When thinking of deadlifts, the thought of grunting, sweaty macho men and overloaded barbells might come to mind. Although this compound exercise might seem intimidating to many women, it has multiple benefits – it strengthens your back and helps eliminate those flabby butt cheeks and hamstrings. It also builds muscle tissue, which speeds up your resting metabolic rate so you burn calories even when reading a magazine, watching television or while getting your nails or hair done. For effective results and injury prevention, learn proper exercise form so you can quickly show off your new curves.
Load a barbell with the desired weight. If you’re new to deadlifts, use a broomstick or just the barbell bar to develop correct form and gradually increase the weight.
Position your feet slightly closer than shoulder-width apart under the barbell bar. Turn your toes about 45-degrees outward with shins are touching the bar. Alternatively, spread your feet wider than shoulder-width apart to take on a sumo stance, which might make it easier to learn correct form if you’re a newbie.
Suck in your tummy so your abdominal muscles tighten and your lower back is supported. Imagine drawing your belly button closer to your spine.
Bend your knees, extend your arms and lower your hips until you can grasp the bar with and alternate grip -- one palm faces up while the other faces down.
Pull your shoulder back, push your chest out and maintain the natural curve in your back -- avoid rounding your back.
Straighten your knees and hips and simultaneously pull the bar up over your shins and knees toward your upper thighs. Keep your arms extended and hold the bar close to your body the entire time -- imagine shaving your legs with the barbell.
Push your hips forward, squeeze your glutes and pull your shoulders back at the top of the exercise.
Pause for one second and slowly reverse the motion and return the barbell to the floor. Avoid dropping the bar down -- maintain control of the motion.
- Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.
- Perform sets and reps according to your fitness level.
- Do deadlifts in a mirror so you can check your form.
- If you prefer using dumbbells, hold them with an overhand grip so your thumbs go under the dumbbells and your other fingers go over the dumbbells.
- Consult your doctor before taking on a new exercise routine, especially if you've been inactive for a while or have health concerns or injuries.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.