Today, Longevity Exercise Physiology Drummoyne, EdgecliffMarrickvilleBella VistaRandwickPymble and Balmain, and Neutral Bay we look into our best tips on how to deadlift.

Have you ever picked something up off the ground? This movement emulates a deadlift.

Deadlifts are a great exercise for developing strength for the muscles of supporting the legs, hips, and spine. This movement is very functional as apart of living independent, must be able to pick up objects from the floor.

Where to stand

When you approach the bar, have the aim to bar over the shoelaces (midfoot), this will allow space for the shin to travel forward when you lower into the starting position. Then in terms of feet width, somewhere between hip and shoulder width. However, with larger/wider people, a wider stance may be more optimal for them to achieve setting themselves in the bottom position of the lift. For example, Mitch’s deadlift stance would be wider than mine, on the basis that he would have wider hips than me.

Hand position

With hand position, essentially you want to be in a position where we are as tall and upright as possible to decrease the distance the bar must travel from the starting position to end position.

The wider our grip on the bar, the more distance the distance the bar must travel to its final position, along with greater hip mobility to achieve the bottom position.

If we are too close to our legs, our hands can hit our legs and cause more friction during the lift therefore making it harder. But also, if we are hitting our legs on the way up, this may cause a kink in our elbows to overcome this, possibly leading to the shoulder dropping and coming forward, increasing the work on the lower back.

Finally, knees should follow line of toes and not push outside this line as this can cause a kink in the elbows.

Hip and shoulder position

Once you’ve set your stance and have an idea of where gripping the bar is most optimal for you, next is your shoulder and hip position. In general we want to have shoulders above the bar.

If we set our shoulders too far forward, it will raise our hips a lot and make our torso much flatter opposed to upright which will in turn increase the work needed by the lower back and hips.

If we have our shoulder too far back and we sit back too far, this will increase horizontal distance from the bar to the lumbar spine. This will increase the moment arm and decrease the efficiency of the deadlift while putting extra stress on the lumbar spine.

The ideal set up would be an angle of the torso of 45 degrees and femur at 45 degrees with the hip joint vertex. If we get our shoulders in the right spot, torso angle and femur angle as close as possible to 45 degrees, chances are, our hips will be in the right spot.

If this doesn’t put their hips in the right spot, check to see if their knees are slightly protruding or in line with the forearms, so their shins are not vertical. Therefore, we step up to the bar so it covers our shoelaces, so our knees can travel forward over the bar when we go into the starting position.

Where to look

When beginning the movement and throughout the movement, you want to be looking forward or slightly up. This will prompt you to have your chest higher. This can promote a more upright position through keeping the arms long and back flat. Furthermore, it may help with those struggling to get into and maintain a neutral spine positions. So, cueing them to imagine eyes on their chest trying to look forward can help with opposing spinal flexion.


Bracing is a crucial component of a deadlift to improve strength of the life, maintain a neutral spine position and reducing injury risk. For more information check out our blog on bracing .

All our Exercise Physiologists are professionals are prescribing exercise according to your goals and health conditions. If you are interested in learning to deadlift, but not sure where to start – we are the people to help you! With 2022 just around the corner, let’s set up goals together, get consistent with our training and tackle 2022 healthier than ever!

If you have any questions or would like to book in, please call 1300 964 002 for a free 15-minute consultation.

Written by Guy Beynon