The Deadlift: A Super Exercise

The deadlift is an excellent exercise to build lower body strength. This exercise not only targets your core and back muscles, but also the muscles from your hips to your ankles. The deadlift is great to build muscle mass, strength, as well as to recover from an injury. It can also make you feel stronger and more confident when bending down.

For all those reasons, it is important to include the deadlift in your exercise routine. It can be adapted to your fitness level and does not require expensive equipment. In fact, you can use various objects to provide resistance when performing the deadlift.


Who should or should not 

The deadlift is great for those who which to improve their lumbar and core stability. This exercise should be avoided if you have an acute lumbar injury. In case of any doubts, ask your physio !

How to do the exercise 

Equipment: You can initially perform this exercise without weight. If you want to add a load, there are many different things you can use such as a barbell, dumbbells, a book, a box, a jug, or a bag of rice even!

  • Starting position:
    • Start in a forward bent position with your hips and keep your back straight, knees slightly bent, and feet shoulder width apart
    • If you are using a load (other than a barbell), place it between your feet. If you are using a barbell, align the bar directly over the midpoint of your feet
    • Keep your shoulders above the load, while keeping your arms straight when securing the weight
  • Movement:
    • Lift the weight by bringing your hips forward and your chest up, while keeping your arms and back straight
    • Straighten your knees and hips to finish in a completely upright position.
  • Returning to the starting position:
    • Lower the weight by initiating the movement with your hips, while keeping your back straight
    • Bend your knees slightly during the lowering phase until the weight returns to the floor


Common mistakes

  • Starting with the weight in front of the shoulders.
  • Rounding the back during the deadlift, or hyperextending the back in the upright position.
  • Having the hips too low at the bottom of the deadlift and doing a squat rather than a deadlift.
  • Shrugging the shoulders to lift the weight.



Based on your individual goals, the parameters for exercise can vary significantly. The number of sets, repetitions and tempo are among a number of variables that can be modified in order to optimize your programming. Whether you are returning from injury, looking to get stronger, or improving your sport performance, speak to your physiotherapist to establish your training goals.


Modifications and Progressions

  • Feet do not need to be straight, but maintain symmetry if they are rotated outwards
  • Movement can be performed at different feet spacing
  • The load can be placed on an elevated surface such as a step to make the exercise easier or directly on the floor to make it harder


To make sure to have proper form when doing this exercise and prevent injuries, do not hesitate to consult a physiotherapist if needed.

Happy training !