Powerlifting – Deconstructing the Deadlift
This coming Sunday I will be competing in yet another powerlifting competition. So with this in mind, I thought it would be an ideal time to finish the third and final instalment of my deconstructions of the powerlifting lifts. I have previously written about the squat and the bench press, and now here are my insights on the deadlift.
There are two types of deadlifts – conventional and sumo. I am a conventional deadlifter (I don’t have the hip flexibility for a sumo deadlift), however I will run through both types of lifts.
Place feet underneath the bar approximately 30cm apart, with your feet positioned so that the bar “cuts them in half” when viewed from above. Squat down and grasp the bar with hands positioned just outside of your legs. As you squat down your legs should come slightly forward as to have the bar touch your shins. Keep your arms straight, shoulders tight, head up and lower back engaged (maintaining a strong natural curve). Pull the bar off the floor, up the legs with straight arms until the knees, hips and shoulders are locked out. Return the bar by bending your knees forward slightly and bringing your hips back and keeping your back in a strong (not rounded) position.
Position your feet underneath the bar with as wide a stance as is comfortable, with toes pointed out slightly. Squat down and grasp the bar with shoulder width or slightly narrower grip, ensuring the bar is touching your shins. Keep your arms straight, shoulders tight, head up and lower back engaged (maintaining a strong natural curve). Pull the bar off the floor, up the legs with straight arms until the knees, hips and shoulders are locked out. Return the bar by bringing your hips back and bending your knees whilst keeping your back in a strong (not rounded) position.
A couple of extra tips…
People’s sumo deadlift stance will vary, depending on their hip flexibility. The more mobile your hips, the wider stance you can have.
It’s also important to note, that in both types of deadlifts your knees, hips and back/torso need to come up at the same rate. If you straighten your legs first, all you have left to bring you up to a standing position is your back – and with heavy weights, that is not a good position to be in!
Feel free to post any comments, if you have any queries/questions on any of the three powerlifting lifts – squat, bench or deadlift.
In the meantime, happy lifting!