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Exercises to Improve Your Deadlift

When many people think of deadlifts, they often only picture athletes, powerlifters, and CrossFitters. You may also picture a barbell loaded with a ton of weight and the bar and the athlete bending during the lift. While this is our common visual, deadlifts are an essential movement for life and for everyone to be able to perform. Another common misconception is that deadlifting causes back injuries; however, when performed correctly, deadlifts are great for strengthening your back and helping prevent injury.

Whether you are an athlete looking to improve your deadlift performance or you are an active adult who wants to be able to deadlift for strength and injury prevention or to maintain the ability to lift objects off the floor as you age, we want to help you improve your deadlift. In this month's blog, we are going to be covering 4 exercises that address key components to being able to perform a proper deadlift.

Banded Dead Bug

Core stability is an obvious key component to being able to deadlift. The ability to brace your core effectively and under load is not only important to stabilize and protect your spine, but also to allow you to improve performance and lift heavier weights. There are a number of different dead bug variations, but when it comes specifically to deadlifting, we have chosen this banded version for a couple of reasons:

  • Pulling down into the band helps to activate the lats and also increases abdominal contraction while bracing, both of which are key areas for stabilization during the deadlift

  • The dead bug focuses on being able to maintain a neutral spine, which mimics maintaining a neutral spine throughout the movement of the deadlift

We recommend incorporating this movement into part of your warm-up routine to help with core activation and bracing prior to deadlifting, so that these muscles are ready to work when load is added.

Side Plank + Leg Lift

Another important component to deadlifting is hip strength and stability, especially for those of you who perform sumo deadlifts. One of our glute muscles, gluteus medius, is very important for hip and pelvis stabilization. This exercise not only targets activation of this muscle, but also lateral core stability. The deadlift is a compound movement that requires us to be able to activate and stabilize a variety of different muscles all at once in order to allow for proper movement patterns throughout the lift. By adding this movement into your warm-up routine, this will be another piece to the puzzle to help you efficiently and effectively deadlift.

Side Plank + Row

Another great movement to help compliment your deadlifts is the side plank + row. This exercise is great because it addresses core stability and upper back posture/stability. As we have mentioned, staying stable through your core and lower back is important for performing deadlifts properly. However, it is also important to maintain stability through your upper back and lats, which helps you be able to translate strength and power more efficiently.

We recommend adding this movement to your accessory work following your main lifts/workouts. We recommend training this movement when you are fatigued to focus on proper posture and stability. This will translate well to your deadlifts because if you can maintain proper positioning even when fatigued that not only helps improve performance, but also prevent injury.

Carry Variations

We absolutely love carries for workout programs and to use with our clients during rehab! Carries are great for a number of different reasons: core stability (are you sensing a theme yet), maintaining good posture under load, grip strength, and more. In this video, you will see a few different variations of carries. All of these will translate to helping improve your deadlift performance. This is another exercise we would recommend to add in as an accessory movement to your regular programming. Pick one variation of carry and complete 3-4 rounds of 20-50ft.

Putting it All Together

We firmly believe that deadlifts are an integral portion to anyone's workout program, whether it is for performance as an athlete or performance in the game we call life. We also know that deadlifts at times have a bad name or create fear of injury, but when performed correctly, deadlifts actually help prevent injury and help you maintain strength for life!

We believe that these 4 exercises compliment any deadlift/workout program well to help improve your ability to perform this movement effectively and efficiently. We hope that you will find these exercises beneficial and easy to incorporate into your warm-up or accessory programming.

If you are currently dealing with pain or an injury that is limiting your ability to deadlift or if you are one of those people who are fearful of deadlifts or have been injured deadlifting in the past, we would love to talk with you to help you overcome your pain/injury or fear of the movement. Click the HERE to schedule your FREE Discovery Call to learn more about how we can help!

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