Posted on August 20, 2021 by Kate Halsall

We love a deadlift here at motive8. They are a great functional move and we would encourage people to not be scared of them! Whether you’re a beginner or a dab hand at them, there are always ways to improve your deadlifts.

Technique Tips

  • For someone new, it’s all about a hip hinge and not a squat. Start top down with a kettlebell and focus on this aspect first. Think about folding in half, or having headlights on the collar bone and keeping them shining forward or closing the door with your butt!
  • Always remember that you should feel a deadlift in your glutes and hamstrings not your lower back. The trick is to find your biting point – feel it in your glutes and hamstrings before picking up the bar. You sit back from the bar, lead with your chest and perform the lift as one movement.
  • Your start position is key. Firstly set your feet under the bar so that if you were looking down at your feet, the bar would be cutting them in half. Put your thumbs on your thighs and that is the width of your hands on the bar. Pull the bar in your hands like you’re revving a bike or that you’re trapping tissue under your armpits. This engages your lats. And remember that you are pushing the floor away rather than pulling the bar.
  • Keep the bar close to the body, sliding up and down as if you are shaving your legs with the bar.
  • Your head and spine need to stay in line. If it helps, raise the bar up off the ground by using bumper plates or the pins to control the starting position and the spine.

Types of Deadlifts

There are many types of deadlifts, and mixing it up a little bit will help to improve not only your strength, but your technique too. Here are some of the motive8 teams’ favourites.

  • RDL – (Romainian deadlift). What we all consider our core deadlift. It’s performed with soft knees, picking up the tension in your hamstrings not the back, and focuses on the hip hinge.
  • Sumo deadlift – feet wide, hands narrow
  • Stiff leg deadlift – like a normal deadlift but with the tiniest tiny bend in the knees
  • B Stance deadlift – like a single leg deadlift but easier to balance! Just ensure your hips remain square!

Accessory Moves

These target specific areas to not only make you stronger and more adept in a variety of movement patterns, but they’ll also help you get better and stronger at your deadlifts. Here are just some great moves to add to your list!

  • Rows – bent over rows, db rows, quadruped/birddog rows
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Deadhangs (helps with grip)
  • Hip Thrusts
  • Bird Dog
  • Pull Throughs
  • Good Mornings
  • Warrior 3 pose – trx assisted
  • Glute activation – banded work

The deadlift is a great compound exercise, working loads of muscles, and works both the upper and lower body in one movement. It can be used to improve posture, build strength, build muscle and even assist with fat loss. Why wouldn’t you include it in your training in some form!?!

The motive8 team x