Deadlift: The Most Common Error



The Deadlift

There is no other lift I love more than the deadlift. A total-body exercise that leaves you on the floor after a good training day. A lift that builds more posterior strength and musculature than probably any other lift in existence. A lift that can very easily turn into something reminiscent of that kid on Youtube that struggles with 329lbs, only to fall into the dumbbell rack after a ridiculous celebration….

The Most Common Deadlift Error*

Notice the asterisk? I added that because this is the most common error that I see with the athletes that I coach. There are many, many errors that come about when deadlifting. In fact, I’m sure I’ll write about them at some point. However, I’m going to keep this post short and sweet.

The upper back and arms are an integral component of deadlift technique. If they’re not used properly, everything goes to hell. What is supposed to happen is that the biceps are kept loose so that the force created by the legs can travel through the trunk, the arms, and finally through the bar. Unfortunately we can see here in this video that this does not happen and the result is not pleasant.

If he would have just kept his arms loose he would have been closer to finishing the lift. Also, when there is more tension placed in the biceps, they have a much greater risk of tearing. Even the best deadlifters in the world have torn their biceps; mostly due to passive tension, but I digress.

Leave the arms loose and let the legs drive! They’re stronger than you think!


The ideas, comments and materials presented herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion or otherwise.


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