The Deadlift

Hey guys, Doug here with DB Strength down at Alliance Training Center. Today I’m going to show you the deadlift, which is one of my favorite exercises, both for the everyday client and for the combat athlete as well.

One reason I love the deadlift so much is it’s really a full body exercise, so it’s a compound lift. It’s one of those exercises where you get a lot of bang for your buck.

I love it for the grip component – obviously MMA, grappling, those sorts of sports, grip is a huge component of the game. It’s a pulling movement, so if you’re trying to control your opponent, pull them into your guard, keep them right against the cage, things like that, that pulling strength is paramount. The deadlift is one of the best exercises for that.

We can talk for a long time about proper setup and things, but I’m just going to point out the highlights of a proper setup. We’ve got the feet about shoulder-width apart. As far as how close you want to get, the general rule is to bisect the foot right in half, so if you look down, the bar’s right about, cuts my foot in half.

I’m going to pull myself down; hands go to the outside of the hips. From here I’m not just going to start to lift. I’m going to pull myself down and take tension out of my body and out of the bar, so just that little bit there. I never want to lift with that slack in the bar. I want to take that tension out, so I’m going to pull my butt down, set my neutral spine, and then… One thing I like to say with a deadlift is, think of pushing the ground away as opposed to pulling up. Yes, it’s a pulling movement, but you really want to drag your feet into the ground – rear foot, but the whole foot. You really want to push into the ground as you pull up, and as far as the spine goes – think neutral spine.

A lot of people, you always definitely worry about the rounded back. That lumbar puts a lot of pressure on the lumbar spine, but another thing is the neck. A lot of people will be looking up like that, which is a big hyper-extension of the cervical spine. We want everything neutral; that neutral spine.

A good setup looks like this. Overhand grip, shoulders are down and back, neutral spine, pushing the feet into the ground, pulling all the way up, and squeezing the glutes at the top. The top of the movement … The actual movement itself: Keep that bar close – you can even scrape the shins – and the finish… you want to finish all the way through, which means squeeze the glutes at the top, nice and tall, shoulders are down and back, and I’m looking straight ahead.

I’ll do a couple of reps just so you can see. That bar stays close to the shins, neutral spine, squeeze the glutes at the top, shoulders are back – and basically just reverse that movement on the way down, so the bar always stays close. Taking it out here puts a lot of pressure on the back. Keep the weight close to your center of gravity, the bar is close to the shins, squeeze glutes, nice and tall. That’s the basics of the deadlift – hope you liked it. I’ve got some more videos coming soon.

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