Jen Rulon

Welcome to “Rulon Rules” for Deadlifts

When executed correctly, deadlifts stand out as an exceptional full-body workout. Personally, I’m a strong advocate for Romanian Deadlifts (RDL), though I acknowledge that some athletes struggle due to tight hamstrings.

Muscles Engaged in Deadlifts

Now, let’s explore the muscles engaged in deadlifts – an exhaustive list indeed:

  1. Trapezius Muscle
  2. Latissimus Dorsi
  3. Gluteus Maximus
  4. Hamstrings
  5. Quadriceps (All 4 muscles)
  6. Erector Spinae (Stabilizers of the lower back)
  7. Rectus Abdominis
  8. Obliques

Five Key Points to a Deadlift

  1. Hand Position

    Opt for either both hands pronated (palm facing you) or one hand supinated (palm away from you) while the other is pronated. (Refer to the accompanying video for a visual guide).

  2. Alignment

    Ensure your shoulders, hips, and feet are perfectly aligned. Note the slight outward positioning of my hands relative to the knees.

  3. Chest Engagement

    Stick your chest out, or envision pulling your scapulas toward your spine.

  4. Lifting Technique

    Elevate the bar using your glutes, quads, and hamstrings to draw the hip toward the bar. Avoid relying on your back muscles.

  5. Form Reset

    If you sense any deviation from the correct form, step away from the bar and reset. Focus on alignment, engage your core, and visualize your hip moving towards the bar.

To further enhance your understanding of deadlifts, I’ve included a video demonstrating the proper technique.

The primary takeaway with deadlifts is to avoid lifting excessively heavy weights without maintaining proper form. Understand the two distinct phases: the lifting phase to extend the hip and knee, and the lowering phase to flex them. Athletes who pull with their back risk extending the hip and knee beyond the safe range, leading to back strain. (Note: Exceptions exist, but as readers of this blog, you likely fall into the category of everyday healthy humans – not bodybuilders striving to max out their deadlifts.)

I trust this offers a clearer perspective on executing a deadlift correctly! Feel free to leave your questions or comments below.


AUTHOR: Jen Rulon

I have been coaching triathletes, runners, and cyclists for over 21+ years; I received my Master's Degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. And as you may have learned, there is more to life than swimming, biking, and running. It is a lifestyle, and I am here to help you cross that finish line with a smile, whether it is an Ironman Triathlon or the Ironman of Life. You can find my knowledge shared in Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx Stage, the Health and Wellness Expo in San Antonio, TX, Southwest Research Institute Human Performance Summit, Training Peaks Workshops, "Self Motivation Strategies for Women" on Amazon, Men's Journal Online, and the New York Times. I also practice what I preach—she's a 15x Ironman Triathlete who participated in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, on October 14, 2017.

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