Do you know the worst thing about deadlifting? It’s not just that it’s tough to do, or that it takes a lot of time, or even that it has benefits beyond what you can measure. The worst part is how easy it is to get hurt doing this exercise. And while the risk isn’t zero, there are definite steps you can take to minimize your chances of becoming injured during your next workout.
This article will cover these tips and share best practices for safety during deadlifting exercises. We’ll also go over everything from assessing mobility issues before weights start flying to making sure your form is flawless by exploring one of the most common mistakes people make when they’re first getting started with this movement pattern.
Know the Limit of Your Mobility
Before any weights start flying, it’s a good idea to know the limit of your mobility. You do this by determining a starting point. This is a weight that you could lift 12 to 15 times without going beyond the range of your normal flexibility and mobility during each rep. Start with that weight and see where you get in your first set. Because of the strength and explosiveness involved in lifting this weight, you’ll probably need a lot more weight to safely complete the lift.
If it feels very easy (with good control), increase your initial weight by 5 to 10 pounds before working again. If it gets uncomfortable, decrease your initial weight by 5 to 10 pounds before working again.
Use a Spotter
It’s crucial to have a spotter when you’re deadlifting to help keep the weight under control. It’s also important for your own safety that you check in with your spotter periodically. This isn’t just a reminder to have him or her watch what’s going on. It’s also an opportunity for you to ask if there are any problems with the movement, such as issues that come from an improper position or any issues about keeping the weights under control.
Practice Proper Form Before You Lift
Failure to practice proper deadlift form before you start moving heavy weight can have a huge impact on your elbows and shoulders. This is because they get twisted while lifting, which stress the joints.
It’s very easy to do this mistake. When you’re first getting started, you may not be able to feel it when your pits aren’t in line with the bar or your hips aren’t in line with the ground when you’re squatting down. But if that happens, then that means something isn’t right and it’s time for some adjustments so these can be corrected before they cause any damage.
Discourage Excessive Bending at the Waist
If the weights you’re using are heavy enough, you shouldn’t need to bend your torso. This can make the exercise much more difficult, not only because your body has to work against itself, but also because it creates a bigger range of motion for your joints and muscles to work in.
If you do have to bend in order to complete the lift, then that means you need to reduce your starting weight until you’re able to keep a straighter spine when deadlifting.
Don’t Mess With Your Back Angle
One of the most common mistakes people make in their deadlifts is changing their back angles. This is necessary only if you’re using partial deadlifts in your workout routine. These are performed by taking a partial rep from the top, lowering it slowly and then lifting it again. Usually this will take one to two reps per set.
This is a perfect example of an exercise that should only be performed if you’re an advanced lifter who can handle the load competently. Once you begin having trouble controlling the weight going down, your back angle becomes the first place you’ll start to lose control of your form, so don’t mess with it.
Use Proper Equipment
Wearing shoes with a firm sole will ensure proper alignment and support of the knee joint during movements such as: squats, lunges and calf raises. This is for two reasons.
First, it will help you maintain proper alignment and support of the knee joint throughout your movements. This will help reduce pain in the hip joint and knees over time with consistent use of these three exercises.
Learn the Proper Way to Do A Romanian Deadlift
Second, caving in the sole will reduce any risk of abnormal movement at the kneecap during leg extension movements. This is because it’ll cause weight transfer to the footwork pivot point (the foot) rather than to the knee joint itself.
In addition to shoes, a proper weight belt is also a good investment to provide the spine with appropriate support while exercising. The key point is finding one that is comfortable and fits snugly around your waist.
Keep an Asymmetrical Posture in Mind While Performing Squats and Lunges
One of the most common mistakes people make when performing squats and lunges is to assume an asymmetrical posture — that is, one side of their body looks different than the other when they’re standing still.
Stretch Your Hamstrings, Quads and Shins
Stretching your hamstrings, quads and shins before a workout can be a useful strategy. If you can control these muscles while they’re fatigued, then you won’t have to rely on your body’s stabilizer muscles so much. This will help you achieve a better range of motion and better control of the weight during your lifts.
Start by slowly rolling your legs in circles to loosen up the quadriceps. Bend your knees and bring them up toward your chest to stretch your hamstrings. Finally, bring your shins directly behind you and move them down toward the ground to stretch these muscles.
Make sure you’re only holding each of these stretches for between 30 seconds and one minute before moving onto the next one. If you hold them for any longer than this, they’ll start to lose their effectiveness.
Make Sure to Focus on Good Form on the Way Up, Too
If you want to make sure that your form is good during the squeezing motion, focus on maintaining a slight bend in the knees as you press up. This will shift any weight away from your lower back and prevent any stress on these muscles.
Get a Training Partner Who’s Not Afraid to Call You Out on a Bad Lift
Gym buddies are great for pushing you to go that extra rep, but they also need to be brutally honest with you about your weightlifting flaws.
That’s because you’ll be doing them a favor by not only correcting the error in form, but also preventing any injuries that could come from continuing with the bad form.
So don’t make excuses for yourself when they call you out on your bad lifts. Give them credit for helping to ensure that your body will stay healthy and strong in the long run.
Use a Rack or Power Cage to Minimize the Risk of Going Too Heavy
When using a rack or power cage, the risk of injury is significantly reduced since you’re able to dump the weight safely. Plus, the weight and resistance limit placed on the bar are there to protect you from injuries.
Thus, it’s wise to place your bar in the cage if you’re not sure where you’re going to be when you do your next set of lifts. They can also be great for warming up in between sets or as a way to help correct mistakes without risking injury.
By following this tips you will greatly reduce the chance of injury from deadlifting. If you have questions or additional tips, let us know in the comments below.