Learn This Simple Exercise To Become A Master Deadlifter | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Learn This Simple Exercise To Become A Master Deadlifter

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • The deadlift is an effective exercise that can work many muscles.
  • For beginners, or those who do not have or are having trouble executing a deadlift with a barbell/hex bar, the kettlebell or dumbell deadlift is recommended.
  • Learning how to properly deadlift can prevent injury and give great results.

If you are new to the deadlift or still struggle with feeling your hamstrings and glutes with the deadlift, then the kettlebell (KB) or Dumbell (DB) deadlift is recommended.

This exercise is also good for those who do not have access to a barbell or hex bar as kettlebells or dumbells may be more accessible.

Know that the deadlift can be a very effective exercise but there are many others that can help you get into great shape. If you are looking for an exercise routine, look no further. Go PRO today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more.

How To Perform

A good starting position begins with toes pointed out slightly, hips back, butt out, knees slightly bent, a tripod foot, and a neutral spine.

Line up the KB/DB on the ground even with your heels so that you are forced to sit back and load your hamstrings to get to the weight. (if you lack the mobility to pull from the floor you can elevate the weight on a box, which is shown in the video below)

“Good Starting Position”


Secondly, get tight by setting the lats, pulling any slack out of your arms and legs, and getting a big breath to create intra-abdominal pressure and stabilize your core.

Lastly, initiate the movement by driving through your feet and straightening your knees. Off the floor, the torso angle should remain the same until the weight passes the knee.

From just above the knee, simultaneously straighten your knees and hips until they are fully extended – the body should be in a straight line (ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, and ears) at the top of the movement.

“Tall Finish” (good alignment)


A common mistake is using the low back to initiate the movement. If you feel discomfort in your low back during the movement, make sure that your stomach is tight.

Also, a good cue is to use your legs to push your body away from the floor. This will ensure that the load is being lifted by the glutes and hamstrings rather than the lower back.

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“Low Back Extension” (back has too much inward curve as seen by the gap between the stick and my low back) This can lead to low back pain.


Below is a video of the exercise.

Note: You do not need to reset after each rep as in the video and you can move at a faster pace such as two seconds down and one second up.

Final Coaching Points

Starting Position 

  • Feet about shoulder width apart and pointed out slightly
  • Tripod foot
  • Hips back/butt out (tension on hamstrings)
  • Neutral spine
  • Knee, hip, and foot aligned (pic?)
  • No slack in arms and legs (get tight)
  • Stomach tight

Ending Position

  • Tall, straight position (straight line from ankle to knee to hip to shoulder to ear)
  • Thighs and butt tight


The deadlift is an excellent movement that many trainees should aspire to get stronger at. However, it is important to load the correct muscles to prevent future injury and improve performance.

Teaching yourself to perform a proper deadlift pattern and to load your hamstrings and glutes is one of the best things you can do for working not only your hamstrings and glutes but other muscles as well.

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