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Three Simple Steps That Teach You How to Deadlift

Three Simple Steps That Teach You How to Deadlift

Here’s what you should know…

  • Below are three simple steps that will teach you how to perform the conventional deadlift. I am leaving out a lot of a lot of sophisticated cues to keep this post clean and uncomplicated.
  • Your conventional deadlift will most likely look and feel like a pro’s if you work your way “down” to it.
  • It’s advantageous and imperative you learn to hip hinge before you start deadlifting.
  • There are many different variations of deadlifting (conventional, Jefferson, sumo, trap bar etc.) that require different movement executions. This post isn’t so much about technique per say, but it explains a very simple and effective progression I developed that enables you to perform the conventional deadlift properly.

Have you ever wanted to perform the deadlift, or asked yourself if you are performing it correctly? I understand it’s a scary exercise, and that it’s one regularly avoided due to the fear or risk of spinal injury. That’s why this article and video series was published. To give you confidence and build assurance so that you can learn it on your own with uncomplicated information.

Here is what the conventional deadlift looks like upon first glance.

I register this looks undecorated and straightforward, and that’s the beauty of the deadlift. But don’t assume it doesn’t take some serious repetition to execute this well. Like every other movement or exercise, you will want this lift to become fearless and thoughtless with practice, but when first learning appropriate form, the deadlift will probably require a bit of thinking and could even spawn some chills.

I am omitting a lot of technical, important, and miniscule cues I use with more experienced lifters in this article. However, most people who call themselves “advanced” should still read this as they often dance around necessary deadlifting technique.

Prior to getting started, you must accept each individual may appear unalike when performing the exercise, and that’s fine. The main point I want you to grasp is that your form, positioning, and technique throughout the deadlift will probably strike the eye differently than when compared to others. This is mostly because we all have different structures, restrictions, and or limitations etc.

Enter The Progression…


Here is a picture of the hip hinge with a dowel…

To be able to progress and put the conventional deadlift into practice, you must first learn the hip hinge. I explain it deeply in this post, but decided to make a very quick video for the non-readers above.


Here is a snap shot of the Romanian Deadlift…

All this is, is a the hip hinge with a barbell in your hands. RDL stands for Romanian deadlift while some even call this a straight leg deadlift. Once you have this, you’re ready for step three. Click the video above for more details on how to perform it.


If you didn’t already figure it out, the deadlift asks us to maneuver weight from the ground up. Time and time again, I see this causes people to get in some weird positions when initially getting underway. I notice the “top down” approach tends to improve the conventional deadlift quickly and dramatically. I explain this in the video above.

How to do this…

1. Set up a bar just about level with where your arms hang down too.

Top down rack position

2. Pick the bar up off the rack, and work your way own to the floor with it, keeping the same exact form you learned in my hip hinge and RDL videos in steps one and two above.

When you progress the RDL further and further down to the floor, you will eventually be performing the conventional deadlift, with a few minor tweaks that is. Again you can see what I am talking about in the “step three” video above.

Note: If you do not have RUBBER OLYMPIC plates, I recommend you…

Set up a rack, boxes, plates, or steps etc. so the bar can rest at mid shin height with lighter weights like it would normally with the “big boy” 45lbs plates until you are able to use them. Other options include buying the rubber plates yourself, or joining a gym that has them.

Here is just one way of doing this.


Here is a picture of the conventional deadlift, as it starts from the bottom up…

The deadlift requires you start the exercise from the floor, not from the top down like I showed you in step number three. Now that you know how to lower the bar down to the correct position, it’s time to start pushing your heels into the floor and initiating the exercise from the bottom up. I explain this more in the video above.

This isn’t easy, it calls for patience, and takes consistent practice with the objective to get better for this progression to work. This is true for all “fitness levels”.

When first learning the conventional deadlift, people tend to get overwhelmed with too much information too soon. This simple progression allows you to feel the position first, leaving room for more technical instruction to be pursued later on. Expect more “big league” specialized cues on this exercise soon!

About Justin Rivelli

Justin Rivelli has been training clients online and in-person at his private gym in Berkshire County, Massachusetts for over 15 years. He specializes in helping 35 to 65 year old adults improve their body composition with well-rounded fitness plans that suit their needs, wants, and lifestyle. You can find out more about him at


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