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3 MUST DO Exercises For The SHORT HEAD Of The Bicep!

8 Dumbest Deadlift Mistakes Sabotaging Your GAINS!

STOP DOING THESE!

Posted by Scott_Herman - November 17th, 2016

The deadlift is my favorite strength building exercise and what I like best about it is that there is no cheating.  You either lift the weight, or you don’t.  But with that being said, there is A LOT of room for error and often times a new personal record can also result in a serious injury.


But as long as you avoid these 8 Dumbest Deadlift Mistakes you will continue to be injury free and make all kinds of gains!



MISTAKE #1 – The Deadlift Is Not A Back Exercise!

To master the deadlift you first need to be able to properly visualize the movement.  Most people see it as only a “PULL” movement which is why they usually end up trying to lift the weight with their back instead of pushing through their legs and hips.  In fact, it is a combination of pulling with your upper body and pushing off the floor with your lower body that will not only keep your form in check, but help you lift A LOT more weight.



I bet by now you are wondering why then most people deadlift on back day.  Well the answer is really simple, if training legs you would perform heavy squats, on chest day you would work on your max bench and on shoulder day you would train your max push-press which leaves deadlifts for back day.  Now you DO activate your back during the movement in order to stabilize your spine, but the majority of the load should be lifted off the ground with your legs and if you are not feeling your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves activating than you might need to work on your form.


MISTAKE #2 – Using The Wrong Foot Stance When Lifting Conventional Or Sumo

As you get better and better at deadlifts it is true that your foot stance might change, but there are some basic rules to how you stand that you should always follow whether lifting conventional or sumo.


Conventional Deadlift:   This form requires a closer stance.  Think that you want to be able to put as much energy as possible into performing the lift and you want to also create the shortest distance for the barbell to travel.  The only way you can do this is to have your arms directly under your shoulders.



If stand with your feet too wide this will result in you having to grab the barbell with a much wider grip. Not only will this increase the distance the barbell has to travel, but you are now going to have to activate more muscles in your upper body to stabilize your arms and shoulders.


 


You should think of your arms as hooks, they don’t do anything besides hold the barbell.  So if you are feeling excessive strain when lifting the barbell you are probably grabbing too wide and need to bring your feet a bit closer together.


Sumo Deadlift: This form of the deadlift is the exact opposite and requires a very wide stance and this will allow you to very easily have your arms directly under your shoulders creating the shortest distance possible for the barbell to travel.



However, if you stand too close during this movement you will place EXCESSIVE PRESSURE in your knees.



The purpose of Sumo is to create the shortest barbell path and place less stress on your lower back.  However, you will be using much more hamstrings and glutes to perform the movement.


Sumo Deadlift VS Conventional Deadlift | WHICH BUILDS MORE POWER & STRENGTH?



MISTAKE #3 – Taking Too Long To Set-Up Your Lift

This is probably the most unnoticed and least corrected mistake people make when deadlifting.  I see it all the time in the gym.  People are SO WORRIED about their grip that they will spend way too much time in the bent over position either setting up their wrist straps, or their grip in general, on the barbell.  Believe it or not, you’re LOSING EXPLOSIVE POWER in your legs and hips while you’re in the down position trying to set your grip.  It’s for the same reason why you guys should never do static stretching before lifting either.  You don’t want to lose the elastic energy that is stored in your muscles because that is what is going to help you generate the most power.



An easy solution for this is to train yourself to be able to do a quick drop and fast pull, also know as “Grip it & Rip It!”  Some other techniques that people like to use is putting their hands up over their head, taking a deep breath in, and then dropping and pulling.  What I like to do is set-up over the barbell and perform a couple quick drops to make sure I’m grabbing the barbell correctly and then I go for my set.


Now if you’re going after a new personal record, obviously you only have to worry about having a tight core on that one single rep.  But if doing a set with multiple reps what I like to do is the same set-up sequence, taking in a breath before grabbing the barbell, but I reset my breath at the top of each repetition (I exhale and take in a new breath before my next rep).


MISTAKE #4 – Not Flexing Your Back Or Locking Your Elbows

When setting up for a deadlift it’s very important to make sure your back is engaged.  This is going to help with keeping your core tight and chest up to prevent spinal flexion and the way you do this is you basically just flex your lats.



Now once your back is flexed, you need to MAKE SURE your arms are locked!  Push your elbows FORWARD and grip the barbell as hard as you can, especially when using the SWITCH GRIP.


 


The majority of bicep tendon injuries or tears happen because someone went to pull a heavy deadlift and they had a slight bend in their elbow.  Now if using the double overhand grip its very rare to see this kind of injury, but with switch grip when your palm is facing forward the slightest bend in your elbow will place a GREAT DEAL of the load of the barbell on your biceps/biceps tendon.  So just make sure your arms are locked and your back is flexed on every repetition.


MISTAKE #5 – Turning The Movement Into Two Parts

Another big mistake people make is that they turn the deadlift into two movements.  What usually happens is that their hips shoot up first and then they lift the barbell off the ground with their lower back.


IMAGE: Hips up first, Lift With Back


This usually happens because the person lifting is not keeping their chest up at the bottom of the lift and/or their hips are so tight that they can’t get low enough to use proper form.  A easy way to fix this is to use train with deficit deadlifts for a few weeks.


How To: Deficit Deadlift- Improve Form & Increase Your MAX



To perform this movement you will have to stand on a platform 1 to 3 inches high.  Because you are standing on a platform this is going to force you to have to get lower to properly grab the barbell.  Also, sitting this low will teach you how to really push through your feet while actively engaging your hamstrings and glues to perform the movement.


To be honest, this is what really helped me correct my form because I used to shoot my hips up first as well.  I didn’t have the mind-muscle connection I needed to push through my hips by activating my hamstrings and glutes properly so I would resort to pulling with my back.  But after a few weeks of training with deficit deadlifts once or twice week, when you go to set-up on the normal lift you will feel much more comfortable in the bottom position.


MISTAKE #6 – Not Lowering The Weight Properly

Now that we covered the majority of the mistakes on the way up, let’s talk about the way down.  Guys, when you lower the weight this is one of the few exercises where “control” is not that important.  You want to conserve as much energy as you can for your next repetition so slowly lowering the weight is not going to help you out.


But you also don’t want to just drop the weight either.  Too many people just drop the weight by bending over which can not only place a lot of stress on your lower back, but will slow you down as you get ready for your next rep.



You should bring the weight down the same way it went up that way as soon as the barbell comes to a dead stop you can begin your next repetition.


MISTAKE #7 – Bouncing The Weight!

Bouncing the weight is the worst form of the deadlift and only has a place in the fitness world because of cross-fit.  So if you’re a cross-fitter you will probably disagree with me, but hear me out.  If your goal is to build strength and muscle, BOUNCING the weight of the floor is defeating the entire purpose of the EXERCISE!  You can literally bounce the weight hard enough to skip the entire bottom portion of the lift and I’ve got a newsflash for you guys.  If you want to increase your MAX on your deadlift, you have to lift the weight off the ground from a DEAD START.


If your goal is to deadlift 500 pounds, you are not going to start your lift by holding the weight standing up so you can then bounce the barbell off the floor.  So if you are bouncing the weight, you’re just hurting your chances of getting STRONGER and BIGGER.


Another huge issue I have with bouncing the weight goes back to what we talked about before concerning your back and elbows.  As soon as that weight smashes, your back will become loose and your elbows will bend to help absorb the energy from the weight bouncing off the floor.  This will significantly raise your chances of severely injuring your biceps/biceps tendon because that quick snap going from zero tension while the weight bounces to full force once your arms straighten out again is brutal and the last thing you want is an injury or reconstructed bicep.


MISTAKE #8 – Not Wearing The Right Shoes!

You guys may have noticed that I wear ASICS wrestling shoes all the time.  This is because they are super thing and as close as I can get to being barefoot in the gym.  Remember, every centimeter counts when trying to perform a max pull on your deadlift and if you guys are wearing average running shoes with gel insoles or super thick bottoms you’re going to be starting your deadlift at least 1 inch higher off the ground than I am and that will make a HUGE difference in not only how far the barbell has to travel, but with your stability as well.  So if you’re currently deadlifting in big heavy shoes, get new ones or try deadlifting barefoot and you will be shocked at not only how much more stable you feel, but at how much easier the exercise becomes.



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MEMBER COMMENTS

WillWilkin

Thanks for the tips, just a week ago I finally started doing dead lifts, took me some months to get the courage and motivation.  I'm going light to start, need to get the right form and not get injured.

Scott_Herman

Well this will definitely help you @willwilkin, I suggest you also check out my article below as well! :-D

http://muscularstrength.com/article/Deadlift-Why-You-Are-Not-Lifting-As-Much-Weight-As-You-Could

jcgadfly

When you're doing Ei (like I am) you have to do negative deadlifts. Right now I'm not going that heavy but eventually...

Scott_Herman

Oh I see..I just call these slow negatives...didn't know they had a fancy name lol.

Scott_Herman

wow that took forever to write! But was totally worth it! Now, there is no way to get injured while deadlifting! Let me know if you have any questions below!

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