Let's start with what you know: you should be doing deadlifts in your workout. Let's take that one step further with what you hate to admit: you can't stand doing deadlifts. That's common, but what you probably don't know is that you're very likely doing them wrong. And that isn't a small problem. In fact, doing a deadlift improperly could result in a serious injury or a minor recurring pain in the lower back at the very least. We asked certified personal trainer Heather Neff for the biggest deadlift problems and she gave us the solutions you'll need to be deadlifiting like a pro in no time!
1. You're Not Letting the Plates Touch the Floor
In between each rep, you should be releasing the barbell weights to the floor. You don't have to take your hands off of the bar completely, but you should be setting the weight down and releasing all tension in your body.
Why Is That Bad?
Your muscles don't have to stay under tension for long in order to see results. If you aren't releasing the weight to the floor with every rep you take for the simple fact that you want to feel the burn, you should probably add a bit more weight instead. Also, by setting the weight on the floor between reps, this will allow your back to rest and reset to neutral position, which will set you up for the next rep.
How to Fix It
Simply lower your weight all the way to the floor and release the tension completely. Allow your back to go to a neutral position and begin again.
2. You're Slamming the Bar to the Floor Between Reps
After you've come up to standing with your deadlift and then returned to the floor, if you are bouncing the weight off of the floor instead of setting it down calmly and with control, this might inhibit your strength.
Why Is This Bad?
By bouncing the weight off of the floor between reps, you're preventing yourself from getting the full tension of the entire rep. The weight, when bounced or slammed to the floor, may rebound to as far as your shins, so from your shins up, is where your strength will be and you will be weak from the floor to your shins. This also prevents you from resetting the back to neutral.
How to Fix It
If you're slamming down the weight or bouncing it off of the floor for the simple fact that you're losing strength, the best thing to do would be to lower the amount of weight on the bar to where you can perform the entire deadlift correctly from start to finish. If you are OK with the amount of weight that's on the bar, simply take it all the way to the floor and release the tension for every rep.
3. You're Leaning Back at the Top of Your Deadlift
As you lift the bar off of the floor and come to standing, you may find yourself arching your back and pulling the bar with you as your shoulders lean back behind your hips. You may see a lot of powerlifters doing this to show the judges that they've completely locked out.
Why Is This Bad
Leaning back at the top of a deadlift puts excessive squeezing pressure on your spinal discs. This can most definitely result in a herniated disc or other injury.
How to Fix It
As you come to the top of your deadlift to lock out, keep your back neutral and make sure that your shoulders are in line with your hips. Don't go any further.