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Deadlift for a stronger and leaner body

Get to grips with the deadlift to torch fat and build muscle

The deadlift is one of the best total-body moves for building muscle and burning fat, but only if you do it right. Here’s what you need to know.

Chin up
Keep your head in a neutral position throughout the lift by looking forwards with your eyes fixed to a spot on the ground about two to three metres ahead of your feet. Then focus on keeping your chin up to keep your head in the best lifting position.

Strong spine
Maintain a strong spine from the beginning of the lift to the end by keeping your chest up to stop your torso hunching forwards over the bar. Your shoulders should remain slightly in front of your hands until the bar passes mid-thigh level, at which point you want to make sure your shoulder blades are retracted for a strong and stable torso.

Core control
You must keep your abs braced throughout to maintain a strong lower back and get your entire body tight, especially as the weight on the bar starts to add up. Engage your core at the start of each rep so your abs are tensed as you get into position to grip the bar. As you are about to lift the bar up breathe deep into your belly, hold your breath, and brace your abs hard, like you’re expecting to be punched in the stomach.

Get a grip
Place your thumbs against the outer part of your thighs then run both hands down your legs until they touch the bar. This is your ideal hand position. For your grip you have two choices: a double overhand grip; or a reverse grip, where one hand grips the bar overhand and the other underhand. The reverse grip allows you to lift heavier, but make sure you switch which hand goes over the bar and which goes under with each set to prevent any muscular imbalances. And always squeeze the bar as hard as you can before starting a rep to fire up your central nervous system and get your entire body tight.

Power up
Each rep should be powerful, using the strength of your legs, glutes and back. You want to drive upwards as explosively as possible while remaining in complete control of the bar. To achieve this push your knees back and feel the weight on your heels before you lift. As the bar then passes your knees drive your hips forward, maintaining contact with the bar at all times.

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