After determining the correct foot stance and grip width, the next step in achieving optimal technique in the deadlift is to move your torso into the optimal position to produce as much power off the floor. Here’s what you need to do.
First, position your feet under the bar, bend your knees and grasp the bar so that your shins are touching the bar or are extremely close. Taller individuals tend to be more comfortable with the bar slightly in front of shins. In this position your knees should be aligned with your feet.
Keeping your elbows locked, slowly lower your hips so that your shins are nearly perpendicular to the floor. As you lower your hips into position be careful not to bump the bar forward, which often happens if you lower your hips too quickly. From here you want to arch your back. Because many people have trouble visualizing this, it’s better just to focus on trying to lift your chest up. Do not pull your shoulders back at the start as this will increase the distance the bar has to travel.
Regarding the shoulder position, the shoulders should be slightly in front of the bar or directly above the bar. If your shoulders are too far forward, the bar will move forward at the start of the lift, not back. Your arms perpendicular to the floor and your arms are aligned with your knees. If your elbows are aligned with your knees and your arms are straight, the hips should be positioned slightly higher than your knees (but not higher than your shoulders).
Head position varies with the individual, but the generally accepted guideline is to look at a spot about 12-15 feet in front of you. This helps ensure that your head in aligned with your spine. However, some individual find they are stronger looking straight ahead. What you don’t want to do is look straight down as this will encourage the back to flatten or even round; you also don’t want to look up as this may cause neck strain.
Using these guidelines will ensure that you in a position to lift the most amount of weight comfortably with minimal risk of injury. These are the basics, but before you start pulling on the bar consider that individual anatomical differences will cause slight variations in technique.