The deadlift is a foundational movement to help build both strength and power.  When done properly it can help improve total body strength, stability, and health. 

Our fit mom, Carissa Johnson is here with deadlift technique basics to help you build a foundation for success.

The Conventional Deadlift

The setup of the conventional deadlift starts with your feet underneath your hips.  One fun way to find this position is to act like you’re going to jump vertically with both feet.  When you go to jump, look where your feet are… that’s your deadlift stance.

Squat down to your weight, grib your weight, and create tension on the implement your using, whether a barbell or kettlebell, by engaging your lats. 

Before pulling, be sure that your neck and spine stay neutral.  Chest will be slightly forward and back flat.  It helps to look forward at a point about 10 feet in front of you.  You should also learn how to brace correctly before you pull the weight.  This helps to protect the lower back as you increase weight.

When you start your pull, drive through the heels and your hips and shoulder will rise at the same time.  Be sure to keep the implement close to your body.

Once you reach full extension of the hips, chest will be up, and shoulder will be back.  Then lower the bar the exact same way you came up. 

The Sumo Deadlift

This variation of the deadlift puts more emphasis on the glutes, quads, and inner thighs while the conventional deadlift places more emphasis on your lower back and hamstrings.

To set-up for the sumo, push your feet out wide.  As wide as you are comfortable with.  Your toes will mostly likely want to point outward, which is totally normal. 

Then hinge at the hips to lower to your barbell or kettlebell and use the same technique tips above to pull the weight till lockout. 

The Sumo Deadlift High Pull

In this movement you will have the same stance as the sumo deadlift.  When gripping, both will be overhand.  Keep shoulder slightly in front of the bar during set-up. 

Same mechanics as the sumo deadlift, but now you’ll rise faster when you pull and extend your hips. 

Once legs have reached full extension, you shrug and pull the arms.   Elbows move high and outside.  Pulling the weight up to chest level.

This movement helps to build speed and incorporates the shoulder muscles.  It should be performed with much lighter weight than what you’ll use for deadlifting.

Want to get the most out of your workouts?  Try myHMB.

MyHMB has been clinically proven to improve recovery, build muscle and strength, and enhance aerobic capacity.  Learn more.

WBFF Pro and Fit Mom Carissa Johnson

Carissa Johnson

Carissa Johnson grew up playing soccer and after getting into her corporate accounting career realized she missed competing and the gym.  She earned her WBFF Pro Card in 2011, unfortunately shortly after was in a horrific pedestrian car accident leaving her not sure if she would be able to walk again.  Carissa fought through; built back up her strength and after many surgeries has been able to step back up on stage.  She is the proud mom of two and also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).


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