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Deadlift Technique – By the Numbers

Deadlift v1“By the Numbers!” I heard my Air Force TI (Training Instructor) shout that more times than I cared to count during basic training. Marching maneuvers follow a set tempo, and ‘by the numbers’ is a reminder that each step in a maneuver is to be done to a set order and at a specific pace.

That is how I lift. Every movement in the lift is for a set purpose, and completed in a steady tempo. Steps in lifts aren’t be rushed, and unnecessary delays in setup are eliminated. Take the deadlift for example:

Taking too much time to set up your deadlift leaves you thinking about it. Nothing good can come from overthinking a deadlift. You will talk yourself out of the lift. If you spend more time than it takes to stop and reverse direction at the bottom of the deadlift you are wasting air (or you didn’t get your air before dropping your hips and therefore you do not have enough air in your lungs). By the time you step up to the bar you shouldn’t have to think about your technique, you know how to lift, it should come naturally.

If, on the other hand, you rush your technique you are much more likely to start your lift out of position.

Deadlifting by the numbers goes a little something like this:

  1. For the first rep, rotate at the hips keeping your knees relatively straight and grip the bar. For subsequent reps, lower the bar by rotating at the hips and keeping your knees relatively straight.
  2. Get ready for your pull by tightening your upper back and taking a deep breath of air into your lungs and abdomen.
  3. Drop into the starting position. Sit back by rotating around your knees to drop your hips down and bring your chest up.
  4. Come to a complete stop (like the ‘pause’ on your chest during the bench to prevent bouncing), and begin the pull. Your quads should fire strongly allowing your hips, shoulders, and the bar to come up at the same rate.

By the numbers – give it a shot. Make your lifts more deliberate and efficient!



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