Stolen from ''Deadlift for size: If you want to get big, you must do this exercise. Here's how!''
The deadlift is deceptively simple. Although it appears to be no more complex than picking up a weight, proper form requires practice to make certain your legs and back pull simultaneously. Shift too much focus to your back and you'll sacrifice power white also risking a major lumbar strain. What follows is the proper deadlifting technique.
Load a barbell on the floor. If your gym has a powerlifting platform or area with more rubber padding, set up there.
Stand near the barbell with your feet approximately 10" apart.
Grasp the barbell with an alternating grip (one hand overhand, one hand underhand) and with your hands slightly wider than your legs. Although we recommend the alternate grip, some people prefer a two-hand overhand grip. Use training straps if necessary to further secure your grip.
Bend your knees, lower your buttocks and keep your back flat.
Keep your head up by focusing on something above and in front of you throughout the movement.
Steadily pull the weight off the floor. The lift will begin with power supplied by your lower body.
The bar should brush against your legs on the way up. (Special clothing is unnecessary, although loose sweatpants may interfere with the lift.)
As you stand up, pull up the bar with you. Focus on keeping your head up. Your back will work without your focusing on it. Your back and legs should contract simultaneously without one getting out in front of the other. Don't lock out your legs early--you don't want to have to straighten your torso with only back strength. Your legs should not be totally straight until the moment your torso becomes perpendicular to the floor.
Stand straight at the top of the lift and let your shoulders roll back into their natural position. Don't lean back or pull your shoulders back in an exaggerated fashion, as this is more likely to strain muscles than build them.
Lower the bar to the floor again in a controlled fashion, but not so slowly that you have to strain to slow its descent.
Always practice flawless form, even in your warm-ups.
Some powerlifters use the sumo technique, deadlifting with their feet far apart and pointed outward, but this style has less value to bodybuilders as it is primarily a way of maximizing leg, hip and glute power and thus minimizing back action.
Stiff-leg deadlifts, during which your legs are kept straight, also focus on your lower back, but they primarily emphasize stretching and tensing your hamstrings and glutes. If included in your overall program, they should be done for hamstrings, before or after leg curls.