Why You Should Deadlift
The deadlift sounds like a scary exercise, right? For beginners, it might appear too difficult, complex, and, quite possibly, a pain-inducing activity -- so why do it? Well, don't judge a book by its cover because this can be one of the easiest and most effective exercises in your toolbox. The deadlift is a superior strength exercise for the posterior chain with excellent carryover to real life functionality – whether it's sports performance, sumo wrestling, or simply picking up your luggage for vacation, this exercise can seriously improve just about anything! Check out why CoachUp thinks learning and utilizing the deadlift during workouts can be incredibly beneficial for any aspiring athlete in any sport. Then, take that information and start crushing it at the gym!
Deadlifting is one of the best muscle mass building exercises due to its effectiveness on the posterior chain, upper back, and forearms -- grip strength especially. Not only can it be used as a strengthening exercise, but it’s an awesome corrective workout for bad posture as well. This single movement can provide the stiffness needed to minimize anterior pelvic tilt and thoracic kyphosis.
Before continuing, however, it’s important to know that the benefits of deadlifting rely solely on whether you can perform the exercise correctly or not. If the form is incorrect, then you’ll only be cheating yourself, now get that back straight! Now, picking something up and setting it back down doesn't sound too difficult, right? So many beginners are taught incorrectly and those common error techniques stay with them forever. With the force load being in the front of the body, which is your anterior side of the spine, there will be an increased amount of torque + stress placed on the vertebra and lower back musculature.
In order to get down to the bar while maintaining your center of gravity with a neutral spine position means you must have excellent ankle, hip, and thoracic spine mobility. If you can't squat down, grab hold of the bar, and utilize a near-perfect starting position with a neutral spine then you should *not* attempt this exercise until you're able to. Try just practicing with the bar and nothing else until you nail down that form.
Like we mentioned before, there can be a ridiculous amount of benefits from deadlifting, but, if you’re not careful, you can end up causing other problems as well. These issues can arise when you do not have sufficient ankle mobility. For example, you can’t create a space to which the bar can be pulled back toward the shin. You can observe this space by drawing a line straight down from the front of the knee to the floor. If you’re not able to pull the bar back and close this space, then your bar path becomes curved and only increases the amount of torque and movement difficulty, which could lead to injury right from the get go. Some individuals will struggle with proper hip-hinging technique and by struggling, they will compensate decreased hip for lumbar flexion so that they can keep from falling forward. This adds even more torque and shear stress to your lower back -- thus risking a pulled muscle or worse, a ruptured disk.
You need to be able to effectively flex at the hips, this is important for both lifting and regular life, which should come as no surprise. Additionally, when you’re in a starting position and your back is rounding out and you can't literally pull your shoulders back to puff your chest out, then you lack the needed mobility in the thoracic spine. Optimal thoracic spine mobility brings our center of gravity within our base of support and helps ensure we don’t lose a neutral lumbar spine position as soon as we begin the movement. Evidently, having mobility throughout your body's kinetic chain is essential in performing the conventional deadlift with a safe, fluid, and effective movement pattern.
Related: Read about why you shouldn't fear the squat here.
Even if deadlifting seems intimidating or difficult, don’t forget that the benefits will be largely helpful in keeping you on the field consistently and at your peak performance level. It’ll give you an improved center of gravity, a stiffened spine, and overall better structure for whatever type of sport you’re competing in. So, if you’ve been long interested in how your workouts and exercises in the gym can improve your physical well-being, today is a great time to start deadlifting.
However, we must stress that deadlifting can have lowered or potentially dangerous effects on your body if done incorrectly -- and, to be honest, most beginners do struggle at first. Don’t hesitate to ask a trainer at your gym to show you the appropriate stance, form, and technique before seriously trying to lift anything. Try starting with just the bar until you feel comfortable with your form. But if you still feel hesitant, consider booking one of CoachUp’s private trainers to guide you through the process -- what are you waiting for?