The Ins And Outs of Deadlift (And How to Avoid Injury)

simonhopes Dec 29 2016

The deadlift is often hailed as one of the kings of compound exercises as it will target multiple body parts such as rhomboids, lats, trapezius, lower back, forearms, hamstring, glutes, and abs.

By performing the deadlift, you will be able to build full body strength and add lean muscle mass to throughout your entire body.

However, the deadlift is also one of the most feared exercise as people are afraid of getting injuries from the deadlift. The truth is, you will not get any injury if you perform the deadlift with proper form. On the other hand, if your form is poor, you will succumb to injuries from any exercises, not just the deadlift.

In this article, we will look into the ins and outs of the deadlift, along with the proper form of performing the deadlift where I will break it down step by step.

How to Perform the Deadlift - Step by Step Guide

Let’s look at the 8-steps to performing the conventional deadlift:

Starting Position

Step 1 - Start with your feet slightly narrower than shoulder width, with your toe pointing slightly outwards (ideally 15°).

Step 2 - Place the barbell horizontally under the middle of your feet. This way, the barbell will be close to your body and allow you to have solid stability while pulling the bar up later.

Step 3 - Bend your knees while pushing your hips backward. If you do this right, you should feel some tightness in your hamstrings.

Step 4 - Grab the bar with a double overhand grip with your hand’s position just outside of your shins.

Time to Pull

Step 5 - Explode the weight off the floor by pushing through your heels and keep your lower back slightly arched. Make sure your shoulders and hips are ascending together.

Step 6 - At the top of the range of movement, activate your glutes by squeezing it and stand upright.

The Eccentric Phase

Step 7 - Lower the bar by first sliding your hips back and then slowly lower the bar back down to the floor with a controlled eccentric movement.

Start Again

Step 8 - Begin again by repeating step 1-7 with the bar firmly on the ground as the starting position. Don’t try to be fancy and bounce the bar off the ground. Lifting with momentum does not count!


As you lift heavier weights for your deadlift, you can switch from a double overhand grip in step 4 to a mixed grip as it will provide you with more stability and help you lift heavier.

Here’s a video that perfectly demonstrates the deadlift movement from top to bottom.

Before, you even think of going heavy for the deadlift, make sure your form is proper to prevent any unwanted injuries. If you are at home now, practice the 8-steps above with a broomstick before performing the deadlift in the gym.

What Not to Do in The Deadlift

Here are the 3 things you should avoid to prevent injuries while performing the deadlift:

#1 - Rounding

Don’t round your back. Keep a slight arched on your lower back while pulling the bar up.

If you have too much weight than you can handle on the bar, the chances of you rounding your back will be higher as you try to pull the bar up. Be sure to keep your ego in check and progress at your own pace.

#2 - Hyper-extension

Hyperextending at the top will cause unnecessary stress in your lower back.

Just stand tall and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.

#3 – Incorrect Bar Placement

Keep the bar close to you throughout the movement as this will help to prevent rounding of your back.


Most people see the deadlift as picking a barbell up from the ground and then slam it down. After reading this article, you will know that it is not as simple and there are many tiny but intricate details involved in each step (don’t you just love the deadlift).

Be sure to look again at the 8-steps to perform the deadlift before you attempt it yourself. As always, start light and steadily work your way up from there.

If you think your form is not right, ask someone to record you while you perform the deadlift, then look back at the 8-steps again and see where it went wrong. Fix your form and you will stay injury free.

Start doing the deadlift properly and you will see substantial gains throughout your whole body.

Over to You

Let me know in the comments below your thoughts on the deadlift?

Gym Finder APP

Thank you for reading our article. Let’s us take this time to introduce the ESQ2 Fitness on Demand Gym Finder APP.  The E2 app addresses all these issues and has designed an app that offers fitness on demand. It’s a pay-per-class system that removes the need for a gym membership.