Common Mistakes New Deadlifters Make

Hey guys! Having the opportunity to work in a very active area is always a good thing. You get to see a lot of different injuries and a common injury I’ve been seeing as of late are individuals who hurt themselves when deadlifting. They say they are focusing on good form and they are still having back pain. So here are some common mistakes I’m seeing.

Forgetting to Engage the Lats
Engagement of the Lats allows you to lock your spine into neutral. It’s often something deadlifters forget to do. Make sure the engagement occurs when you pick up the weight and lower the weight. Engaging the lats, protects your low back. Imagine squeezing an orange or lemon in between your armpits OR try to put your shoulder blades into your back pocket. More muscles involved = more weight you can potentially lift (if you need another reason on why to engage your lats).


Lifting with their back and not their Hips
The deadlift is not an exercise you are suppose to lift with your lower back. It’s a posterior chain exercise that requires your hips to do the heavy movement. People often try to lift the bar off the ground instead of pushing their feet into the ground. The hips and shoulders should come up at the same time and people often have their hips lift first.

Lifting with the bar far Away
Keep the bar close to your body. When your lifting the bar should be as close to the shins as possible. The farther the bar, the more stress it can place on your lower back, increasing the potential of injuring yourself when lifting.


Sticking only with one Grip
Try different grips. Whether you do only underhand, alternate grips, or only overhead, different grips involve muscles different. Any underhand grip places more stress on the Biceps tendon. Mix it up a bit and see what you like. If you do one overhand and one underhand (mixed) make sure you are rotating back and forth to which hand is overhand and which is underhand.

Being afraid to modify
There is a common belief that you have to earn the right to deadlift from the floor. I tend to believe that statement to a certain degree. There’s no shame in building up the ability to deadlift from the floor. Here are a few modifications you can try making:

You can lift from an elevated platform (a box) or raise the guards on a squat rack (rack pull)

You can perform trap bar deadlifts first (I’ll be writing an article about Trap Bar deadlifts shortly). It requires less skill and prerequisite movement to perform.


Deadlifting can cause back pain if you lift incorrectly. But any sort of exercise done incorrectly can cause back pain. Deadlifting is a great way to protect your back from future back pain, if done correctly. Happy lifting!


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