The dead­lift is one of the best to­tal-body moves for build­ing mus­cle and burn­ing fat, but only if you do it right. Strength coach Andy McKen­zie ex­plains how

Men's Fitness - - Trainer -

Keep your head neu­tral

“You want to keep your head in a neu­tral po­si­tion through­out the lift,” says McKen­zie. “This is achieved by look­ing for­wards with your eyes fixed to a spot on the ground about two to three me­tres ahead of your feet. And fo­cus on keep­ing your chin up to keep your head in the best po­si­tion for lift­ing.”

The dead­lift is ar­guably the sin­gle most im­por­tant ex­er­cise you can per­form. It works your en­tire body and al­lows you to lift more weight than any other move. It will also help to im­prove your pos­ture be­cause it fo­cuses pri­mar­ily on the mus­cles on the back of your body which, if you’re like most guys, will have been ne­glected for years in favour of train­ing the chest and bi­ceps. Use McKen­zie’s ex­pert form ad­vice to nail the lift, then in­cor­po­rate the as­sis­tance moves (opposite) into your work­outs to en­sure that you don’t have any weak links.

Think chest and shoul­ders

“You want to main­tain a strong spine from the be­gin­ning of the lift to the end, and the best way to achieve this is to keep your chest up through­out to pre­vent your torso hunch­ing for­wards over the bar,” says McKen­zie. “Your shoul­ders should re­main slightly in front of your hands un­til the bar passes mid-thigh level, at which point you want to re­tract your shoul­der blades for a strong and sta­ble torso.”

Keep your core braced

“You need to keep your abs braced through­out the en­tire move to main­tain an arched lower back and to keep your en­tire body strong and sta­ble, es­pe­cially when at­tempt­ing heav­ier lifts,” says McKen­zie. “En­gage your core from the very start so your abs are tensed as you squat down to grip the bar. As you are about to lift the bar breathe deep into your belly, hold your breath, and brace your abs hard, like you’re about to be punched in the stom­ach.”

Try to move ex­plo­sively “Stand­ing with your feet shoul­der­width apart, grasp the bar with your hands just out­side your legs,” says McKen­zie. “Lift the bar by driv­ing your hips for­wards, keep­ing a flat back. Lower the bar un­der con­trol – though once you get up to re­ally heavy weights, it’s OK to drop it on your fi­nal rep.”

De­velop a strong grip

“Place your thumbs against the outer part of your thigh, and run both hands down un­til they touch the bar,” says McKen­zie. “This is your ideal hand po­si­tion. As for your grip, you have two choices: a dou­ble over­hand grip or a mixed grip, where one hand grips the bar over­hand and the other un­der­hand. The mixed grip will al­low you to lift heav­ier, but make sure you switch hands reg­u­larly to pre­vent de­vel­op­ing any mus­cu­lar im­bal­ances. Al­ways en­sure you squeeze the bar as hard as you can, es­pe­cially in heav­ier sets, be­fore the bar leaves the floor.”

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