Alright so today I am going to dive into an exercise that gets a lot of mixed reviews depending on who you are talking to, and that is the deadlift! The deadlift is a very common exercise that you may or may not have heard of before, and I am going to start this 2 part series explaining the truth about what a deadlift is and why we use it.
The deadlift is an exercise that uses one of the most fundamental movement patterns which is the hip hinge. What I mean by fundamental movement pattern is that it is a movement that we have been performing since we were babies. Any time you bend over to pick something up you will be performing a hip hinge. Below are a couple pictures of people demonstrating the hip hinge pattern in our day to day life!
Now even though we perform a hip hinge movement in our every day life doesn’t mean everybody is doing it correctly. One of the reasons people hurt their backs during a hip hinge movement like a deadlift is because their form is poor due to lack of hip mobility or core stability. Before any of our clients start to deadlift we bring them through an assessment to determine what their mobility and stability is. Another reason people hurt their backs doing deadlifts is because they try lift as much as they can every time they do them. In order to get the muscular and functional benefits of a deadlift you do not need to lift crazy heavy weight all of the time! People should deadlift in all different rep ranges, and use more than one variation of the movement. I will go over many of the variations in part 2!
When performing a hip hinge movement like the deadlift you are engaging many muscles in your posterior chain such as your hamstrings, glutes, and many muscles in your back like the erector spinae and traps. Below is a picture showing exactly where and what muscles will be used during a deadlift.
Strengthening the muscles in the posterior chain is very beneficial for many reasons, but one of the main ones is because it can help take a lot of stress off of the low back. By performing hip hinging exercises like the deadlift and also adding some smart core training (you can refer back to a previous blog I wrote call, “Top 9 core exercises you should be doing”) you will take a lot of stress of the low back and feel more confident any time you go to pick anything up!
Now, even though the deadlift is a great exercise, it is only great if it is performed with proper form. The deadlift can be performed a variety of ways with a variety of different modalities. One variation of a deadlift might feel great for one person, but terrible for another. In the coming weeks I will go over how to choose the right deadlift for your body so you can start incorporating them into your own training regimen!