Improve flexibility, strength, and promote back care……
The word Deadlift is something that scares a lot of people. Maybe it’s the first four letters that has something to do with it. More often than not, individuals have strained their lower backs when Deadlifting in the past or already have lower back problems and dare not even bother with it. The Deadlift is a great notch to have under the belt for anybody. If we take away the name and just explain it as a simple movement…..bending forward to pick something off the ground…….whether it is a pencil, child, or a heavy box, surely the Deadlift can help, and I’ll tell you why.
When bending forwards the average person will flex through the spine with legs straight initiating barely any muscular control throughout the body. Due to the weight of the upper body changing the centre of gravity when forward bending the lower back has to take on the role of almost an anchor to stop us falling over. With very little or no muscular activity to support the lumbar spine it is the ligaments and vertebral disks that take the strain…..instantly or over time this will cause problems.
How to deadlift/bend
It is vital that when learning to Deadlift the individual must understand the correct movement involved before even thinking about picking up some weight. If we are to perfect the Deadlift we will no longer just bend forwards, we will hinge from the hips. Hinging allows us to lean forwards without the unwanted strain through the lower back. The teaching points for a Deadlift should go like this………….
Feet – Whether you are in a wide or narrow stance the weight should be distributed through the heels.
Knees – The knees do not need to move a great deal as the backward motion of the hips, create knee flexion alone.
Hips – As we hinge our hips, they will move backwards keeping the spinal erectors engaged allowing for the desired neutral spine.
Shoulder – Aiming to keep firm pressure of the arms to ribs (armpit) will encourage Latissimus Dorsi (Lats) to become engaged, thus preventing unwanted over Kyphotic flexion of the Thoracic spine (upper back between the shoulder blades).
Head – It is common to look forwards or even upwards when Deadlifting causing an over flexed Cervical vertebrae (neck). The aim is to stay long through the back of the neck whilst tucking in the chin.
Although Deadlifting sounds as simple as picking something from the floor, when breaking it down it is a very complex technique that will create strength, flexibility, increased metabolic rate and long term back care.