Full Body Deadlift Warmup | Prep Properly for Strong Pulls

This 8 move warmup routine will prime your whole body!

The conventional deadlift is a strength training staple in nearly everyone’s exercise routines.

It’s a movement that’s often regarded as one of the best that anyone can perform when the goal is building total body strength, and it’s an exercise that a few athletes have literally built careers off of. In fact, there are few feelings in the gym that compare to the satisfaction of lifting monstrous amounts of weight. 

A first step to deadlifting big weightthat can sometimes get overlooked — is performing a quality warmup. A great warmup will prime areas on the body that are essential for deadlifting. In our deadlift warmup, we flow through eight exercises that are designed to activate and stimulate every area on the body that is needed to perform heavy pulls.

Check out the video below for an in-depth and visual guide for our eight exercise deadlift warmup. 

Conventional Deadlift Warmup

Warmup Stats

  • Total Time Needed to Complete: 6-12 minutes
  • Total Exercises: 8
  • Designed For: Beginners – Advanced Trainees

1. Ankle and Hip Stretch

The goal of this first movement is to work through some light ankle mobility and put a light stretch on the hip. When performing this exercise squeeze the glutes and grip the floor with the foot and actively work through hip external and internal rotation. 

Hip and Ankle Stretch
Hip and Ankle Stretch
  • Why: Increase ankle and open up the hips. 
  • Body Parts Focused On: Ankle and hips
  • Rep Scheme: 20-30 seconds on each leg.

2. Supine Leg Extension

For the next movement, you’ll lie on your back, extend one leg and the bring the other to a 90 degree hip flexion and lightly hold that leg with the hands. Once you’re here, extend the leg fully and think, “contract the quad”, then return the leg to its starting position. 

Supine Leg Extension
Supine Leg Extension
  • Why: Elongate hamstrings and activate quads. 
  • Body Parts Focused On: Hamstrings and quads
  • Rep Scheme: 10-15 reps per side

3. Dead Bug

While on the ground, transition into a dead bug. This is a great movement to perform pre-deadlifts because it’s going to activate the core, slightly work the hip flexors, and improve proprioception/coordination before grabbing the barbell. 

Dead Bug
Dead Bug
  • Why: Activate core and work coordination. 
  • Body Parts Focused On: Core, hip flexors, 
  • Rep Scheme: 10-15 reps per side

4. Glute Bridge

While lying down, ground the feet and transition into a glute bridge. The glute bridge is great prior to deadlifts because it’s going to help prime you for a strong hip extension, activate the glutes, and bridge your mindfulness of rib cage positioning. 

Glute Bridge
Glute Bridge
  • Why: Activate glutes and work rib cage positioning.
  • Body Parts Focused On: Glutes, adductors, torso.
  • Rep Scheme: 2 sets of 15-20 reps per side

5. Hip Airplane

The next movement to be performed is the hip airplane. This is a phenomenal exercise for opening the hips, working stability, focusing on glute activation, and dialing in general proprioception. For this exercise, grab something for stability if you cannot perform them with an external anchor. 

Nail the Setup

To begin a hip airplane, get into a position similar to what you would be in at the end of a single leg RDL. If you need to, hold onto something to ensure you don’t lose your balance when performing this exercise.

A natural progression is to get to a point where you don’t need an external anchor to properly perform them.

In this position think: 

  • Grip the floor with the foot.
  • Keep the back foot elevated to roughly parallel with the floor.
  • Bring the hips to a parallel position and try to feel a stretch in the glute region on the planted leg.
  • Keep the torso in a stacked position and avoid opening the shoulders without creating a rotation with the full torso.

Open the Hip

Once you’ve nailed the starting position, you’re going to work to open the hip. The goal is to keep the torso rigid, the back leg elevated, and to externally rotate the hips without losing balance on the ground.

After you’ve hit your max range of motion, you’ll return slowly to the starting position, then once you feel the stretch in your glute again — you’ll repeat the process for another rep.

  • Why: Activate glutes, work hip mobility/stability, and improve coordination.
  • Body Parts Focused On: Glutes and adductors.
  • Rep Scheme: 5-6 reps per side

6. Goblet Squat

The first loading movement you’ll perform is the goblet squat. For this part of the warmup, select a light weight and focus on controlling your tempo and keeping the rib cage stacked without flaring up the chest. As opposed to performing one set, you’re going to perform three variations with your stance widths all in one set. 

Goblet Squat Deadlift Warmup
Goblet Squat Deadlift Warmup
  • Why: Focus on lower body strength/activation and work torso positioning.
  • Body Parts Focused On: Legs, torso, and core.
  • Rep Scheme: 5-8 reps with a narrow, medium, and wide stance width

7. Dumbbell RDL to Row

The next movement is designed to be more dynamic in nature and it involves performing a light dumbbell row to a row. This is a great little complex because it primes your hip hinge (and stability) and focuses on priming the lats. 

Dumbbell RDL and Row
Dumbbell RDL and Row
  • Why: Work hip stability and hinge while activating the lats.
  • Body Parts Focused On: Hips, lats, and torso. 
  • Rep Scheme: 2 sets of 5-6 reps

8. Hang and Knee Raise 

The final movement is this warmup is for the forearms, hip flexors, and core. Grip and forearms often get overlooked in deadlift warmups, but they are essential for strong pulls. 

Pull-Up Bar Hang to Knee Raise
Pull-Up Bar Hang to Knee Raise
  • Why: Warmup forearms, hip flexors, and core.
  • Body Parts Focused On: Forearms, hips, and core.
  • Rep Scheme: 2 sets of 5-6 reps

Wrapping Up

A great deadlift starts with a strong warmup. More than likely you already have a warmup you like to follow and if you do, then keep on keeping on. However, if you want to switch things up or cherrypick some of these movements to include in your current, then do it, and let us know how you like the warmup in the comments below!

Deadlift Warmup FAQs

How should I prepare for deadlifts?

When it comes to preparing and warming up for deadlifts a simple way to do so effectively is to spend a little time on each joint working through ranges of motion needed to complete proper deadlifts.

Once you’ve gone through unloaded mobility drills, then it’s time to start lightly loading the body with movement patterns that will be used during the deadlift (hip hinge, hip extension, etc.).