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.
1. Never deadlift before squats because the lower back is fatigued and in 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. Limit your work sets.
5. Always use the 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 you 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 remain in contact with your body throughout the whole movement. This will help you lift the most weight while reducing the 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 whereas 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 hyperextensions. The goal is to build raw pushing strength without a stretch reflex at the bottom of the lift and a 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 past the mid-point, you need to work on your upper back strength.
12. Use your lats to keep the bar close when you deadlift. 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 round.
15. Don’t use a stance that’s too 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 work 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 the thumbs. 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. 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.
22. Don’t use a belt unless you have to.
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. 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 be in front of the bar – 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. The risk is not worth it.
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 help you keep your chest high.
36. Halting deadlifts cause too much back pain. Avoid them.
37. Don’t look around when you deadlift. You can hurt your back.
38. Don’t deadlift with Hex plates. The barbell assumes weird positions.
39. Rounded back deadlifts are for the pros, not you.
40. Developing awareness of your back position takes time. Record your deadlift sessions with your iFone.
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 presses, 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.
P.S. The post on natural potential has been updated.