Strength-Training Exercise: The Dead Lift - dummies

Strength-Training Exercise: The Dead Lift

By Kellyann Petrucci, Patrick Flynn

The dead lift is how you pick things up off the ground, or how you should pick things up off the ground. The dead lift is basically a hip hinge, meaning you initiate the movement by pushing back your butt and hinging at the hips.

The dead lift strengthens the entire posterior chain (in plain English your backside), which consists primarily of your hamstrings, your butt, and your lower back. The dead lift is a monstrous strength-building movement, because when done properly, it allows you to move a very large amount of weight, especially when done with a barbell.

Here is how to do the dead lift:

1Stand over the kettlebell with a shoulder-width stance and point your toes slightly out.

Take your time and ensure that you begin the movement with proper posture. Think, “long, tall spine.”

2Push your butt back as if you're reaching for a bench that's just out of reach, and continue to push your butt back as far as you possibly can without falling over backward.

Your knees will bend, but they shouldn’t come forward. Be sure to keep your back flat at all times. There should be a straight line from the back of your head down through your tailbone. Dead lifting with a rounded back is an unsafe and weak position.

3After your butt is as far back as it will go, reach down and grab hold of the kettlebell.

The kettlebell makes the movement a bit more accessible for beginners. Don’t move onto the barbell, and really load up the weight, until your kettlebell dead lift is near perfected.

4Take a deep breath into your belly, push your heels hard into the ground, and stand straight up to finish the movement.

Don’t lean back at the top of the dead lift; just stand tall. Keep your butt and abs tight.

Put the weight down exactly the way you picked it up.