woman doing barbell deadlifts

Deadlifts are a compound movement that utilise full-body strength and stability. When performed correctly they can be used to target your core, glutes, hamstrings, back and more. BUT- a lift that incorporates that many body parts also creates a lot of room for mistakes, and warming up incorrectly or inadequately before deadlifts can lead to injury. Today we’re going to look at some of the core muscle groups and joints that are used to perform a deadlift, and how you can make sure your body is ready to undertake them.

Warmups for Deadlifts

Step 1: Breathe

One of the most important training exercises to include in your workouts is diaphragmatic, or 360 degree, breathing. Your diaphragm is a muscle just like any other, and developing diaphragmatic strength will not only allow you to breathe easier, it also gives you the ability to stabilise your core and spine when you perform a deadlift.

This is an exercise that should be performed daily, regardless of what body parts you are training. The more efficiently your body can inhale and deliver that oxygen to your muscles, the harder your body can work and the bigger and quicker you are likely to see improvements in your athletic pursuits.

Step 2: Increase Core Body Temp

A general warm-up is paramount to any exercise or resistance training program. It is a simple way to raise your muscle and core body temperature and to start ‘switching on’ your body and your mind. Physiologically, it also increases blood flow, which combined with diaphragmatic breathing can also mean supplying your muscles with more oxygen.

Before beginning any exercise for the day it’s important to include a light warmup, ideally around 10 minutes of movement and some static stretching.

The light cardio or movement practices have been shown to have a ‘meaningful effect on exercise performance by affording psychological stability, preparation, and confidence in exercise performance.’ Similarly, incorporating some stretching to your warmups helps to create a similar mind-muscle connection, and according to this study ‘suggests a clear improvement in stability and balance during weight-lifting’ such as performing a deadlift.

Step 3: Dynamic Stretching

Once your body is warm and your mind is ready to work, it’s time to add some dynamic stretches to your routine. These help to increase your joint mobility and lengthen the muscles.

In these movements, you want to target the muscles you’ll be working. When performing a deadlift, this is mainly your posterior chain muscles, including your hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back, and core. For dynamic warm-ups use this video training guide!

It is always good practice to use a foam roller on the same muscle groups to help to loosen up joints and find those areas of your muscles where you may be feeling tight.

Step 4: Light Sets

Before starting your working sets of deadlifts, you should be doing 2-3 sets of light (or zero) weight exercises to prepare your body correctly. This isn’t just about preparing for the added resistance (weight), it’s also important in achieving the correct form for the movement.

Your warm-up sets might be something like:

Set 1: 8 Barbell deadlifts no weight

Set 2: 12 barbell deadlifts no weight

Set 3: 12 barbell deadlifts 20% of 1 RM max

Once your body is warm, your muscles are prepared and your mind is switched on you can begin your working sets of deadlifts without fearing injury!

How to Perform Barbell Deadlifts

Deadlifts are an exceptional resistance training exercise that can help to develop your strength, power and muscle mass. To make sure you’re hitting the right muscles, without injury, you need to ensure you have the correct form.

Are you new to deadlifts or resistance training? Hiring a personal trainer is the quickest and safest way to achieve your desired results. At Turnfit, we’ve been voted Vancouver’s top personal trainers two years in a row, and with years of professional training and experience, our team is here to help!

This month we’re offering the first 10 people to join our online training platform- and the Perfect Posture Program– their first month FREE!

Simply use the code ‘firstmonth’ at checkout and the discount will be applied. There are no obligations or lock-in contracts to worry about, and we are always available to guide you through the app or customise a plan that suits you best.

We look forward to working with you!

-Coach David


Author TurnFit

TurnFit Personal Trainers is founded by David Turnbull or “Coach David” – an experienced and successful Personal Trainer who strives to build happier, healthier lives every day. With a focus on holistic health, we pride ourselves on making a difference and were recently awarded the Top Choice Award for Personal Trainer in Vancouver for the 5th year in a row. Every trainer at TurnFit is committed and relentless in our pursuit to help you reach your health and wellness goals. It’s our mission to help you to build the skills, and mindset, it takes to feel successful in all areas of your life. We look forward to hearing from you! -David Turnbull

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