Why do a conventional deadlift?
Deadlifts are one of the core building blocks of a strength training programme. I believe everyone needs to do some form of hip hinging in order to maintain optimal back and lower extremity health. A conventional deadlift is one of my personal favourite lifts as it works a large volume of different muscles, it's simple to do and can be a great tool for weight loss and strength building. This is an advanced exercise however and should be used when a high strength level has already been reached.
6 steps to performing a perfect deadlift:
Step to the bar with a hip width stance and place the feet directly under the bar. As you reach down to grab the bar, keep the spine in a neutral position by engaging the core and glutes and make contact with the shins and bar. You want to aim for a long neutral spine with the pelvis and rib cage stacked on top of each other and no excessive arch in the back.
Deadlifts should always be performed with flat stable shoes or barefoot. This will help with glute and hamstring activation but also better stability and grounding through the floor.
The lats play a big role in the deadlift and need to be set down to help with upper back tension during the lift. Imagine you're squeezing two oranges under your armpits when you set up at the bar and imagine you're tucking your shoulder blades down into your back pockets.
Take a deep breath of air into your belly and hold it tightly as you push the floor away firmly with your feet. Without shoes on, you’re really able to feel the floor and this gives better meaning to cueing push the floor away. As you pull up off the floor, imagine simultaneously driving your feet down into the floor.
The bar path should remain as close to your body as possible, as you drive over the knees and up to the hips, squeezing through the hamstrings and glutes, be careful not to hyperextend, think of remaining as tall as you can with your feet firmly grounded.
The lowering eccentric phase of the lift is arguably more important than the concentric. You may have lifted the weight, but you still need to lower it with control. Stay engaged and keep your abs tight even on the way down to continue to protect your back and form. Softly lower the weight and prepare to repeat - don't just drop it!
Alex - FORM Head Personal Trainer