Below is a collection of deadlifting tips. The goal was to summarize some of the major technical points in a short and precise list that people can go over before a deadlift session/day.
1. Never deadlift before squats because the lower back is too fatigued and in great danger.
2. Never deadlift right afters squats either. Do an upper body pushing exercise in between.
3. Never deadlift heavy more than once a week, unless you are just starting out.
4. Never do more than 1 or 2 working sets.
5. Always use regular double overhand grip for your warm-ups to develop your grip as much as possible.
6. For better strength off the floor imagine that your are pushing the ground away. This activates the quads which are essential for the first 1/4 of the lift.
7. Make sure that the bar is touching your shins when you start the lift. The barbell should also remain in touch with your body throughout the whole movement. This will help you lift the most weight, while placing less stress on the lower back.
8. Once you are relatively strong, a heavy max deadlift requires about 10 days to recover fully.
9. People with long torsos and short legs find sumo deadlifts easier to do, while people with short torsos feel better during the regular conventional deadlift. There are exceptions.
10. If the hardest part of the deadlift is the start, it’s beneficial to do pause squats or leg presses and hyper extensions. The goal is to build raw pushing strength without stretch reflex at the bottom of the lift and rigid lower back. Of course, you could also do deficit deadlifts, but squats and leg presses are easier to recover from.
11. If you are missing the deadlift pass mid point, you need to work on your upper back strength. There are many options, but among the good choices are front levers, barbell rows, T-bar rows…etc.
12. In order to keep the bar close when you deadlift, you have to learn how to use your lats. A good exercise would be the straight arm pull-over on a cable machine or the front lever.
13. Never cheat when you deadlift. It’s like burning your own money.
14. Some upper back rounding is fine, especially when you are experienced, but the lower back should never ever round.
15. Don’t use a stance that’s two wide and does not allow you to start the lift with straight arms.
16. To prevent biceps tears, use straps or a hook grip for your working sets instead of the mixed grip.
17. When you are using the hook grip, you are not really developing grip strength, but pain tolerance. Many people who rely on the hook grip in competition use straps in training because this grip is very stressful on on the nerves of the thumb. Limiting its use may be beneficial.
18. The deadlift will not build your squat, but the squat will build your deadlift.
19. You don’t need to be very muscular to deadlift a ton of weight.
20. You should never lower the bar too slowly. Let it down fast but also under control.
21. Each deadlift rep starts from a dead stop. Touch and go is essentially bouncing and cannot be considered a deadlift.
22. Don’t use a belt unless you have to. Don’t listen to any of that Rippetoe propaganda saying that doing exercises with a belt makes you stronger than doing them without one.
23. Don’t squat your deadlift. Start with the hips high.
24. When you get stuck in the middle of the lift try to push your chest out as much as you can. This will facilitate back extension.
25. Think of holding tension in your abs throughout the whole lift.
26. If you are going to deadlift on “back day”, do it first.
27. You can look up, down or forward when you deadlift. The rest of the technique is more important, and people have been able to safely lift heavy weights using all three head placements.
28. One of the best ways to develop a stronger deadlift is to use cycling periodization.
29. When you start the lift your shoulders should in front of the bar and not behind.
30. Always deadlift with collars on the bar.
31. Never deadlift when you are sick, weak and close to vomiting.
32. Don’t let your knees buckle in. Be strong.
33. Don’t do 5×5 deadlifts – too high chance to injure yourself.
34. The first part of the deadlift is a push. The second is driving your hips forward while maintaining a straight back.
35. Depressing your scapula (down-shrugging) will put the lats into the movement even more and keep your chest high.
36. Halting deadlifts cause too much back pain. It’s better to avoid them.
37. Don’t look around when you deadlift. It will protect your back.
38. Don’t deadlift with Hex plates. Too awkward and the barbell assumes weird positions.
39. Rounded back deadlifts are for the pros. They are also very safe when you know what you are doing. However, most people should try to limit rounding as much as possible, at least until you deadlift 2.5 BW. After that you should know more about yourself and make independent decisions.
40. One of the hardest elements of the deadlift is being aware of your back position. This may take some time, and that’s why it’s good to record your deadlift sessions with your iFone or something.
The biggest deadlifting mistake I ever made was not recording my deadlifts for a long time when I first started training. I used to record my squats religiously, but after a while I stopped recording the deadlift. As a result there was a period of a few months during which I used to deadlift with very rounded upper back. It was dangerous.
41. Always deadlift in inexpensive clothing because you are going to cut it no matter what.
42. The deadlift thrives on low volume.
43. You don’t need assistance exercise to improve your deadlift, but some of the best are: paused squats, leg press, front lever, barbell rows, heavy T-handle swings, weighted back extensions and good mornings.
44. You don’t need to get fat to become a strong deadlifter. The deadlift does not want you to be a permabulker. That’s the squat and the bench.
45. Happy deadlifting!