How to Barbell Deadlift

About the Barbell Deadlift

While the barbell squat may be considered the king of all exercises, it is hard not to consider the barbell deadlift of equal, if not greater importance. The deadlift targets many of the major muscle groups of the body in a very taxing way.

The primary targets of the deadlift are those muscles which compose the posterior chain. These include the hamstrings, glutes, and the spinal erectors. The quadriceps are also involved as the athlete extends the knee during the movement, although less force is placed through the knee joint compared to squatting exercises, hence the reduced stimulation of the knee extenders in comparison. Away from the lower body - the abdominals work to stabilise the trunk, and the muscles of the upper back act as stabilisers as the scapular retracts.

For bodybuilders and general gym-goers, the deadlift offers a way of taxing many muscle groups at once to induce hypertrophy (muscle growth), as well as improved overall strength. For athletes, the deadlift can be used to improve strength and power of the hip and knee extenders, which is readily transferable to many sporting and athletic actions.

How to perform


  1. Load barbell with correct weight and place on the safety collars
  2. Stand with feet under the bar, taking a shoulder width stance
  3. Squat down and grasp the barbell with a shoulder width, overhand grip


  1. Extend your hips and knees to lift the bar upwards, ensuring your back remains straight, torso erect and chest high
  2. Keep the bar close to the body during the exercise, with your gaze ahead
  3. At the top of exercise pull the shoulders back and pause
  4. Reverse the movement in a controlled manner, maintain a focus on form
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions

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