Real Life Deadlifting Scenarios

By: Coach Marianne


A sound hip hinge is important not only in fitness and athletics but also for functional daily life. The hip is our biggest, strongest, most powerful joint. A proper hip hinge entails moving the hips backwards in space in order to load them maximally for whatever exercise we might be doing. Who doesn’t love standing up a heavy deadlift?  Think about how many times you pick up a bag of groceries off the floor. 🍎 How do you maneuver your body safely when you are helping a friend move furniture? 🛋


The hinge can be difficult to execute correctly - sometimes, without having the requisite body and spatial awareness, it’s hard to isolate a movement at a certain joint.


💭 Here are some cues or analogies to think about on your next deadlift day that might resonate with you.


  1. Get in this classic athletic stance, as shown above - “waiting in the outfield”. Hips are back, chest is proud, shoulders retracted, there is tension throughout the body. Channel your inner baseball player when you deadlift ⚾️

  2. Keep your chin tucked! This keeps your entire spine neutral, from the top of the head to the bottom of the tailbone. Look on the ground 6 feet in front of you versus looking up.

  3. Imagine someone is standing behind you trying to tickle you under the arms - fight hard to hide your armpits! Your shoulders should be set slightly in front of the bar to begin with, so this will help pull your shoulders back and create tension in the lats, helping with a strong, braced upper body.

  4. Imagine there is a rope around your waist and someone is holding onto the other end pulling you backward - your body will bend at the hip joint first.

  5. Picture yourself holding a heavy box in front of your chest but you need to close the car door. You shoot your bottom back to push the door shut while keeping your chest up - this also helps reinforce the notion of leading with the hips first in the hinge.

  6. Consider the diagrams pictured above - both are variations of pulley systems lifting up weight. 🏗 Whatever you do, don’t be the fishing rod! 🎣 We want tight, taught, tense, straight lines when moving external load to be safe, to avoid injury and to be efficient.