If done properly, the deadlift is one of the best exercises for developing total body strength (Fact: pulling heavy stuff off the ground = increased manliness). However, the key is doing them properly. The purpose of this blog is explain 3 coaching cues that will help the athlete get into a proper set up before attempting to deadlift.
1. Feel the steel
2. Pull yourself down to the bar
Instead of just grabbing the bar and dropping down into position, I like to use this cue. When an athlete understands and does this correctly they are able to get into a good starting position with adequate thoracic extension. When athletes use the bar to pull themselves into proper position, they are also more likely to shift the weight back onto their heels. This works in relation to the first cue in reminding the athletes to not let their weight shift too far forward.
3. Pack you neck
This last cue helps the athlete keep a neutral spine. By instructing an athlete to pack their neck, or make a double chin (the ladies love this one), they are able to keep a neutral cervical spine. When athletes have a hyperextended cervical spine they are also likely to have hyperextension in their lumbar spine (excessively arched lower back) which, like I said before, we want to minimize as much as possible.
So there you have it. Next time you are coaching your athletes in the deadlift try these 3 cues and their starting positions should improve dramatically. Feel free to leave comments with some other coaching cues that you have found to work well!