Deadlift Technique


The deadlift has various forms, for the sake of this blog we will be focusing on the traditional deadlift.

Deadlifts are a movement pattern that are performed every day to perform simple tasks such as picking up objects off the ground.

Whilst it is a very important movement skill it is often looked upon as a “dangerous” exercise, as if it is performed incorrectly there is a high risk of injury to the disks in the lumbar spine/lower back. Lumbar flexion (curving of the lower back) results in an increase in disk pressure, this pressure is increased when we are lifting a load (such as when deadlifting). This pressure can promote movement of the fluid within the articular disk to move more posteriorly and therefore generates a higher risk of disk-related injury. The vertebral bodies and disks are responsible for load transference through the spine and a neutral spine ensures appropriate transfer to the posterior chain, without putting the disks in a vulnerable position. In addition, activation of the deep core musculature can result in improved spinal stability due to the attachment of the core muscles into the fascia surrounding the spine. .

To ensure injury prevention when deadlifting individuals should ensure:

  • Shoulders are above the bar
  • Squeeze shoulder blades back and down/activate Latissimus Dorsi to increase core stability and minimise lumbar flexion
  • Activation of core musculature
  • Keep weight through heels/mid-foot to increase posterior chain activation (gluteals, hamstrings, calves)
  • Attempt to “push floor away from you”
  • Do not increase weight beyond what your abilities allow
  • Take extra caution with technique when performing low repetitions and/or max deadlifts

There are multiple forms of deadlifts which can be utilised to provide variations in an individual’s training program, these injury prevention tips to protect the lumbar spine can be used with all different techniques.

If you have any questions or would like to book in to see one of our physiotherapists, please do not hesitate to contact Get Active Physiotherapy on 1300 8 9 10 11 or email us at

Cross-Fitness Injury Prevention: Protecting the Lumbar Disc in Squatting Motions. (2018). Retrieved 9 March 2018, from
How To Deadlift: A Beginner’s Guide. (2018). Retrieved 9 March 2018, from
Stokes, I., Gardner-Morse, M., & Henry, S. (2011). Abdominal muscle activation increases lumbar spinal stability: Analysis of contributions of different muscle groups. Clinical Biomechanics, 26(8), 797-803.

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