The deadlift is one of the best exercises for the back and legs. A deadlift workout is considered a classic exercise and has been part of some of the most basic weight training routines. It is a compound movement that primarily targets the glutes and hamstrings, two powerful muscles, but the deadlift also involves your core, quadriceps, shoulders and back muscles. It is also a very practical exercise since it mimics movements that you would do normally under real world conditions, suchas picking up something from the ground. There are many variations to the deadlift, and you can choose which one suits you best. The most important thing to keep in mind is proper deadlift form, to prevent any injury. Here are some deadlift workout variations, techniques and benefits, but first, let us take a look the classic deadlift.
Classic Deadlift Form
1. Go near the bar with hip width stance and your feet slightly pointing out.
2. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed on both feet.
3. Now bend at your waist and grab the bar with a width slightly wider than your shins.
4. As you hold the bar raise your chest and tighten your hips.
5. Breath in deeply.
6. With your back locked in start to pull the bar up.
7. You must now shift your weight into the heels of both feet, driving them into the floor.
8. As you come up, your legs should straighten and hips should come forward. Extend your knees and hips simultaneously.
9. If you did the move properly your shoulders should be directly over the bar. Keep your body tight, chest out standing tall and proud.
10. Now start lowering the bar back the same way it came up by pushing your hips back.
11. Project your chest forward and maintain a rigid flat back.
12. Keeping your legs straight, once the bar reaches the top of the knees; bend them until the bar reaches the floor.
Straight Leg Deadlift
A popular variation to the classic deadlift is the straight leg version. You should use perfect form to avoid any lower back injury with the straight leg deadlift. This version places the primary concentration of stress on the back.
1. With a shoulder width stance approach the bar.
2. Bend your knees and bend over with straight lower back. Grab the barbell with a shoulder width grip using an overhand or mixed grip.
3. Lift the barbell to a standing position.
4. Now, with knees straight, lower the bar toward the top of your feet keeping them close to your shins, by bending hips.
5. When your hips can no longer flex, bend in the waist as the bar approaches the top of your feet. Always keep your legs straight.
6. Next, lift the bar back by extending your waist and hip forward until standing fully upright.
7. Pull your shoulders back, chest out, standing proud.
The Sumo Deadlift
The Sumo deadlift is derived from the classic deadlift but with the legs spread far apart to the sides, resembling the stance of a sumo wrestler, hence the name. This variation places more emphasis on the legs and hips and puts less stress on your back. When executing the sumo deadlift concentrate on keeping your knees out wide. Push your feet outward to the sides, visualizing trying to spread the floor with your feet. Bring your hips forward as you do this. Here’s how to do it.
1. Bring or approach the barbell until it is against your shins.
2. Standing with feet about twice your shoulder’s width, point your toes outward at an angle.
3. Now, bend at the hips and knees, grabbing the center of the bar with your hands around a foot apart with palms facing you.
4. With a firm straight back, pull your torso back, and then upward, thrusting your hips forward.
5. Stand straight with the barbell, squeezing your glute muscles as you go through the entire movement.
6. Now lower the bar back to the floor keeping it close to your body.
The Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian Deadlift is great for developing strength and muscle mass in the hamstrings. This version of the deadlift is simple, but can easily be done with bad form. Here is a step by step instructional to teach you correct technique. You must have a neutral spine, hips pushing back and weight on the heels to feel this exercise properly. Use moderate weights only.
1. Start by getting into a standard deadlift stance. With your feet hip width apart and with a double overhand grip, lift the bar up and hold it in the hang position.
2. From this position unlock your knees, giving a slight bend akin to if you were to dive in a pool, but less pronounced.
3. Lower the weight from your hips. Driving your ass back. As you lower the bar you should feel the stretch in the hamstrings. Stop at mid shin. Keep your back arched.
4. Drive yourself back up pulling with your hamstrings and glutes, as you push your heels to the ground.
5. When you get back up, maintain an erect position chest out, knees slightly bent, sticking your glutes slightly out.
Make the deadlift, in any of its variations, part of your leg routine. It is hard to beat for hamstring and glute development. Combined with the squat it forms a complete lower body exercise.