Transform a classic exercise into a total-body supermove in six steps. Many guys struggle with their form when doing a deadlift, sometimes even the muscleheads that lift 3 times their body weight. Here’s how to make sure you don’t kill you spine while retaining your strength the proper way.

There’s a reason why so many trainers consider the deadlift the king of all exercises: few other moves recruit more muscle. In addition to your glutes and hamstrings, it hits your shoulders, quads, core and back – if you do it right. “Most guys don’t,” says Tony Gentilcore, cofounder of Cressey Sports Performance. Sure, you know the basics (keep the bar close, don’t round your back), but if you follow Gentilcore’s tips on this page, you can finally realise the move’s full potential.

1/Tuck Your Chin – In fact, make it a double. You’ll align your entire spine, reducing your risk of injury and increasing power and stability.

2/Keep Your Back Flat – Overarching is just as bad as rounding. For a “neutral” position, pull your shoulders towards your back pockets.

3/Move Your Butt –Push your hips back as if you’re trying to close a door with your behind. Never let your hips fall below your knees.

4/Don’t Jerk The Bar – Lock your elbows and keep tension on the bar. Use a mixed grip to strengthen your hold and boost stability.

5/Set Your Feet – Position them narrower than hip width to reduce the stress on your knees and to keep your form tight from start to finish.

6/Switch Perspectives – Think about pushing the ground away instead of pulling the bar up. That will help keep your focus on your lower body.

Hump The Bar – The deadlift is all in the hips. As you near the top of the movement, thrust your hips forward and squeeze your glutes so you end with your legs straight. That will maximize your muscle activation as well as the power of each rep.