How to Do Clean Deadlift Properly

The clean deadlift is an exercise whereby you lift a loaded barbell from squatting then standing, ending by lifting the barbell until it is at mid-thigh.

A deadlift is a compound, hip-hinging exercise that involves lifting a weight off the ground to a standing position.

It is called a deadlift because you are lifting weight without momentum off the ground.

It is a pull variation with controlled speed into a standing position.

To do the clean deadlift:

Start with a barbell position close to your shins.

Your feet should be under your hips with your feet turned out slightly.

Grip the bar with a double overhand grip or a hook grip at shoulder-width apart.

Squat down to the bar.

Your spine should be in full extension, with your shoulders ahead of the bar and your back as vertical as possible.

Start by driving through the floor with the front of your heels. As you lift the bar, maintain your back’s straight angle.

Flare your knees sideways to avoid hitting the bar.

After the bar passes your knees, complete the lift by driving your hips into the bar until your hips and knees are straightened.

Return the bar to the floor with controlled movement to complete one rep.


Clean deadlifts work on your legs.

Your hips and knees must engage in flexion and extension to make sure you are doing clean deadlifts correctly.

The muscles worked by the clean deadlift are your posterior chain which includes your glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae.

1.      GLUTES

The glutes include the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus.

The glutes are made of three muscles.

Gluteus maximus is the largest of the gluteal muscles. It helps create force from the lower body and helps keep you upright when you’re standing or sitting.

When you do back rack lunges and other exercises that emphasize your lower body muscles, this is one of the muscles that will be most noticeable.

Gluteus minimus is the smallest of the glutes. It helps rotate your legs and stabilize your pelvis.

Gluteus medius is located between the gluteus maximus and minimus. It supports the rotation of the legs and stabilizes the pelvis.

They are muscles that help keep your spine and core stable. The gluteus receives a lot of activity during the clean deadlift.

The clean deadlift involves external rotating hips and higher degrees of abduction. This means you will feel the effects of the clean deadlift in your butt.


These are muscles at the back of your thighs. They help with knee and hip movements in squatting, walking, bending and tilting your pelvis.

Due to higher knee flexion, the clean deadlift relies on your lower body muscles more than most weight training exercises.

Hamstrings are made of three muscles. Semitendinosus starts at the pelvis and extends to the tibia.

Semimembranosus is the largest of the hamstring muscles. It starts at the back of the thigh by the pelvis and stretches to the back of the tibia.

The Biceps femoris is a long muscle that starts at the thigh and reaches the head of the fibula on the outer thigh close to the knee.


These are the muscles that run up your back along your spine.

They are the muscles that help protect your spine and help with the stability of the core.

These muscles lie on each side of the vertebral column. They also help straighten your back and help with side-to-side rotation.

The clean deadlift helps strengthen your upper, mid, and lower back.



You can easily meet your weight loss goals by adding a clean deadlift to your workout routine.

You can burn a lot of calories while doing the clean deadlift because it requires controlled powerful movements to lift the barbells.

Ten reps of the clean deadlift burn more calories than ten reps of the bicep curls. As a weight exercise, the clean deadlift is very effective.

The clean deadlift is great for building lean muscle mass, enhancing full-body strength and burning calories which can help you meet your weight loss goals


When doing the clean deadlift, you are putting your body through a wide range of motion.

You engage a lot of muscles when lifting the barbell from a squat to standing position and back to the starting position.

Controlled movement of weight through this range of motion helps keep your joints flexible and strong. This is why the clean deadlift is added to the routines of athletes such as gymnasts and swimmers.


The clean deadlift exercise can help you reduce the risk of injury when done frequently and properly.

The full-body movements of the clean deadlift help improve your mobility, flexibility, balance, stability and strength.

Regularly performing these movements helps you perform daily activities more effectively. Doing the clean deadlift minimizes the risk of throwing out your back or twisting your ankles.


Doing clean deadlifts gives you more explosive power than squats or overhead presses.

Fast-twitch muscle fibers are recruited to help perform clean deadlift.

Adding the clean deadlift to your routine will help you run faster or jump higher.


Clean deadlifts put stress on your legs, spine, hips, and arms. This helps promote new bone growth and improved bone density.

This helps reduce the risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis.


The clean deadlift exercise uses the posterior chain of muscles. By strengthening the chain helps you create more balance and stability that can help alleviate posture problems.


There are exercises you can do in case you are recovering from an injury where you can’t do this one.

If you also want the same benefits you can do the following exercises.

1.      BELT SQUAT

To do this exercise:

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Place the belt around your hips and lower back.
  • Start to walk forward then backward pushing from the sides of your feet keeping the stance wide.

2.      HIP THRUST

  • Lie on your back, knees bent and your arms at your sides.
  • Inhale and push through all corners of your feet, engaging your core, glutes, and hamstrings to lift your hips your ceiling.
  • Pause at the top then slowly release back to start.

Also read: How to do banded hip thrust


Avoid lifting the bar when it’s too far away from your legs. Ensure the bar stays next to your shins.

The further the bar is the less you will be able to apply force to lift and add strain to your back.

Do not raise your hips first. This happens when you are too forward to lift. Distribute your weight evenly between your feet. Make sure your shoulders aren’t too ahead of the bar.

If you have a weak core, you could lift your hips too soon. Be sure to engage your core or strengthen it more before adding clean deadlift exercises to your routine.