Mar 30 04:38 2020 Christopher John Adams Print This Article

Deadlift The deadlift is a compound,  full-body lift that mainly will work your posterior chain. The main muscles used are, Hamstring Glutes Erectors spinae trapezius Grip Quads (to a lesser ...


The deadlift is a compound,Guest Posting  full-body lift that mainly will work your posterior chain. The main muscles used are,

  • Hamstring
  • Glutes
  • Erectors spinae
  • trapezius
  • Grip
  • Quads (to a lesser extent)

This article will be about how to do the conventional deadlift. 


A good place to start is to perform a vertical jump and see what stance width you naturally go with and use this stance to deadlift with. For most people, this will be around hip width. From here you can experiment and try out narrower and wider stances. Have your turned out feet out slightly.

The bar should be over the middle of your whole foot, which normally around an inch from your shins.



You grip the bar just outside of your legs. As close as you can without pushing your knees in.

There are four ways to grips the bar.

-Double overhand grip

-Mixed grip

-Hook grip



Double overhand grip

I don't recommend this and it isn't used by anyone who isn't a beginner as your grip will be the limiting factor in how much weight you can lift. You won't be able to hold enough weight to work the hamstrings, back, glutes etc

Mixed grips

The mixed grip is where you have one hand over the bar, and one hand under the bar (one forearm supinated, and one pronated).  This is a strong grip and will allow you to lift heavy weights. The negatives are that it can cause muscle imbalances. This can be solved by alternating which hands are over/under the bar. Another potential negative is it increases the chance of a nice tear with the arm that is supinated. If using this grip you need to ensure that you don't lift with your arms, that your arms are straight and your upper arm is relaxed.


Hook grip

A hook grip is another strong grip.  With the hook grip, you grab the bar with a double overhand grip, and then you wrap your fingers around your thumb, pinning it between your fingers and the bar  The positives it has over the mixed grip is that you don't have to have an arm supinated and so there isn't a risk of tearing a bicep. The negatives are that if you don't have long enough fingers you might struggle to do it. It also hurts. Eventually, you'll deaden the nerves in your thumb, but it will hurt in the time before this happens.



With straps, you can use a double overhand grip which prevents all the potential problems with mixed grips. The negatives are you won't be working your grip as much. A lot of people are against using straps. I think this is silly, you can always do grip work after which doesn't take much time.  If you're a powerlifter I wouldn't wear straps as you aren't allowed to use them in competition.


The setup

Step 1:  Set your feet with the bar about an inch from the bar. The bar should be over the middle of the foot. 

Step 2:  To grab the bar, bend over by pushing your hips back with a very slight bend in the knees.  You should feel a stretch and tension in your hamstrings.

Step 3:  Take your deep, diaphragmatic breath, tense your abs like you're about to take a punch to the stomach, and turn your elbows so they are pointing behind you.

Step 4:  Push your hips further back, down, and pull your chest high. your hamstrings would feel loaded and ready to pull. 

The height of your hips varies depending on your arms, torso, femurs, and tibias.

Step 5: Pull by pushing with your legs Think about pushing the floor away instead of picking up the bar for the start of the lift. 

Step 5: Once the bar is moving off the floor you want to push your hips through to lock out. Think shoulders back and hips forward. Don't hyperextend at the top of the lift. All you need to do to complete the lift is for your spine, hips, and knees to be straight. Don't go beyond this.


There are other ways to set up for the deadlift, but this is a good way to start. Once you've been deadlifting for a while you can experiment with other ways to find what's the best way for you.


Touch and go vs Resetting between reps

People have become big and strong using both methods.  Some people argue that it’s better to reset between every rep because when you're doing a one rep max you're starting dead start so you should practice that with every rep. If you're a powerlifter, I would reset between every set so you can practice it. For everyone else, touch and go is fine. Touch and go is a way of overloading the muscles as you'll be able to do more reps with the same weight. Touch and go forces you to do the eccentric part of the exercise which is useful for building muscle. Just make sure you don't bounce the reps. All my clients reset between reps as it's harder to muck up. 

Head position and where to look.

Try and keep your neck in line with your spine. I tend to look slightly down. I don't recommend looking up high.

Should I wear chalk?

Yes if you're not wearing straps. Chalk will help prevent the bar from slipping out of your hands and improve your grip on the bar.

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Christopher John Adams
Christopher John Adams

Chris Adams

Personal Trainer

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