BREAK IT DOWN: The Deadlift

By Maggie Fazeli Fard |

The deadlift is a full-body pull exercise that works the glutes, hamstrings, core, calves, lats, grip, and back. The proud chest and hip extension required to complete the move also help counteract the effects of sitting and aging.

Done incorrectly, the deadlift is notorious for stressing the lower back, causing discomfort, pain, and injury.

The key, experts say, is learning proper sequencing, allowing your hip hinge — rather than an inflated ego or ambitious weight selection — to direct the movement.

to a loaded barbell so it is touching your lower legs at midshin. Hinge at the hips first, then allow your knees to bend as you reach down to take a shoulder-width grip on the bar.

  1. Tip: Set up, and stand up, proud. Think about keeping your bottom ribs down and your lats pulled down and back.

with your arms straight and head in a neutral position, by pressing your feet into the floor and pushing your hips forward. At the top of the lift, squeeze your glutes to achieve a full lockout.

  1. Tip: Instead of pulling the bar up with your arms, engage your lats and press the bar back toward your body as you stand up. The bar will be in contact with your legs throughout the move. (Long pants or high socks can help protect the shins.)

again and bend the knees to lower the bar to the floor.

  1. Tip: Start with a double-overhand grip (pictured). Use a mixed grip — one hand over the top, the other wrapped underneath — as the weight becomes heavier.

Our Favorite Variation: Sumo Deadlift

  1. Reverse the movement to return to start.

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