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It’s no secret the ‘Deadlift’ is constantly mentioned as one of the best exercises to do in the gym…

So what makes it so special? And, where do we start?

I’d like to provide you with an easy to follow, step-by-step guide on how to Deadlift correctly..

So, let’s dive straight in…

Why Deadlift?

Great question…. The Deadlift is one of the most effective, full body and compound exercise’s for developing strength.

Put simply, the deadlift exercise gives your body a strong foundation (think like a house being built on cement!) which helps improve your posture, movement, athleticism, muscle mass and prevention of injury… Just to name a few!!

Here are the muscle groups which the Deadlift strengthens…. all in one movement, Yikes!





Now you’re probably eager to pull on your best lycra outfit and head straight for the lifting area at your local gym…. Just hang on a moment…

It’s important to hit the breaks and perfect the basics first…..

Check out Personal Trainer Richmond Ferrer as he takes us through a quick run down of ‘Do’s and Do Not’s’ with the Deadlift movement:

Richmond makes this look way too easy….

So lets break it down even further….

There are many different kinds of variations of this movement.  The most common are:

1) Conventional Deadlift – Your hands are just outside your feet on the barbell, standing at about hip width apart (We will focus on the conventional deadlift for this article).


2) Sumo Deadlift – Your hands are inside your feet with a wider stance.

3) Hex or Trap Bar Bar Deadlifts – Use a specialty bar made just for deadlifting which changes the biomechanics.

4) Snatch Grip – Your hands will use a wide grip like in the Snatch.

5) Romanian Deadlift -These are variations that are all commonly confused.

6) Deficit Deadlift / Rack Pulls: These are movements that increase the range of motion or decrease the range of motion (respectively) and are used as accessory movements.

7) Dumbbell Deadlift Variations: Using dumbbells is sometimes used by beginners and advanced lifters for the benefits of more flexibility within the movement… Its also a good variation too!

Excited to get started?….

Other than your shorts, T-shirt, water & awesome attitude, here is what you’ll need for a Barbell Deadlift:

1. Barbell (definition here)


Note: Woman’s barbells are normally 15kgs & Men’s are 20kgs in weight

 2. Barbell Plates (definition here)


Note: Plates can also be black in colour.

3. Deadlift Platform


If your gym doesn’t have a platform, find a safe place to lift which has rubber flooring.

Does that help?

Ok good! now we can move on to the Five simple steps to get you lifting like a champ!

Preparation Phase

Warm up: Make sure you do at least 10 minutes of warming your body up in preparation for doing any exercise, especially a Deadlift… Click me to get some advice! 

Set up: Set up your deadlift by placing the weights on each side of the barbell… Click me to get some advice!

Lifting Phase

Step 1- Place your shins close to the bar, but not directly on the bar. Place your shins around an inch behind the bar and perform a hip hinge until your hands can grab the barbell.

Step 2: Before you pull the barbell off the floor, you are going to “pull the slack out of the bar”. Example: If there is 135 pounds on the bar, only pull with 134 pounds of force. (This will put your lats on tension.) Also, make sure your chin is tucked (as if you were making a double-chin); this will ensure you maintain a neutral spine.

Step 3: Force your knees out against your arms. This will create torque at the hips.

Step 4: To initiate the movement, act as if you’re “leg pressing” the floor and stand up straight. Do NOT over arch (hyperextend) your low back at lockout. Your body should be in a perfectly straight line at lockout, while focussing on flexing these three specific muscles – lats, glutes, quads.

Step 5: To return the bar to the floor, perform an RDL. Once the bar reaches just below your knee caps, you can drop the bar straight down.

This video from Alan Thrall will show you each step that we’ve mentioned above so you get a visual understanding of the technique involved at each stage…. He’s a bearded scary looking man, but don’t be put off, he definitely knows his stuff!

Thats it!…

You now have the basic understanding and technique guide to make you a successful Deadlifting King!! Practice makes perfect as they say so start off with minimal amounts of weight on the bar…. The best way to learn compound movements is to get the help and advice of a professional within the industry.

Make sure the Personal Trainer has a degree in human performance or exercise science with additional certifications in strength & conditioning (CSCS), Olympic Lifting and  at least 5 years of experience coaching these kinds of movements. There are brilliant Personal Trainers in Dubai who can show you safe technique, offer coaching tips and feedback on your biomechanics..

Get in touch if you’d like some Free advice and an assessment on your deadlift technique at the Smart Fitness Gym in Dubai: Info@smartfitness.ae | +971 4 438 5055

Safe lifting!

The Smart Team




Smart Fitness

Author Smart Fitness

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