Common Deadlift Mistakes

Common deadlift (squat style) mistakes:

1. Folding forward at the hips without descending into a squat and rounding the back to try and lift the bar

  • Beginners will tend to simply bend over and try to pick up the bar, without descending into a squat position.
  • This creates a very long “lever” (i.e. the entire length of the back) and the entire weight will be taken up by the back muscles and joints in the spine, instead of keeping everything over the body’s center of gravity and distributing the load between the back and powerful lower body muscles.
  • This position also leaves the back and spine unsupported when attempting a heavy load, and will place a great deal of stress on the spine, greatly increasing the chance of injury.

2. Standing too far away from the barbell prior to deadlifting the bar, and holding the bar away from the shins and thighs on the lift

  • When the client squats down to grasp the bar, the torso will be extended beyond the center of gravity, and the back will be unsupported.
  • The client is likely to either arch or round the back to try and lift the weight purely with the back muscles, without the assistance of the big lower body muscles. This puts undue stress on the spine and back and will result in injury.
  • The client should be asked to place his toes under the bar before beginning the exercise and told to imagine he is skimming the bar up his shins and thighs on the lift.

3. Folding forward at the hips without descending into a squat to lower the bar to the ground

  • The lowering phase is just as important as the lifting phase. Clients may again fold forward and round their backs to return the bar to the ground. This again places pressure on the back and spine.
  • Clients should be asked to lower into a squat position while simultaneously sliding the bar down the thighs and shins.


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