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By now, you all know that I’m a lover of all things fitness, right? One questions that I hear frequently, is “what is a good full-body strength exercise?” While there are a few answers to that, I’m going to hit you with a simple, effective exercise, that you can learn quite easily! Ladies and gents, today we will discuss the deadlift! Whether you realize it or not, you’ve been deadlifting for your entire life. Every time you pick something up, you are doing some sort of deadlift. Whether you’re doing it safely and correctly or not, well, that’s another story.
When done correctly, a deadlift will engage both your upper AND lower body. It can be done in weights and repetitions to help build muscle, or just maintain it. To help you all out, the tutorial today will walk you through how to perform a traditional deadlift, the right way! All you’ll need is a barbell, weights, and maybe a better-for-you snack, because lifting makes you hungry and protein packed snacks like Lorissa’s Kitchen, washed down with Honest Tea® have been rocking my world! It should be noted, that you can perform many variations of a deadlift, but we’re keeping it simple today. Let’s kick this thing off!
1. Get your feet set up!
Your feet need to be in the right place, in order for the barbell to travel smoothly. So, setting up is crucial for the success of the lift! To position your feet, stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, and your feet slightly under the barbell. What I mean by this, is that when you look down at your feet, the barbell will be covering the the part of your shoelaces that is closest to the toes.
2. Set up your grip.
Now, leave those feet where you put them, and reach down to grip the bar. The bar will be grabbed about one thumb’s length away from the center knurling. If you don’t have the knurling, then have your hands just outside of your legs. You can use a double overhand grip, which is nothing fancy, and probably instinctual. You can also use a mixed grip with one palm facing toward you, and the other facing away. For these photos, I’m using a mixed grip, and also a hookgrip. During a hookgrip, the thumb is under the first few fingers when gripping a bar. It’s much stronger than a traditional grip, but if you’re newer to lifting, it’s going to be uncomfortable. Personally, I’ve spend years Olympic weightlifting and it has become a habit!
3. Check your body positioning!
So, although you might feel inclined to just lean over, grab the bar, and pick it up, make sure your body is in an optimal position with the correct muscles engaged. A deadlift can really injure you if you’re not paying attention. With your feet and hands already positioned, bring your butt down and your head slightly up. While in many lifts, you’ll look straight ahead, with a deadlift, you’ll want to look about 6 feet in front of you. Since you brought your butt down, your legs naturally have come forward and are either touching, or almost touching the barbell. Now, your body should look like mine does below. If it does, engage those muscles! By muscles, I mean the whole shebang! Core tight, lats tight, gams stable.
HINT: Many ladies don’t understand how to engage their lats. To do this, make your chest broad, in other words, stick your girls out.
4. Time to lift!
- Okay, friends, it’s go time. KEEP YOUR CORE TIGHT. I can’t stress that enough. Everything you tightened up just now, keep it that way! If you let your core go soft, your back will HATE you on the following day. Just think of your back as a board. It should not bend. Got it? Good. Now, as you’re lifting, instead of thinking about lifting the bar up, think about driving your feet into the ground.
- As you drive your legs into the ground, your upper body will naturally begin to lift. Make sure those lats are still tight! The lift is done with your lats, more-so than your arms. Your arms are just strings in this situation, connecting your shoulders to your hands. They shouldn’t be doing much work! Continue keeping that back straight! (It’s common for people lose this position, causing their lower backs to be compromised. If this happens, go a little lighter.)
- You will begin to open your hips, as well as straighten your legs simultaneously until you are standing straight up. Once you are standing tall, you’ve completed your lift! If you’re doing another repetition, just apply the steps backwards (still staying in control) and keep a good positioning. If not, drop that bar!
5. Recover or reenergize if necessary!
I mentioned a snack earlier, didn’t I? Depending on what your workout looks like, you might need a snack on hand! Before I ran a circus (aka household), I brought small snacks to long lifting sessions. Now, if I’m lifting at home and going heavy, I like to have a simple, protein packed, “better for you” option around, because I can’t fuel my body with junk! (And who has time to prep a crazy snack, am I right?) Lorissa’s Kitchen Korean Barbeque Beef has been one of my go-tos lately, and not just because it’s delicious! All Lorissa’s Kitchen products are made from either 100% grass-fed beef or responsibly raised pork, and are free of preservatives, added growth hormones, MSG, and nitrates. How amazing is that? You’ll know EXACTLY what you’re eating!
Speaking of better for you options, can we talk about Honest Tea®? If I’m in my gargage or basement, I bring it to workouts, along with my water. Why? Because a girl needs some guilt-free variety, and also, I like when my beverages compliment my food (don’t judge!). My favorite flavor Honest Tea® Organic Honey Green Tea. Guys, it’s amazing! It’s Just a Tad Sweet, but is still rich in flavor! For all of you calorie counters out there, my favorite just has 70 calories per bottle, woohoo!
That’s all folks!
Now, go deadlift your little heart out! Remember, FORM is more important than the weight on the bar! If you want to pick up some workout snacks, feel free to take advantage of this Ibotta offer at Walmart. You’ll get $1 back with a combo purchase of any variety of Lorissa’s Kitchen™ Premium Protein Snacks (2.25 oz) and a single bottle of Honest Tea® (any variety). Who doesn’t want to save a little cash? You’ll see a couple of photos below to help you find the products. (At my Walmart, they were located near the registers!)