The Deadlift is often regarded as dangerous and the cause of all back pains, but is it really? Are you someone that is suffering from bad posture, sitting at an office desk all day or want to build muscle whilst gaining crazy strength? Famously known as the “king” of all lifts, the Deadlift is one exercise that you should be implementing into your program if you aren’t already doing it.
What are the benefits?
Well, one of the many benefits of performing deadlifts is it targets multiple muscles in your body at once. This one exercise will target your hamstrings, glutes, lower and upper back. You will also build a core of steel due to your abs and erector spinae being engaged. When that many muscles are being engaged and utilised, from the thigh to the core to the neck, it will release hormones such as testosterone, endorphins and growth hormones which means you will be in building muscle, burning fat and in feeling in a better mood.
Dangers of Deadlifting…
Without learning the proper technique, you risk the chance of injuring yourself. The deadlift is a hip-hinge movement which means you should avoid rounding your back, which is the cause of most back pain that people experience when performing the exercise. No other lift is as devastating on your Central Nervous System as the deadlift, which means you should avoid trying to go heavy each workout or doing high amounts of reps as it could burn you out for up to 5 days. You can often get away with a bad deadlift, but it will be very straining on your body and recovery may take a few days.
Things that you should avoid…
Make sure you are not creating flexion at the trunk, which will result in rounding of the back. Don’t start the lift with the bar away from your shin as this will not engage your hamstrings and glutes properly and could cause your hips to rise too fast. Don’t lean too far forward as this will allow the bar to swing forward, creating momentum to cause your whole body to shift forward and increase the risk of injury.
What you should remember…
Always remember to engage your Lats by retracting your scapula as this will ensure that you are in the starting position with a straight back. Keep the bar close to your body from the start of the lift to the end as this will allow you to maintain control throughout and reduce the chances of injury. Learn how to brace your core properly by breathing deep into your diaphragm and not your chest. When you feel your stomach expand instead of your chest, you are doing it right. Bracing will allow you to stay tight throughout the whole duration of the lift and engage your muscles properly.
How often should you Deadlift?
Since the Deadlift is such a demanding exercise on your nervous system, it only needs to be performed max 2 times a week. If you are doing high reps, stick to a low weight to ensure that your technique is spot on and that you don’t reach exhaustion on one exercise. If you are an intermediate to advance lifter, doing 2-3 sets of good quality reps is the sweet spot.