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How To Deadlift Correctly

How To Deadlift Correctly & Why "Hinging" is Important For Runners

exercises and drills glutes hamstrings lifting pelvic floor training smarts May 03, 2024

A staple exercise in all of my programming for my runners is a deadlift or something in the hinge movement pattern. It’s a staple in most running strength training plans, to be honest, but the devil is in the details with this one so I want to talk a little bit more about why this movement is so important for runners. It's important to learn how To deadlift correctly, or hinge correctly, to get all the benefit of the exercise without out just feeling it in your low back.


Often coaches and trainers will suggest doing deadlifts because they strengthen your hamstrings, glutes and back. While that’s not wrong per se the why for me is a little bit deeper. When you understand why, we can apply some specific cues to truly get the most out of it when it comes to improving the efficiency of your stride.


A deadlift or hinge works to load the body into an internally rotated position: pronation at the foot and internal rotation at the hip. This eccentrically (working as it lengthens) loads the glutes and the pelvic floor.

This is analogous to what's happening at midstance in your stride.

At midstance, your center of mass is organized over your stance leg (aka. truly standing ON one leg) through:

  • Internal rotation at the pelvis  and length in the glutes
  • Anterior pelvic floor contraction through length in the back of the pelvic floor
  • Max TRUE pronation (knee tracking over toes)


Midstance in your stride is where you put the most force into the ground AND where the ground puts the most force into you.

Nailing midstance is a cornerstone of an efficient running stride! It might feel like semantics because loading through this length is what strengthens your glutes (and hamstrings) but this understanding helps with finding the “best” cues to get the most out of the exercises. 


As you move into your hinge, my favorite cues are:

“Shift back into your hips”

“Lengthen your backside”

“Spread your sits bones apart”

“Inhale into your butthole”


As you stand back up, my favorite cues are:

“Press through your whole foot”

“Extend through the hips before the knees”


Try this series of drills and exercises to help put this thought process into action and help you learn how to deadlift Correctly:


**First, we need to nail some details in two other parts of your body to be able to feel that length in the backside - your ribs/torso and your knees/feet.**

At the ribs/torso, you need to stay open in the chest without overly arching your back - aka. maintaining a long spine.


Before I give you the drill, try this little experiment.


Place your hands on your butt, shift back into your hips. Feel your bottom widen into your hands.

Now drop your chest and round your back.  Feel how all that length disappears? Bye bye gains!


Drills That will Help You Learn How To Deadlift Correctly:


My favorite drill for keeping your spine long, without just going the other way and overly arching as the “keep your chest lifted” cue typically does, is what I so creatively call this Long Spine Hinge Drill.



At the knees/feet, you need to move into pronation. This means your knees should flex forward over your mid foot (think knees over laces).


One of my favorite ways to practice this connection is this, Staggered Stance Hinge with Knee on Foam Roller Reference (don’t you love how creative I am with naming my exercises 🤣)



Do I want you to hinge like this always? No. Your foot needs to be able to move and load too, but it’s a help drill to begin to feel how important loading over the foot is to finding length in those glutes.


Now let’s put these skills together with a Staggered Stance Hinge. 



Keep in mind the two drills you did above as you do this hinge - spine long and knee bent over your laces.


Another important checkpoint here with single-leg hinging is making sure you are actually standing on that leg. Remember, in your running stride, this translates to being able to own midstance.


As described in the video above: 

  • If you are turning away from your working leg as the hips, you are not truly standing on that leg. Try squeezing the ball between your knees to use your adductors for support as you shift back.
  • If your hip pops out to the side instead of shifting back, you are not truly standing on that leg. Try wrapping a band around your knees to use your glute med for support as you shift back.
  • If you lose connection with the floor, try using wedge or folded up socks to help maintain a solid tripod foot (and check again, knee over laces).


Did you catch the part above about midstance and your pelvic floor?

At midstance, your pelvic floor ascends through length as you move into internal rotation.

This means that, if you are experiencing pelvic floor symptoms with running, working on contracting the pelvic floor by squeezing isn’t going to get you very far AND for many it could be doing more harm than good! Learning to load through length like we talked about above is a major piece of the puzzle! To help you put ALL the puzzle pieces together, I’m creating a new short, to-the-point program about just that!


Pelvic Floor Fundamental is rolling out soon!


Support your pelvic floor through a whole-body approach so that you can run freely in just 30 minutes a week! Pelvic Floor Fundamentals is an effective supplement to any training program for female runners who want to enjoy running without worrying about their pelvic floor all the time.


Join the Waitlist now to receive an EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT and a SPECIAL BONUS! 


In the meantime, I have free 7 day course for you to try centered around that idea of finding length. As you just read the deadlifts are so important and the hinging motion is something we need to focus on for an effortless run through midstance and beyond. This Free Glute Accelerator gets sent to your email DAILY so you can stay on track and strengthen your glutes, to become a stronger and faster runner (and experience some booty gains as a bonus) ! Sign Up Below!



Don't hesitate to add these drills to your Deadlifting and strength training warm up. Remember mastering How To Deadlift Correctly is so important for your running performance and can help with improving your running economy. 


What To Read Next: 

The Importance of Controling Your Breathing and How Improve CO2 Tolerance

How to Set Your Running and Strength Training Weekly Schedule

Muscle Imbalance in Your Legs: Symptoms of an Inefficient Running Stride

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