Back To Basics #2: Deadlift

The deadlift is one of the most essential fundamental movements to learn (in my humble opinion) as it teaches you the proper mechanics you need in order to pick up ANYTHING off the ground. There are a few different deadlift variations (conventional deadlifts, sumo deadlift, suitcase deadlifts) but today, I’ll be going over the conventional deadlift.

Key points: The deadlift essentially places your body in the proper alignment in order to pick up something off the ground while minimizing your risk of injuring your lower back. At the bottom of the deadlift, you should have a solid arch in your back, your lat muscles should be engaged and pulled in toward your sides, and you should be hinging from the hips in order to send your butt backward. Your feet should be firmly planted, hip-width apart, with your weight evenly distributed over the midline of the foot. For the purposes of the video, I am working with a kettlebell as the weight I am trying to pick up, so both hands are clasped around the handle of the kettlebell. At the top you should be fully standing – your knees are locked, glutes and hamstrings are engaged, and you should be squeezing your abs and lats to keep yourself locked in that upright position. To return back down to the ground, initiate the movement by sitting your butt back and hinging at the hips, and inhale as you descend, returning to the starting position.


Breathing: Just before you begin to stand up, inhale, and then as you begin to stand up, exhale the breath while engaging your glutes, hamstrings, abdominals and lat muscles. On the way back down, keep the tension in all your core muscles and inhale as you return back down to the ground.

Muscles engaged: During both the up phase and the down phase, you should feel a lot of tension in your glutes, hamstrings, and lats. You’ll feel an extra lock in the abdominals as you come to the full standing position.

Here’s a video demonstrating the conventional deadlift!

The deadlift is a great power exercise and when done correctly, it works most of the major muscles in the body. Try incorporating deadlifts into your training routine, but remember – start with light weight until you fully grasp the mechanics, and then add weight once you have mastered the movement and can perform it safely and effectively.


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