Leg and hip engagement prior to a lift can often be overlooked, and for good reason. A lot of us have a checklist to go through beforehand:

The bar weight is even, check

Belt is latched properly, check

Have a favorite pump up song playing, check

We step forward, brace, bend over, and hope to stand up with the bar. After doing this for a while you may notice your back is more sore in comparison to your legs. If you film yourself, you may notice your hips shoot up early and your back arches excessively. While it’s OK to be strong enough to get through the lift, this position puts an incredible amount of stress on your lower back. If you do this regularly, it can lead to a plethora of injuries.

The Difference

Passively standing, bending over, and picking up the bar. Less efficient recruitment

Simply put, actively externally rotate your hips. Think about screwing your leg into the ground, specifically left leg counterclockwise and right leg clockwise.

Engaging your legs and hips prior to the lift will take some tension off your back. Granted the deadlift is a total body exercise, but the effort will be distributed better.

Start off light and practice this. It may take some time to get used to it, but you’ll notice your hamstring and glutes more.

Keep in mind this IS NOT the only solution. This is simply another step to help keep your back and hips healthy.