THE DEADLIFT: The Ultimate Complete Body Exercise by IFBB PRO Joe Palumbo
There is so much to be said about this incredible exercise that it is almost unbelievable. It is the one exercise that affects every muscle in the body and it only requires a barbell. I often say that I feel Deadlifts (and Deadlift variations) are one the most functional exercise options you can do, regardless of your training goal. One reason they’re so amazing is not only do they work multiple muscles; they also mimic a movement we do all day long–bending over to pick things up. Basically the deadlift is nothing more then lifting dead weight (weight lying on the ground.) This move requires perfect form in order to protect your back. This is probably why so many people have back problems. Every day simple lifts being done incorrectly.
For some, Deadlifts are like an old friend “oh I remember them” for others they may be asking why they haven’t heard of them. Some believe it is strictly for professional athletes such as; power lifters or bodybuilders, this is not true. Deadlifts is simply one exercise that strengths the entire body. I think that the deadlift is a crucial human movement. I believe it is part of a typical strength athlete’s program. In fact, I think everyone can benefit from some pulling from the floor. Women in particular should do deadlifts on a regular, consistent basis. One of the most important reasons I think deadlifting is important for women is that it allows them to realize their true strength potential. It never fails; anytime I train women and get them to pull a heavy triple on the deadlift (after building up to that level, of course), they absolutely love it. Something just seems to click in their minds when they rip a heavy weight off the floor.
The only problem with this exercise is most people do not know how to perform the lift properly.
Deadlifts are commonly believed to be the oldest test of strength, dating back to cultures that competed at lifting the heaviest stones. The deadlift is a compound movement that works virtually every muscle with emphasis on the Erector Spinal, quads, hamstring, gluteus, abs, traps and upper lats. Let’s learn how perform to this exercise correctly.
There are three different variations of the Deadlift- conventional, Sumo and Stiff –Legged, each having a slightly different approach.
I am going to stay with the basic conventional form, because this is the one that mimics our daily lifestyle lifting therefore it is the most important to do correctly. PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE DIRECTIONS BEFORE ATTEMPTING THE LIFT.
Performing the Dead lift
Approach the barbell and assume a shoulder width stance, SQUAT down and grip the barbell (left hand under grip and right hand over grip.) Bar is lightly touching against shins. Shoulders vertically over the bar, Back flat, pelvis and head aligned with spine Scapula retracted and depressed.
Look straight ahead! NEVER look down, Keep the eyes and head up, this aids in keeping the spine in proper position.
Grip the bar tight imagining pushing the legs through the ground, using gluts and legs as prime movers. As the legs extend, the trunk angle does not change; in other words the hips do not rise faster than the shoulders, even slightly. The upper back is maintained in a flat position (scapula retracted/depressed). Bar stays in contact with the body as you pass the knees. Drive with legs, the back is a stabilizer. Finish in an up right position and roll the shoulders back.
Simply return the bar to the floor in a controlled manner while tightness is maintained throughout out the body. Do not let the weight forcefully hit the floor. Form and control is the key.
This is the most important aspect of the lift. Breathing correctly will assist with the ascending and descending phase. IT GENERATES POWER TO THE MOVEMENT. Breathing forms the foundation for correct exercise technique.
A classic rule of breathing is to first think about your breathing, and then begin to exercise. Right before you lift inhale DEEP, exhale slowly as you raise and blow out to a finish when complete, DEEP breath in as you return down to lift again. You will set your own breathing pace by getting in union with your body. If you are not properly breathing, you’ll fatigue more quickly and it will interrupt your form, so please take the time to learn how to breathe correctly.
Deadlifts should be added to your regular training program, one day a week, preferably not the same day you train legs, when asked, I always recommend doing deadlift when your training back. This is not an easy exercise, it is best to start out light and slow concentrate on correct form and recognize the good feeling from the bad. It is imperative that the weight is not increased until the form is mastered. How often, how long and hard you exercise, should be determined by what you are trying to accomplish. Your goals, your present fitness level, age, health, skill, interest are among the factors you should consider.
You need to find the weight that works for you. Start with light weights and high reps, increase accordingly, always warm up and stretch before any routine.
DO NOT ROUND YOUR BACK
DO NOT JERK THE BAR UP YOUR THIGH
DO NOT LOOK DOWN, YOU MAY TIP FORWARD
DO NOT LET YOUR KNEES BOW IN AND OUT DURING THE LIFT
DO NOT PERFORM THIS EXERCISE IF YOU ARE GOING TO IGNORE ANY OF THE DIRECTIONS
DO KEEP YOUR CHIN UP AND EYES FOCUSED STRAIGHT AHEAD
DEEP BREATH IN, OUT SLOW, FINISH WITH A FORCEFULL BLOW
DO SEEK THE ADVICE OF A MEDICAL DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING ANY KIND OF EXERCISE PROGRAM
Director of Physical Performance Infinite Labs
IFBB Professional Bodybuilder
Advance Sports Nutrition Specialist (ASNS)
Certified Navy Seal fitness Instructor
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