The 5 Most Dangerous Deadlift Form Mistakes to Avoid

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By Sean James

Deadlifts are one of the most beneficial and necessary exercises in weightlifting. However, if performed incorrectly, they can lead to muscle tweaks, pinched nerves, or other serious injuries to your back.

The easy solution to avoiding injury is to educate yourself on proper/correct deadlift form and what not do to when going to lift the bar.

Below are the 5 most dangerous deadlift mistakes that you need to knock out of your weightlifting routine.

Arching Your Back

This is possibly the most crucial mistake to avoid when performing a deadlift. Arching your back while lifting the bar can cause the discs in your spine to rupture, which is surprisingly even LESS fun than it sounds.

The key to proper deadlift form is a straight back, so after setting your feet and grabbing the bar, make sure to have a neutral spine before lifting.

If you’re not used to straightening your spine while deadlifting, lessen the weight on your first set and focus solely on posture. It won’t take you long to get the hang of it!

Incorrectly Setting Your Feet

The debate is out on how far apart or close together your feet should be set when performing a normal deadlift; some prefer a shoulder-width stance, others swear to keeping their feet only a few inches apart. 

As long as you’re keeping your feet no wider than shoulder-width apart, your preference shouldn’t detain the benefits of your deadlift.

Unless, of course, you’re performing a sumo deadlift, which requires the hands to be placed inside of your feet.

Poor Lifting Process

The key to a perfectly performed deadlift isn’t only in the posture, but also how you’re carrying the weight from “Point A” to “Point B”.

Ideally, you want to be dragging the bar on your legs as you come to an upright position.

Try and start with the bar up against your shins, then keep it up close against your thighs as you lift.

Keep the bar against your thighs as you lower it as well BUT make sure to not hit your knees on the way down. Lower it as quickly as possible to avoid extra stress on your back… that’s not the goal, here.

The Bar Isn’t Touching the Ground Between Reps

This one can be tough when you’re trying to be respectful to others at the gym by avoiding loud noises.

Your fellow gym-goers would tell you that they’d rather you drop the bar on the floor than hurt yourself and start writhing around in pain from serious injury.

The main force of the deadlift comes from lifting the bar from a dead stop with no prior momentum helping you, let that be the focal point of your deadlift form.

Performing Too Many Reps

As you can already tell, the deadlift requires sound technique from start to finish to be performed accurately.

Doing too many reps will cause fatigue, which will undoubtedly cause your technique to go to H-E-Double hockey sticks. Try to stay between 2 to 6 reps for building strength and adjust the weight as needed, to stay in that range. 

If you’re not sure what weight to start at, be sure to check out this helpful strength level calculator for guidance.

Unlock Your Deadlift Form Potential

Don’t let one of the most beneficial weight lifting exercises in your arsenal go to waste. Aim to perfect your deadlift form and unlock a side of your training that you’ve never seen before!

Be sure to check out this article on how to prevent lower back pain from deadlifts for more info on proper technique.

Now that you have the power and knowledge, it’s time to break your personal records and see the payoff of your new and improved deadlifting form!

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