Deadlift Cues: What are you thinking?

What are you thinking about when you deadlift? Are you sort of complacent? Are you lifting somewhat mindlessly? Do you have a set of cues you concentrate on? Do have a firm movement sequence that you strictly follow (same set up, same initiation, same lockout, etc.)?

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When you are lifting heavy, you don’t have much room for error – complete concentration is a must. That’s where having cues can help as they intended to direct concentration and motivate intended outcomes.

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By establishing cues, you can develop consistency and a proper sequence for a lift that will improve form and performance. Cues should be personal, because everyone’s cues will vary based on an individual and what their lift needs. In fact, using someone else’s cues (i.e. – knees out, butt down when you shouldn’t) can lead to worsening performance or even injury. That being said, my personal cues are tailored and always evolving; however, I do follow this same thought sequence every time when I sumo deadlift (and in this order). Here’s what I like to think of:

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  • Breathe into your belt
  • Engage your lats
  • Pull the slack out of the bar
  • Initiate by spreading the floor with your feet
  • Drive your hips and squeeze glutes

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I help my clients come up with cues that work for them. What about you? What are thinking about when you deadlift?

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