Joe Defranco, owner of DeFranco's Training Systems, in in New Jersey, recently released a seven step guide to proper deadlift form.

DeFranco, who is known most prominently for his Limber 11 flexibility routine, has a history of training top-level athletes and performers of all kinds, including WWE Superstar Triple H and Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing. His client list is as impressive as any you'll find, and his gym is constantly updated to remain fully-equipped with the best and newest equipment (full disclosure: yes, Defranco's training facilities are outfitted by elitefts).

His step-by-step approach should help a lot of lifters looking for safer and stronger deadlifting:

Proper Deadlift Form - 7 Steps

Step 1: Take your sneakers off. Most sneakers have a heel on them which pulls you forward, and pulls you out of position.

Step 2: Close your eyes and do a vertical jump. Wherever your feet land is where you want to position your stance. This is usually about hip width, or slightly narrower.

Step 3: Place your shins close to the bar, but not directly on the bar. Place your shins around an inch behind the bar and perform a hip hinge until your hands can grab the barbell.

Step 4: Before you pull the barbell off the floor, you are going to "pull the slack out of the bar". Example: If there is 135 pounds on the bar, only pull with 134 pounds of force. (This will put your lats on tension.) Also, make sure your chin is tucked (as if you were making a double-chin); this will ensure you maintain a neutral spine.

Step 5: Force your knees out against your arms. This will create torque at the hips.

Step 6: To initiate the movement, act as if you're "leg pressing" the floor and stand up straight. Do NOT over arch (hyperextend) your low back at lockout. Your body should be in a perfectly straight line at lockout, while focussing on flexing these three specific muscles - lats, glutes, quads.

Step 7: To return the bar to the floor, perform an RDL. Once the bar reaches just below your knee caps, you can drop the bar straight down.

The full article and more content from DeFranco can be found on his website,

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