1 Essential Cue for Coaching the Deadlift


The deadlift is the King (or Queen) of exercises, but for many clients can be a long road to perfection. From learning how to hip-hinge top-down, to selecting a stance (sumo vs. traditional), to working on flexibility to pull from the floor....it can be a journey.

One that's well worth going on though as you won't find a model for human movement that doesn't include deadlifting or hinging as an essential part of any and all training programs.

Like a lot of compound movements, it's one that is also easy to over cue so you have to choose your battles and find the right way to minimize your cues for the maximum benefit with every client.

I have made use of the following cues for years.....

"Keep your back flat"

"Lead with your hips"

"Stay tight and drive your hips forward"

"Weight in your heels"

"Chest tall"

The list goes on.......many of them have served well and resulted in clients knocking this movement out of the park, but still some clients complain of feeling it in their back.

Before giving away my magic cue, it's worth saying that the deadlift also isn't one of those exercises that you feel in a muscle group the same way you do a bicep curl.

That is entirely ok.

It can serve as a sign though that they still haven't heard the cue or hit the rep where it all finally clicks for them.

It might not be earth shattering, but here it is:

"Keep everything else tight and just push your feet through the ground."

It might not seem like much but take a second to put yourself inside the head of someone without a lot of deadlifting experience. To the untrained eye you just walk up and pull the bar off of the ground.

In truth this really is what you do, but framing it that way in someone's mind doesn't promote the tightness and stability we are looking for elsewhere in the body. It also doesn't inherently promote activation of the glutes and hamstrings as the drivers of the movement.

So give it a try. No seriously, stand up and try it with the thought in mind of pushing your feet through the ground. I have found that time and time again it's a simple cue that helps clients engage the right muscles prior to even initiating the movement of lifting the bar off the floor.

Check out the short video below explaining this simple but game changing cue and then get out there and put it to use!

Joe Drake is co-owner of Gravity + Oxygen Fitness, a successful training Studio in Boca Raton, FL. Joe is also co-owner of the Axiom Fitness Academy where he works closely with new fitness professionals to go from getting certified to finding success in a competitive fitness market. Joe also holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from Florida Atlantic University and is a Technogym Master Trainer. You can connect with him more at www.JoeDrake.com

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