only gather the mistakes, we also ranked them.


At first glance deadlift is the easiest exercise ever: you just bow down to the barbell, and you lift it up. But it's much more complicated than this, as the exercise stimulates a lot of muscles at once, and if you are using the wrong technique, you can get badly injured.

1. Using too much weight

At deadlifts, one can lift relatively big weights because almost every muscle is being activated during the movement. Using too much weight is on the top of our list because it is dangerous even when you know how to execute the exercise properly. The harder the exercise feels to you, the greater the chances of losing the perfect form of execution. This is not an exercise where you should do cheat reps. Not at all.

Solution: if you feel that you cannot pull up the weight anymore, do not try to pull the weight at all costs. Leave your ego behind, get in starting position slowly and perfectly, release the bar, take some plates off of it and finish your set with lighter weights.

2. Your back is rounded

It is a deadly sin, really. So much that we shouldn't even mention it, but we have to because it's still a very common mistake. Not keeping your back in a neutral position during the exercise can kill your lower back, spine, and almost everything that is needed to be able to walk.

Solution: never allow yourself to round your back like a cat during the exercise., even for a brief moment. Keep your back in a fixed, neutral position until the bar reaches the level of your knees, and do not lean back when you stand up straight.

3. You mess it up even before the start

A lot of beginners position themselves too far from the bar (and vice versa), and they start the exercise from there. What happens is after they lift the bar, they have to pull the weight inwards, close to their body. It is literally impossible to do this manoeuvre without hitting your lower back with unnecessary and harmful tension.

Solution: the bar should be right underneath your scapula and close to your shins at the starting point. You're doing it right when the barbell is moving up and down vertically, not back and forth horizontally.

4. You pull the weight up too fast

You can also easily injure yourself when you try to pick the weight up as fast as possible from the ground from a relaxed position. If you do this, you do not give yourself enough time to create the necessary stiffness in your lower back. Using this technique will make your back hurt for sure.

Solution: when you start to pick the weight up from the floor, you will hear a "clicking" sound. This indicates that the bar is making contact with the top of the rim in the hole of the plates. Until you hear this sound there is no resistance at all, and that's no good. By the way, your leg shouldn't be straight at the start of the movement, you have to bend them (your knees should be lower than your hips), and you have to straighten them out gradually as you stand up.

An extra tip: if you are not flexible enough and you can't reach the bar with a neutral back, then you should heighten the bar a bit: put 20kg plates under the plates that touch the floor.

5. Your arms are helping too much

It's a very common mistake if you let your arms help to pull the bar up too much. That's a problem because your lats won't do enough work, therefore you will be weaker (your lats are stronger than your arms). The good news is, this can only happen when you bend your arms.

Megoldás: you have one job. Keep your arms straight, keep your elbows locked. Always remember, your arms only have two roles in the deadlift: to hold the bar steady and close to your body.


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