“I lift things Up…..And I Put Them DOWN!!!!”
Maybe I am a little bit of a Thor superfan, but this was one of my favorite scenes in the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie. The point this movie clip provides is it does not matter who you are everybody likes being able to lift heavy things off the ground. At TFW Ropestone and in strength and conditioning we call the act of lifting heavy things deadlifting.
No questions asked this is my favorite lift to do and that is probably because I have truly dedicated my time learning it and perfecting my technique. I bet if Captain America perfected his deadlifting technique he would have been able to lift Thor’s hammer.
Now many people want to deadlift, but are intimidated by it or are nervous to hurt themselves. Well I am here to tell you to not be scared! Yes the deadlift is very technical and it takes time to master, but the great news is there are many different variations to the deadlift that can make the exercise safe and enjoyable for everyone.
In this post I am going to list and explain what I believe are the 7 crucial points to deadlifting as well as show 6 different ways to perform a deadlift in my video series. Now keep in mind as I explain the 7 crucial points to the deadlift that I am talking about the conventional way to deadlift with a straight bar, but essentially most of these points can be applied to any style of deadlift.
Here are what I believe (in no particular order) the seven crucial points to deadlifting:
The first thing is when deadlifting you want your feet flat on the floor, this is why at TFW Ropestone all of our members either deadlift barefoot or in very flat shoes. This is because in deadlifting you want to be picking up the weight up with all the muscles in the back of your legs and in order to do this you have to drive your heels into the ground. Second is you want the bar to start in a position where it is physically touching your shins and stay in contact with you throughout the entire lift, this is to ensure a proper pull. The third thing is it is important that when setting yourself up or bringing the weight down during repetitions that you push your butt back towards the wall. The deadlift is a hip dominant movement meaning that the main movement is occurring at the hips. Pushing the butt back will engage the muscles in the back of the legs like the glutes and the hamstrings. Number four while deadlifting, maintain a flat back throughout the entire lift, remember you want to lift with the back of your legs not your back. The fifth thing, stick the chest out, this can be done by squeezing your armpits and engaging the lats (the big back muscle). Number six, keep the arms straight! By bending your arms to pick up the weight you are sending signals to your brain subconsciously that your arms are going to pick the weight up instead of your legs. Lastly number seven, keep the chin tucked and the eyes looking at the ground about 2 feet in front of you. This will result in a more successful lift instead of a strain in the neck and in the vertebrae column.
Now at this point everybody should be excited and eager to start deadlifting. As I have already said yes the deadlift is very technical which can make it frustrating, but if done correctly the deadlift can be a very rewarding exercise. It helps strengthen all of the posterior chain muscles (includes the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves) which when strengthened helps with posture. One of my favorite benefits from deadlifting is not only does it help tone up the legs making them look lean, they also build/ tone the gluteus maximus muscle which makes for a nice looking butt. The best part about deadlifting is who does not like saying they lifted 100, or 200, or 300 pounds off the ground? Now I am not saying that perfecting your deadlift is going to help you lift Thor’s hammer, but anything is possible if you believe in yourself ;).