Improve Your Deadlifts
Nurse Susan provides five tips to help you improve your Deadlifts.
Second to squats, deadlifts are probably the most popular compound exercise you can do. Because they are a compound movement, deadlifts work for multiple muscle groups at once. This means they help you increase your overall calorie burn. The technique used in a deadlift also transfers directly over to real life. To reap all the benefits of deadlifts, though, you need to make sure you are making the most out of them. Listed below are five tips that will help you improve your deadlifts and increase your results.
Use Good Form
First, good form is essential. Taking the time to learn proper techniques will not only help you avoid injury but will also help you increase the amount of weight you can pull, which will lead to better results in a shorter period. If you are new to deadlifting, start with a light barbell. Do not be embarrassed about not being able to lift heavy yet. You will look sillier lifting with bad form than you will be lifting lighter weights.
Keep these cues in mind while you are deadlifting to make sure your form is on point:
Use Your Glutes and Quads
Most people think of deadlifts as purely a hamstring exercise. While they do work the hamstring, you also need to make sure you are engaging your glutes and quads as well.
How do you engage your quads? When you start to pull the weight off of the floor, drive your feet into the ground. This activates the quads and helps you stay tight during your lift.
As for the glutes, they play a big part in helping you pull more weight. This makes sense if you stop and think about it. After all, the gluteus maximus is the body's largest muscle. Use your glutes in your deadlift by squeezing them when you push your hips forward near the lockout at the top of your pull. This will give you more power and make the lockout easier.
Change Up Your Stance
There are many more ways to do deadlifts than just the conventional stance. By changing up your stance every few weeks, you can strengthen different muscle groups and continue to challenge yourself.
Some other deadlift stances you can try out include:
Work on Your Grip Strength
Improving your grip strength will significantly improve your deadlift performance. It will help you increase the amount of weight you can pull without engaging your biceps. You will also be able to pull the bar up faster since you will not be worried about it slipping out of your hands.
Improving your grip strength will also improve every other exercise you do in the gym - at least those that involve holding a barbell or dumbbells. Think about it: if you can squeeze the bar harder while doing a bench press, you will also be able to activate the muscles in the arms and chest better. This will increase the amount of force you can exert, which will lead to heavier lifts.
To improve your grip strength, you can use a special tool like an adjustable hand grip strengthener. These tools are great because you can use them at home or on the go to training your grip strength even when you are out of the gym.
When you are training, you can also incorporate these tips to work on your grip at the same time.
A proper warm-up will help you avoid injury while also improving your overall performance. Start with 5-10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise like walking or light jogging. The goal is to increase your body temperature.
Then, move on to dynamic stretching and some bodyweight exercises like squats and bird dogs to prime the muscles. Static stretching before lifting is not recommended - it can lead to an injury since you will not be familiar with the new range of motion you have established.
Once you have finished stretching, you do plyometric exercises like box jumps to activate the central nervous system and continue priming the muscles. Do not do a ton of reps - remember, this is still a warm-up. Three sets of 3-5 reps will work. Finally, you are ready to move on to your lifts.
Start with an empty barbell or very lightweight, then slowly increase the weight from there to warm your body up and maintain good form.
Keep these tips in mind, and you will be a deadlifting master before you know it!
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About the Author
Nurse Susan has always been passionate about helping people heal. After she retired from a lifelong career as a nurse, that passion did not go away. She loves to use her expertise to write about the best ways to keep you and your family healthy, active, and happy.