How to do Deadlifts


Deadlifts. Arguably the king of compound exercises and a staple in any strength program. Bringing this beast of a lift into your routine builds strength and muscle mass in one total body movement. Let’s see how it’s done.


Deadlifts are all about lifting a dead weight from the floor and putting it back down again. It sounds simple, but doing it safely and effectively requires form and discipline to prevent injury, but also to get the most from this excellent compound exercise.


Here’s how to perform a safe and effective deadlift. We recommend using an overhand grip if you’re unfamiliar with deadlifting.

  1. Stand up straight, with your feet underneath the bar. The bar should cut across the middle of your feet and your shins should be almost touching the bar.

  2. Reach down and grab the barbell with an overhand grip, your hands should be shoulder-width apart.

  3. Bend your knees, with your shins just touching the bar. Straighten your lower back, lift your chest up, and keep your neck aligned with your spine in a neutral position.

  4. Pull the bar up, tensing your glutes and core, driving through your heels, and keeping your back straight.

  5. Push your hip forward as the bar reaches your knees, and keep going until you are fully standing. The bar should have travelled vertically (record yourself or have someone check your form if needed).

  6. Hold the weight for a moment, then lower the bar down by moving your hips back and bending your legs.

  7. Repeat, for 5 sets of 3-5 reps. Don’t overexert, especially if this is your first time doing it.

It’s important to take care of yourself when lifting weights, so don’t lift the bar too quickly, and pick a weight which works for your current fitness level. Because of the position you need to assume to perform a deadlift, you can’t do it with an empty bar. Ensure you use Olympic weights where possible, as these are a uniform size. This way, from lifting 20kg right through to 200kg, it’s a consistent experience and movement as you progress.

Throwing in some variation can mean doing Romanian deadlifts for a massive hamstring workout that’s all about control, or sumo deadlifts for hitting quads.


Lifting weights takes a lot of effort, so you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout routine. The friendly personal trainers at your local Gym are on hand to discuss technique, create an individualised fitness plan, and help you smash your fitness goals. Get in touch to learn more.

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