If you’ve been into lifting for any period of time, you’ve probably heard of deadlifts — the exercise where the basic goal of this powerlifting movement is to stand up while holding the weight that you picked up off of the ground. Simple, right?

Wrong. Deadlifts, if done incorrectly, can be detrimental to one’s spine and lower back — that’s why it’s vitally important to ensure that you do this movement properly. You may be asking yourself, “With potentially dangerous results, why should I even be performing this exercise?”, and that’s a good question. But what you need to keep in mind is this: Injury from deadlifting is 100% avoidable. There is nothing inherently dangerous with the exercise. The only thing that is dangerous is bad form and overexertion.

With this all to be said, we at Kennedy Fitness: A Jefferson Health Affiliate, a gym that offers a range of classes including kickboxing classes in Mt. Laurel, have put together a guide to help you understand the basics of deadlifting with proper form so as to carry out this movement safely. Follow these basic steps:


1. Plant Your Feet

Having good grounding is the basis of good form. You don’t want your stance to be shaky or weak, so make sure you have them planted firmly with the bar crossing your mid-foot. You’ve probably seen other people performing this lift wearing flat footed shoes like Chucks or even just in their socks. You want to choose a shoe with a bottom that is minimally curved to maximize the strength of your stance.


2. Bend Over and Grab the Bar

We recommend you grab the bar with a shoulder-width grip. This will minimize the distance that you have to pull the bar up for lift completion, and it will also naturally encourage your body to engage your lats.


3. Touch the Bar to Your Shins

When the bar hits your shins, you’ve bent over far enough to perform the lift. Make sure to not scrape your shins as you go up, and consciously make an effort to keep the bar moving on a flat, vertical plane as you lift it from the ground to a standing position.


4. Tighten Your Core

Keeping your core (e.g., abs, upper chest, and back) tight and your lower back neutral will keep you from developing a curved back that will lead to improper deadlift form. Arching you back in any way, specifically your lower back, can put uneven pressure on your spinal discs, leading to injury.


5. Stand Up

Sounds simple, right? While this is fairly basic, standing up and performing a deadlift requires implementing all of the aforementioned tips into one fluid movement. While you keep your lats and core engaged, try to think about squeezing your glutes, pulling the weight toward you, and locking out in a neutral position.

Performing the deadlift correctly will take practice, so start with a low weight that you can control and feel comfortable using while maintaining good form. This will allow you to build a muscular foundation and memory so that as you move up weight, you maintain good form and effective movement.


Your Everything Gym

Kennedy Fitness & Wellness: A Jefferson Health Affiliate, while being one of the best fitness centers for resistance training, is one where you can take fitness classes that will make you better in all forms of your physical fitness. If you’re looking for kickboxing gym sign ups in Gloucester County or want to work more on your mind-body connection, we have the classes for you.

For more information, call us! We’re happy to help you get started on your way to a better mind, better body, and better life.