Form Friday: Barbell Deadlift


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: Barbell Deadlift

Muscle Groups: Erector Spinae, Hamstrings, Glutes

Importance: The Barbell Deadlift is a dynamic movement that requires you to be in tune with your entire body. It is arguably the greatest exercise you can do to strengthen the posterior chain.

Proper Form:

  • Start with a loaded barbell on the floor in front of you (if possible, use bumper plates so that no matter what weight you are using the bar will be at a proper height)
  • Approach the bar until it is centered over your feet, with approximately a hip width stance
  • Hinge at the hips, maintain a flat back, and reach down for the bar and grab with about a shoulder width grip
  • Before initiating the movement, lower your hips by bending at the knee until your shins come in contact with the bar and pull your shoulder blades back, chest remains lifted
  • Driving through the heels, begin to pull the weight upward 
  • Once the bar passes your knees, start pulling the bar back toward your hip crease while also extending at the hips to meet the bar
  • Make sure that your shoulder blades are still back as you lock out at the hips and the legs reach full extension and you are holding the bar while standing in the upright position
  • In a controlled manner, reverse the movement pattern and lower the bar back to the floor


  • Use your lats to keep the bar as close to you as possible (Think about squeezing a piece of paper underneath your armpit)
  • Do not allow your back and shoulders to round forward during the movement; keeping your eyes and chest up will help prevent this
  • Do not start with your hips too high or too low; try to find that happy medium before adding too much weight on the bar

Sample Workout 10 Rounds:

10 Barbell Deadlifts (Be sure the weight is not too heavy, do not sacrifice technique for speed as fatigue sets in)

10 Box Jumps