Chalk Talk: Will Gaugler

Build strength and prevent injury with deadlift tips from Penn State's Club Powerlifting president.

illustration of a man deadlifting weights that say We Are Penn State, by Joel Kimmel


Heavy Mettle

The deadlift is a great exercise to build back and core strength, but it’s also a movement that can cause injury if not performed properly. Will Gaugler, the president of Penn State Club Powerlifting, has put up 545 pounds in competition. His tips will help you lift any amount of weight. 


Solid Stance

Setting your feet roughly shoulder-width apart and centering the bar at your midfoot line will put you in position for an efficient lift.


Slow and Steady    

Wedging your hips under your shoulders and creating gradual tension helps you generate power from the floor.


Tighten Up   

Gaugler says he focuses on bracing right before the lift. Taking a deep breath protects your core.


Remember to Reset    

Instead of starting your next rep immediately after you complete the first, Gaugler says, be sure to let the weight come to a complete rest.


Don’t Overdo   

Gaugler has one heavy deadlift day and a second lighter day per week.


Bonus Tip for Beginners

If you’re brand-new to deadlifting, Gaugler suggests beginning with a trap bar, which will make it easier to keep your back neutral, and starting with light weights and building gradually.