(Article by Kari Fry with Katie Brick)
Not an exercise for everyone, but for many, the deadlift is a favourite and challenging part of a workout routine. The deadlift is a complex move, so it is important to work on your technique and be aware of areas where you can improve and develop. We caught up with Study Active assessor and Personal Trainer Katie Brick to find out more about deadlifts and her best advice for improving your deadlift.
IMPORTANT: The ideas in this article are purely for information only – please do not start an exercise programme until you have completed a PAR-Q and, if necessary, received medical clearance. Always warm up and cool down and never do any exercise that you are unsure of without the support of a qualified professional.
To start us off, what is a deadlift?
A deadlift is a hip hinge movement that hits just about every muscle group in the body but primarily targets the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.
Will including deadlifts into a workout routine have any benefits?
Yes, absolutely! For a start, you will burn more calories as it is a functional movement and improve overall strength in the posterior chain. You will also build stronger legs which will improve your power and explosiveness. This combined with better posture and good grip strength will help contribute when doing your day to day living tasks.
What are the key things to consider if you want to improve your deadlift?
The number one key thing is frequency - as with anything, the more you do it the better and stronger you will become. Technique is crucial with the deadlift, and this must be mastered by spending time on your areas of weakness to perfect your form. This can be achieved through accessory work where you can target the smaller muscle groups in a more isolated and controlled way.
How would you go about improving your grip strength for a deadlift?
Having good grip strength can pay dividends in your deadlift and is an area often neglected in one’s training. The first thing to consider is losing the straps or any other aids that assist you with your grip. Straps are fine when you are lifting at the higher end of the extremes, but on the lighter warm up sets, there is no need. You would need to include some specific exercises in your training such as farmer’s walks, dead hangs, pull ups and reverse wrist curls.
Are there any exercises to improve deadlift strength?
Yes, there are many exercises that can maximize your deadlift potential! As it is a well-rounded compound exercise that works the entire body, exercises can be broken into the main muscle groups used, i.e., Glutes, hamstrings, back, quads and core.
Exercises such as the following, are just some examples that will help take your deadlift strength to the next level and optimize every part of your lift:
- Barbell hip thrust
- Lying leg hamstring curl
- Bent over rows
- Leg press
- Dead bug
- Farmer’s walk
What safety aspects should be kept in mind when working on your deadlift and deadlift grip?
I would keep in mind these three key things when working on your deadlift -
- Lifting too heavy too soon, start light and slowly add the weight.
- Improper technique, make sure you master the form first before you increase the weight and incorporate those accessory movements to target and strengthen those smaller muscles to help iron out any muscle imbalances.
- Finding the right grip, varying your grip can help reduce muscle imbalances and prevent injuries such as bicep tears. Finding the best grip for you, will put you at ease with your training, and enable you to lift heavier.
Conclusion - How to Improve your Deadlift
Thank you, Katie for giving us some great advice on how we can improve our deadlift and grip strength for deadlift. This exercise requires practice, and we all know that practice makes perfect! Utilising the suggestions Katie has made for exercises to improve deadlift strength and grip can help you to work on form and take your deadlift strength to the next level.