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Deadlifts - Forward Thinking About Your Backside

Posted by Douglas W. Stoddard MD, M Sp Med, Dip Sport Med, ES on 13 June 2017
Deadlifts - Forward Thinking About Your Backside

Deadlifts sound scary. "Dead" is in their name after all.

Deadlifts look scary. You usually see someone built like a fire hydrant, grunting and groaning, ruthlessly powering ungodly amounts of weight off of the floor.

But deadlifts aren't scary. In fact, they' are one of the most useful efficient exercises for strength, athletic performance, posture, and most importantly, injury recovery and prevention.

How to do a deadlift

Check out this step-by-step video on how to do a deadlift:

As you can see, deadlifts aren't about brute force - they're about technique and coordinating your major muscle groups into performing the movement effectively. If you're new to the lift, start light, and stay light for a long time. Maintaining form is enough of a workout when your body is learning the muscle engram pattern of the deadlift.

Why deadlifts improve your posture

Deadlifts strengthen your posterior chain, since you're lifting with your hamstrings and glutes, while maintaining a neutral spine. When performed correctly, they engage more muscles than any other lift, building up the stabilizer muscles that'll keep your posture upright.

They also strengthen your thoracic spine, and pull your posture backwards, serving as a counter-balance to life's conspiracy to pull you forward.

Life's conspiracy to pull you forward

Athletes in running intensive sports can avoid lifting weights like the plague, but it's only to their detriment.

These athletes overuse muscles such as the pectorals, biceps, and quads, becoming susceptible to repetitive stress injuries. If you run a lot, and your job requires sitting on a chair, hunching forward, your posture is caving in on itself because your backside is getting no love!

Deadlifts are safe - if you're smart

Don't push through bad form when you're fatigued. If you round your lower back, you heighten your risk of injury.

Even if you stave off injury, you won't be benefitting from the lift. As a runner, a rugby player, or a competitive cyclist, you've got nothing to gain from a herniated disc in your back. Deadlifts are not a high- volume workout - it's an exercise based on function and form, to aid in the rest of your training.

Deadlifts won't make you big and bulky (unless you want them to)

You could be a nimble dancer and reap the benefits of deadlifts. Gaining bulky muscle mass depends on the rest of your training, diet, and goals. Of course iIf you're a powerlifter, you're deadlifting, squatting, pressing and eating everything in your path (those medium fitted t-shirts won't fit much longer)!

Conversely, if you're running 4 times a week, a couple of deadlift sessions balancing out your posture, and improving your spinal health, aren't going to turn you into the Incredible Hulk. It will only serve to help you run stronger and prevent injuries.

Good Accessory Exercises for Deadlifts

Here are a couple of exercises you can do that both help your deadlift and improve your posture:

  • Pullups - They'll help you stabilize the upper half of your body and develop grip strength - both essential for the deadlift. If you can't complete a pullup, there are plenty of modified versions.
  • Glute bridges - A posterior chain exercise that really gets your glutes firing. Since we're not used to loading our backsides with weight, glute bridges are a safe way to activate those muscles.
  • Glute/Ham Raises -  An amazing injury prevention workout, as it focuses on the knee flexion component of the hamstring, but also resists rapid knee extension (click here to see how it's done).

Sometimes it's better not to leave tutelage up to Youtube content creators, particularly with a movement predicated on form, like the deadlift. SEMI's professional fitness trainers in Toronto can help you improve the effectiveness of your exercises, whether you want to recover from or prevent injuries, improve your day-to-day health, or boost your athletic performance.

Join us in our modern studio settings, and take advantage of the private environment so you can focus entirely on your exercises with no distractions!

Call us at 1-855-572-9177, or book an appointment today!

Author: Douglas W. Stoddard MD, M Sp Med, Dip Sport Med, ES
About: Dr. Douglas Stoddard is a sports medicine physician and is the Medical Director of the Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute (SEMI). After receiving his medical degree from the University of Toronto, he trained in Australia at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, obtaining his Master Degree in Sports Medicine. He is also a diplomat of the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine and has his focussed practice designation in Sport Medicine from the Ontario Medical Association. Dr. Stoddard is a consultant to the Canadian Military and has consulted with well over 30,000 unique patients in his career. Dr. Stoddard is constantly searching for new and promising therapies to help SEMI patients, and is responsible for developing the RegenerVate Medical Injection Therapy Program. He is married and the proud father of two boys, is an avid triathlete and occasional guitar player.
Tags: Prevention Upper body Performance

 

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