Perfecting the Deadlift

27 September 2016
 Categories: , Blog


Including large compound exercises in your workout routine helps to burn more calories and build more functional strength that isolation moves alone can't do. The deadlift is the perfect example of where a compound movement helps to engage the front and rear muscles in the leg, the spine, core and the upper back and shoulders sequentially, helping to develop each muscle. However, with any good deadlift the exercise starts from the feet, and any reputable sports podiatrist will tell you that appropriate footwear for such an exercise, is of paramount importance to reduce the risk of injury.


The deadlift is one of the most fundamental weight training exercises that you can do. From forming the foundation for picking up weights correctly, to helping develop mass and strength, it simply cannot be beaten. However the key to a good deadlift begins with a solid base, with your feet around shoulder width apart. Then, by pushing through the heel with your hips dropped low and chest pushed forward to keep the back at a 45-degree angle, you engage the core and stand up. All the while keeping the weight close to the body, so that it only ever follows a direct path up and down in front of you. At the top of the deadlift gently pull the shoulders back and proceed to reverse the exercise. 

Whilst it may seem that the feet are only truly considered at the beginning, they actually play a major part throughout. By pushing through the heel the weight is removed from the front of the patella, under the knee. The feet then help to stabilise the body and work with the core to stop the centre of gravity shifting too much, which can cause strain on the lower back. 

Cross Training Shoes

To assist with the movement running trainers should be avoided. The soft cushioned soles compress and cause the foot to constantly move, which shifts the balance of the weight and can cause certain muscle to strain as they work overtime to correct your posture. Instead use a cross training shoe, as they have a thinner but more solid sole that allows you to feel the small micro changes in your balance, and adjust accordingly with your toes and feet. They are also suitable for both cardiovascular workouts and strength training. The heel will also make it easier to push up through and thus reduce the likelihood of putting pressure on the patella, which can cause swelling and knee pain.