Today, I want to continue with the theme of looking at some of the exercises we have most clients perform at IFAST. Last week I went over one of my favorites – the squat. This week I want to discuss probably an even more popular exercise, and that is the deadlift. Our coaches and clients (well, maybe not all of them:) ) at IFAST are in love with the deadlift!
One of our goals for most clients is to get them performing some deadlift variation as early as possible – no matter their goal. Before we get into why we love this exercise let’s discuss what a deadlift is and how to properly perform the exercise.
What is a deadlift?
The deadlift is simply an exercise that forces you to pick something up off of the floor. This may be a dumbbell, barbell, kettlebell, sandbag, etc. It does not matter what the object is. The goal of the lift is to teach people to move from their hips and knees, while keeping their back completely straight, to pick an object up from the floor. We want people to use their hips, glutes, and leg muscles to perform most of the movement, while their abs and lats keep their torso and shoulders locked tight.
Let’s look at one of our clients performing a kettlebell deadlift. Notice how her back remains completely straight throughout and she only moves at her hips and knees. She also keeps the weight very close to her. All of these things help to keep her back safe and promote an efficient movement pattern.
This is a great functional exercise that people can mimic during everyday activities that involve carrying and picking up heavy things. Many times we get lazy when we pick stuff up, and this is the most common time for low back injuries.
When I say lazy I mean people will make the mistake of rounding their back over with very little bend in their knees and hips, and then jerk the object off of the floor.
The deadlift teaches a person to create tension throughout their body before they pick up a heavy object. This tension is what creates stability and rigidity throughout the body. It will protect the spine, shoulders, and other joints.
Another common mistake is trying to pick up something when it is far away from your body. This mistake will also create unwanted stress on the low back. The deadlift will teach you to keep the weight as close as possible to your body while picking it up.
So to sum up why we love the deadlift:
It teaches you to maintain a good spinal position, which will prevent low back injuries.
It works several muscle groups, which means it burns a lot of calories.
It is very functional for activities outside of the gym – picking heavy objects up (kids, boxes, furniture, etc.).
It makes a person feel very strong and successful to pick up a heavy weight.
As I mentioned in my previous post on the squat, not all clients are able to deadlift initially. This will all depend on their assessment and goal(s). However, if you have the ability to perform this movement then I highly recommend it because you will not find a better exercise to work a lot of muscle, burn a lot of calories, and teach you to keep your spine safe.
Have a great week!