Sitting in the truck this morning before the sun was even up, I got the chance to think about a lot of the things going on in my life.
Such is life when you are in, come to find out, three hours of traffic on a snowy morning in Rhode Island.
Do some math for me, would you?
Rhode Island is 37 miles wide and 48 miles long. How in the holy-horse-shit can I be in traffic/traveling for three hours IN RHODE ISLAND and not be doing laps…
The main point of this post to shed some light on a key to success for your training/weight loss/fitness journey.
You see, as I was sitting in my snowy, traffic hell, I was thinking about all the people that I have worked with in the past or currently who have either not heard of a deadlift, or worse, they do not do them because they heard they “hurt your back”.
It hurts my heart to hear you guys say such things.
But if we follow the same sort of logic that is used above, we can come to conclusion that toothbrushes cause you to vomit, and zipping your fly causes circumcisions. In all scenarios, your form is way off.
The truth of the matter is that the deadlift, albeit done correctly, will not only get you stronger for whatever it is you find yourself doing, but will prevent you from injuring your back. This is true for everyone. Deadlifting, on the contrary, aids in armoring your posterior chain, thus creating a more secure and stronger structure. This means that we are in fact warding off the common muscular and structural weaknesses that for most people, may reveal themselves as future injury locations as they age. (low back, knees, hips, etc.). The stronger you core, legs, back, and hips are, the less likely you are to injure them.
This goes for everybody. I mean everyone,everyone.
Not like the "Everyone I workout with".
Not "Everyone I know that lifts like me".
Do not say that you don’t deadlift because you are a woman, or you are old, or that you are just looking to do some “cardio” or some other "toning" bullshit. You are putting a limitation on yourself based on your age or gender or perceived ability level. You would not let someone else do that to you, so why do it to yourself?
Cut it out.
Look at this list of muscles and tell me that you do not wish you could be stronger and more aesthetic in these areas?
Gluteus Maximus: (Butt)
Quadriceps: (Upper Front legs)
Adductor Magnus: (Inner Thigh)
Soleus: (Smaller part of your calf muscle)
Hamstrings: (Upper back of legs)
Gastrocnemius: (bigger part of your calf muscle)
Erector Spinae: (lower back)
Trapezius, upper: (upper neck muscles)
Trapezius, middle: (middle neck muscles)
Levator Scapulae: (the muscle from your jaw to your shoulder)
Rhomboids: (upper inner back muscles right below your neck)
Rectus Abdominis: (abs)
Obliques: (side abs)
You can. It’s called deadlifting. Are you seeing the message yet?
One exercise provides work to these muscles. If I were a lazy person (and I am) I would be utilizing the deadlift more (and I do) and cutting out a lot of the other crap I did. Just saying.
The deadlift is the single best “bang for your buck” that you can do in the gym if you are looking to gain muscle, develop real strength, and become the most badass version of yourself that you can be. You can walk into the gym, perform a few heavy sets of deadlifts using a barbell, kettlebells, dumbbells, or other assorted heavy objects, get better results and a much better workout than you would if you decided to merely “hit your trouble spots” with arms and abs.
That is the beauty of become stronger at deadlifting! It helps you build strength to truly handle any object you need to carry during your normal day to day life. Plus, there is nothing more personally motivating and exciting than being able to pick something heavy off the ground.
Have a heavy backpack to carry? Deadlifts makes that easier.
Carrying heavy groceries? Deadlifts make that easier.
Picking up grandkids/kids/babies? Deadlifts make that easier.
Have to help carry your drunk friend onto the couch after he passed out between the wall and the toilet? Deadlifts make that easier.
Sorry for the oddly specific example but if not for deadlifting and learning to better stabilize my body during a lift, I would not have been able to keep myself from getting hurt in such a weird position.
So, you see the benefits of deadlifting but are still concerned with how to do them effectively?
I am your man.
Insert the 5 Steps to Deadlifting.
I will not be taking any sort of credit for creating this procedure. This comes from Starting Strength and I have personally utilized this step by step process to help my clients and athletes to not only learn to deadlift and feel confident with the movement, but to also provide them with a fool-proof setup that they can use every time they need it.
These steps are designed to get you using a barbell for deadlifts. So just keep that in mind.
Step 1: Place the bar 1 Inch away from your shins.
The cue I like to utilize when teaching this step is to say that you are looking to cut your foot in half. Now when I say half, I mean half. This means that the bar is over tongue of your shoes, or if you are barefoot, the arch of your foot. Photograph this foot position as this is where you will always start from when deadlifting.
Step 2: Without bending the knees (or dropping your hips) take a grip on the bar right outside your shins. DO NOT MOVE THE BAR.
The key here is to keep your legs nice and straight and you bend from the hips to take a grip on the bar. Your hands should be placed directly outside of your legs. If you kick the bar out in front of you, or change he position of the bar over your feet, you will need to restart at step 1.
Step 3: WITHOUT MOVING THE BAR, drop your shins to the bar by bending your knees.
Bend your knees slightly to bring your shins in contact with the bar. Do not push the bar away from you. Again, if you move the bar, start at step 1.
Step 4 Squeeze your chest up without lowering hips.
Focus on showing your chest off to someone in front of you. Do not lower the hips to do so. Imagine there is a string going from the top of your head, to the ceiling and somebody is tugging on it.
Step 5 Drag the bar up your legs, keeping it in contact
with your legs the whole way up.
Slide the bar up your legs the whole way up.
Now simply reverse the process and begin again. I like to have my athletes and clients do this process every single rep until I feel confident in their setup and they look competent in the movement.
So, there you have it.
Now go to the gym, or your basement, wherever you find yourself working out and get to deadlifting. Do not be scared, use your brain, and you will not only be stronger and in better shape, but you will be reinvigorated on your fitness journey and may even find the enjoyment in lifting for performance.
As always let me know how I can help you on your journey.