For some reason deadlifting has a bad rap. I think I know the reason: Low back injuries. There is a lot of information on the interweb that can scare the general public away from deadlifting. Also, there are a lot of healthcare professionals who will tell you not to deadlift. Some of them are right. Let me clear some things up about one of the most misunderstood movements in fitness.
- Deadlifting must be done, but it must be done correctly.
- Most low back injuries that arise from deadlifting are due to a break in the form; this includes lifting heavy AND light weights.
- A deadlift is not a weighted back extension. This means that you are not supposed to lift the weight with your back; rather, you should stabilize the back/torso while your legs move the weight.
- Do NOT deadlift if you do not know how. More on this below.
- The deadlift is not an upper or lower body exercise. It’s both. And while we’re on the subject, every exercise that you do is a full body exercise- even your bicep curl. If it isn’t, then you aren’t doing it right.
- Everyone should learn how to deadlift. EVERYONE! (It just does not have to necessarily be with a barbell and weights. Do you pick things up from the floor? Then you should learn to deadlift.)
(I am not going to start describe how to deadlift because, honestly, it is not something that can be read and performed. You should invest a little more into your exercise routine and find someone to teach you how to deadlift. This will prevent you from being injured. Also, here a nice write-up from stronglifts.com on 5 reasons why you may be experiencing low back pain with your deadlift: http://stronglifts.com/deadlifts-lower-back-pain-injury-technique/ )
The most important part of the deadlift is learning how to open and close your hips while keeping your spine straight throughout the movement. This can be trained through and exercise called hip hinging. If all you get from this blog is a fundamental idea of how to hip hinge, then I have done my job. Here are the first few steps on how to hip hinge.
- Stand tall with a neutral spine and pelvis.
- Lock your shoulders by bringing you shoulder blades closer together (be sure not to raise the shoulder blades).
- 3. Unlock your knees slightly.
- Tighten your stomach and bend forward at the waist. The idea here is to maintain the same upright spine while bending forward. Notice in the second picture that the curves of the back are maintained while the third picture depicts a large rounding of the upper and lower back.
There are a lot of things to think about with this exercise, so please seek some additional advice on how the rest of the movement is done.
Let me ask you a question, and be honest. What is the purpose of your exercise routine? What is the purpose of you not having an exercise routine? If “general health” is somewhere in your purpose, learn the hip hinge and the deadlift. Doing them correctly and routinely will preserve your active lifestyle. It really will. The absolute best place to learn how to deadlift is in Fairfield, CT at BKAthletics, www.crossfitperformance.com.