How to do deadlifts

How to do deadlifts - main image

Learning of grip strength, mixed grip styles, deadlift variations and proper deadlift form to nail deadlifts today

Overhand grip, double overhand grip, proper form – if you don’t know what any of this means, it can all sound a little offputting. However, just like feeling the power of progressing in the gym, the power of learning and developing is just as present in little research methods like this post.

Muscle groups are like areas of learning. You want to target certain types to unlock different areas of growth, abilities and goal-setting potential. So, if we’re here to learn about deadlifts, then you’re about to determine the potential shape and strength of your back just by reading the below passages.


Deadlifts are a compound exercise meant to target your back muscles primarily. They’re engaged with by the majority of pro lifters (especially powerlifters) and usually see you lifting heavy weights.

But don’t let that put you off – we’re here to break down why it’s easy to do these things, not hard.

Lift off!

The basics

You should know what it really means to deadlift, and of course, why it’s called such. The ‘dead’ in deadlift is called so because the beginning position of the weight is on the floor (dead stop). This is why, when you lift it up and down, you’re returning it to that dead position – hence the name ‘deadlift.’

Let’s run through some brief form tips before going into further detail –

If you want to perform a conventional barbell deadlift, then you’ll want to first walk up to the bar with the middle point of your feet under the bar. Your heels should be hip-width apart.

Then grab the bar. Still with your feet either hip width or shoulder width apart. Bend over without bending your legs, and keep your arms vertical.

Bend your knees slightly after the previous instruction and drop into the position. You need to make sure the bar stays still here.

Lift your chest and pull. You need to make sure your back is straight for proper form here.

Sound easy?

Let’s reference this against Stronglift’s version –

  1. Stand with your mid-foot under the barbell
  2. Bend over and grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip
  3. Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar
  4. Lift your chest up and straighten your lower back
  5. Take a big breath, hold it, and stand up with the weight

Hold the weight for a second at the top, with locked hips and knees. Then return the weight to the floor by moving your hips back while bending your legs. Rest a second at the bottom and repeat. Do five reps on the StrongLifts 5×5 program.

Pretty close? I agree.

It’s important to nail that form properly, or you might miss the mark or, worse, cause injury.


Deadlifts are used by powerlifters for a reason – they’re deadly, heavy and will build muscle in the top-tier category of muscle-building exercises. You should look up alternatives too for targeting all the muscles that variants can provide. Dumbbell deadlifts, a snatch grip deadlift, hex bar deadlift… there are plenty of options, each with plenty of benefits. Check them out.


What is a neutral position?

A neutral position is one that is not engaged or primed. I.e. bent over wouldn’t qualify as a neutral position, but standing upright would.

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