When it comes to full-body exercises, few are superior to the deadlift. The deadlift strengthens every muscle in the posterior chain (back of the body), from the calves all the way up to the upper back. If you’re not doing some kind of deadlift in your workout routine (barbell deadlift, Romanian deadlift, single-leg deadlift, etc.), you’re missing out on a great full-body strengthener.
In order to get the most out of your deadlifts, though, you need to make sure you have optimal mobility. A good pre-deadlift mobility session can go a long way toward helping you perform the movement correctly and get the strength and physique gains you’re searching for.
Top 5 Deadlift Mobility Drills
Listed below are five mobility drills that can help you get warmed up for your next deadlifting session. I highly recommend these drills, especially if you struggle to deadlifts on proper form (a post on that is coming soon!).
Knee Wall Taps
These help to warm up your ankles and make sure you’re able to connect to the floor better and generate more power during your deadlifts.
Stand about four inches away from the wall. Place your hands on the wall in front of you for support. Bend at your knees until your kneecaps touch the wall.
As you bend your knees, do not let your heels rise up off the floor. If you can’t touch the wall, this is a sign that you need to dedicate more time to your ankle mobility.
Bodyweight Hip Hinges
These are great for warming up the hamstrings, hips, and calves.
Stand up straight with your hands on your hips and your feet hip-distance apart. Make sure your toes are facing forward. While keeping a slight bend in your knees and making sure your spine is straight, hinge at your hips and send them out behind you.
If you’re brand new to this movement, stand about six inches away from a wall (facing away from it) and try to touch the wall with your glutes as you hinge.
These help open up the chest and minimize rounding during the deadlift.
Lie flat on the floor, face down in a prone position. Extend your arms out to the side with your palms flat on the floor.
Engage the muscles in your upper back, as well as the muscles in your core, and raise your arms, chest, shoulders, neck, and head off the ground. As you’re doing this, think of pinching a pencil between your shoulder blades.
Overhead Squat Reaches
These are great for warming up the hips and also opening up the chest so you can stay upright when deadlifting. If you’re hunching and rounding you’re back, you’re going to be more likely to experience back pain while you deadlift.
Start in a deep squat position with your feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms in front of you with your thumbs facing up. While keeping your arms straight, raise your arms up over your head. Hold the overhead position for a few seconds, the lower your arms back down.
Single-Leg Toe Touches
I highly recommend doing single-leg toe touches before deadlifting sessions if you have a hard time feeling your hamstrings working while doing deadlifts.
Single-leg toe touches help to activate your hamstrings and improve your mind-muscle connection so you can get more bang for your buck when doing deadlifts.
To do these, stand up straight and extend your arms out to the side. Shift your weight to your left foot and hinge at your hips, sending your right leg out behind you. Focus on sending it back and out rather than back and up.
As your leg goes back, reach down toward the floor with your right hand and try to touch your left foot. Keep your back flat while you reach. After you touch your left foot, rise back up, keeping your back flat and core engaged.
Here’s a video breakdown if you need to see any of these exercises in more detail.
Give this warm-up a try before your next deadlifting session and let me know how it goes!