Deadlifts are a functional exercise that allows development of total body strength and improves posture and whole body stability. They can be slightly daunting to a new lifter, but it is important to learn and maintain correct form to protect the lower back.

Barbell (Conventional)

1. Stand at the bar with feet shoulder width apart. Assume a half squat position by bending at the hips and knees and grasp the bar with an overhand grip, shoulder width apart. (An alternating grip can be used if preferred).

2. Keeping the chest and head up and the shoulder blades slightly squeezed (protracted), drive through the heels to stand upright moving the weight with you. The bar should stay close to your body throughout the exercise, passing the shins, knees and thighs in turn.

3. Reverse the movement and lower the bar slowly to the floor, making sure to bend at the hips and not the waist or lower back. Keep the bar close to the shins, and feel a gentle stretch at the back of the legs.

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Romanian Deadlift (Stiff Legged)

1. Stand holding the bar in front of the thighs with an overhand grip and bend forward at the hips and knees slightly.

2. Keeping  the back straight, fold forward at the hips to lower the bar down the thighs and shins until you feel a stretch in the back of the legs. (The more flexible you are in the hamstrings the further you will be able to lower the bar).

3.Contract the hamstrings and the glutes as you extend at the hips and return to the start position.

Caution: it’s important not to round the lower back throughout the movement and keep it in a neutral position. Patients with lower back issues should seek help with this exercise to ensure correct form.

Tip: This exercise can be performed with dumbbells or kettlebells instead of a barbell. 



Single Leg Deadlift
This exercise is best using a dumbbell or a kettlebell, but a barbell can be also used particularly if you find it hard to balance.

1. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in one hand, the opposite side to the leg you wish to exercise.

2. Standing on the chosen leg, bend the knee slightly and fold forward at the hips to perform a stiff legged deadlift, as if you were to put the weight on the floor just in front of you.

3. Keep hold of the weight and return to the upright position.

Tip: If you find it hard to balance, try resting the unloaded leg on a box or bench behind you, or carry out the exercise in a split leg position (one foot forward and one back).



Please seek the advice of a GP, physiotherapist or a medically qualified personal trainer before commencing any exercise to avoid the risk of any injury. We do not advise performing any exercise if it exhibits any pain or discomfort in any way.

If you have any questions or queries about any of the exercises, please contact the Didsbury clinic (Manchester) to discuss with your physiotherapist or personal trainer.

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