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How to perform a deadlift for crossfit for beginners

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Jun 17, 2015 11:41:00 AM


How to perform a deadlift for crossfit for beginners

The deadlift is usually the lift in which an individual can pull the highest load, as you can incorporate the most muscle groups of the three big lifts. Variations on the deadlift are the sumo deadlift, trap bar deadlift and the conventional deadlift. For this article we will focus on the conventional deadlift only. I strongly recommend to you to learn the other variations as well, once you get stronger, to add variety to your training. If you lack mobility the trap bar deadlift is usually the more controlled and easier lift to learn than the conventional deadlift, as the trap bar forces you more likely into a less taxing execution of the movement.

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The setup

Keep your feet shoulder width apart with your toes pointing slightly outward. As for the squat squeeze your glutes when your feet are parallel and where they end up will be the angle you want your feet to point in.

The bar is positioned above the middle of your feet. Let your arms travel down to the bar whilst remaining outside (as opposed to in-between) the legs. Keep the arms as close as possible to your legs and grab the bar.

For the grip you can either use an overhand grip with both hands or the over under grip. For the overhand grip approach the bar with the hands from above and grip it as tight as you while locking your thumb across the lower knuckles of your fingers. Place the bar deep into the palm of your hand when you do this as opposed to the first section of your fingers. This will ensure that yur grip remains strong throughout the lift.

The over under grip places your dominate hand on top of the bar whilst twisting the other hand so that the palm of it faces out ward before you grip the bar. Your arms remain straight. If you have to twist your elbow you’ve turned your hand in the wrong direction. This is the stronger starting position for most lifters performing a deadlift.

I recommend the overhand grip for the warm up sets and over under grip for work sets. I’ve personally pulled the deadlift for a year without using the over under grip but decision is yours to make.

Once your hands are in position lower your back slightly below parallel. The deadlift is not a squat. You want your arms to be straight, while still being able to make the most use of your legs.

Tighten your shoulders and arms and squeeze the bar as hard as you can. Get everything tense before you start the lift. Keep your back straight and resist the temptation to round your back as this will do damage to your lower back. This concludes the setup.

The deadlift

First and foremost do not jerk the bar. Instead keep the tension from the setup to extend your legs fully and then bring your hips forward to lock out in final position. The bar travels as close to your body as possible and in a straight line. Once you have locked at you can either drop the bar if you did a one repetition maximum attempt or lower the bar down to the ground again to repeat the movement. If you do deadlifts for repetition I personally like to set down the weight fully to straighten my back again. I have experienced that form is very likely to break down when deadlifts are done for repetitions if you do not pay close attention.  

Further reading

On the deadlift

On the squat

On the bench press




Topics: Lift stronger