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What is the most common mistake people do while doing deadlifts?

'Working Chest, delts, biceps, etc. work approximately 10% of your overall lean body mass. Working hard on Deadlifts or squatting works more like 70% of your musculature at once and sends a strong message to your body to get better at growing now' – Wesley Silveria


DEADLIFT is commonly called the king of all exercises and extensively known as 'KING' as it creates a significant impact and dominates almost all the body's muscle groups.

A deadlift is a great compound movement that uses almost every muscle in your body. It is a staple for power and strength gain. You are nearly lifting a standing barbell from the ground (although you can also deadlift with dumbbells.

On the left is the traditional deadlift. The feet are around shoulder-width apart, pointed straight ahead, and the hands are placed outside the feet. The deadlift is performed by straightening the legs and unbending at the hips until the person is standing. There is a technique to perform this movement efficiently and safely, but I won't detail that.

On the right is a sumo deadlift. The feet are set wider and pointed outwards, and the hands are placed inside of the feet. Performing the sumo deadlift is similar, but there are nuances to the technique. The sumo places a more significant emphasis on using you.

The deadlift will use many of your body's muscles. Your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, and core will be the main targeted muscles. However, the upper body must be tight and neutral (not curved) throughout the movement to perform the deadlift efficiently and safely. Deadlifting with a curved back will put tremendous stress on your spine and surrounding structure, and you will likely blow your back out. It will also hurt your performance, so whenever you deadlift, make a conscious effort to maintain a neutral spine.

Some of the common mistake people do it while doing the deadlift:

  1. Looking at the mirror instead of fixing the foundation, which is the position of your feet. The foot distance should be roughly shoulder-width apart (for conventional deadlift). The foot should be pointed a little outwards, instead of being parallel to each other.

  2. The bar should be right in the middle of your foot (not the shoe) (when you are standing straight, looking down at the bar). Many people have the habit of touching their shins even when standing straight, but once you start the pull, the bar goes out of position, which may have consequences.

  3. The head position is also a key component. Your chin should be parallel to your neck. Most people tend to look into the mirror, assuming they will look like a hulk (in the top position during the lift). AS a result of looking in the mirror, there is an unnecessary strain on your neck. Imagine you are holding a tennis ball in between your chin and neck (Adam's apple). This should be your head position—a neutral place to be precise, neither raising nor lowering your chin.

  4. We are raising your hips.

  5. You must pull your shoulders back away from the bar and tighten your back, which will result in the raised chest (towards the ground at a slight angle); Tiis gives a solid base.

  6. Many healthy individuals start to use belts too early (especially even with lighter weights). It would help if you learned to use your abdominal muscles to support your lumbar curve. So remember to use core by bracing it (fill your stomach with air (not your chest) and keep it tight and firm and then begin the lift.

  7. The deadlift may seem like you are pulling the weight, but actually, you are pushing your feet in the ground, and as a result, the pull occurs.

  8. They are not utilizing glutes. Glutes are one of the strongest muscles in the human body; using glutes not only secures your lower back but also helps with progression.

  9. Flexibility in your hamstrings and ankles is also essential; people without flexibility in the posterior chain can do more damage by deadlifting heavyweights.

  10. While in the top position, many people tend to overextend the back. This overextension not just have any use but also is quite dangerous as it may cause a severe back issue. You need to stand straight and then lower the weight to the ground in a controlled manner.

  11. Using the momentum to lift raise the bar. Many People lower the bar using gravity alone without any control, and once the bar hits the ground, they use that momentum to lift the bar again. That is not the correct way of deadlifting. DEADLIFT means lifting DEAD WEIGHT. So There should be a second long pause before raising the bar also (in multiple reps).

So my precise advice to a novice lifter would be

  1. Never deadlift in front of a mirror.

  2. Work on your flexibility/mobility (shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, ankles, etc.)

  3. Start with the empty bar and perfect your technique first before adding any additional weight.

The deadlift is also not a volume exercise (you can do it, but it doesn't serve the purpose well, and there are better exercises). The rep range is ideally 1–5 reps, and focus should on lifting with great technique, followed by lifting as heavy as you can safely.

Some Bonus Points:

  1. You are pulling with the upper back instead of pushing your feet to the ground. This causes the back to hunch and is the most common way to injure yourself.

  2. I am not getting the chest out. This causes the lower back/hips to rise to pull the slack out of the bar. The deadlift yet again ends up being a lat workout instead of CNS.

  3. Squatting the deadlift: Placing your hips far too low results in the deadlift converting into a squat

  4. Using arms to curl the bar up instead of considering your arms like a rope and hook system, which are there to hold the bar

  5. She was not breathing, bracing correctly. The moment abs are not appropriately braced, and the lower back is exposed to innumerable probabilities of getting injured.

  6. Moving the bar during the set resulting in the bar path not being straight

  7. I was looking up, causing the neck to be placed at an awkward angle. When deadlifting, look at the floor around 6 feet from yourself.

  8. Hyperextending the back at the top: At the top, you just want to squeeze your shoulder blades and stand tall. Over-extending the end can result in injury due to the heavy loads involved in a deadlift.

  9. I am setting up too close or too far from the bar. Ideally, the bar should be over the midfoot, which is around 1 inch from the shins.

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