A barbell deadlift is a staple, compound, total-body exercise. And while it may seem fairly simple—pick up the barbell and set it back down—correct deadlift form is absolutely essential for preventing injury.

The lift targets the hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, and lower back—so yes, there are more steps to executing the barbell deadlift properly and completely than most people think. The checklist of necessary movements are as follows:

  • Brace core.
  • Keep back straight.
  • Position shoulders over bar.
  • Engage lats and glutes as you pull.
  • Track bar directly up legs.
  • Fire glutes and force hips through to lockout.