Beaufort Fitness: The deadlift
This is another movement that is can be a little bit complicated for people because of how they’ve been moving for years previously, but the deadlift is essentially how you should be picking up everything off the floor. What deadlift means is that you are picking up dead weight from the floor.
So, dead weight would be something that is an ecstatic inertia so it takes a little bit more force to move that, right? So it won’t move unless acted on by an outside force. So that initial inertia to pick something up is coming from our body so we have to overcome the gravity and the weight of the object. So, before you start picking heavy things up, it’s important to understand how to move and to move properly.
And so with the deadlift, the first thing that we usually teach people is hip hinging, because back pain always comes from spinal flexion if you see my videos spinal flexion would be here (please see the video) so people rounding at the back and picking something up, just doing that right there I start to feel my back slightly, so imagine if I put more force there. So watch the difference: I’m going to hip hinge so pushing my butt back; my back is completely straight and now if I go to pick something up I can lift it up. Now, obviously if it’s on the ground, I’m not going to go that far, but that’s why we are talking about this specific exercises. I’m going to push my butt back and then squat down and now if I pick something up, I’m in perfect position and I can pick it up.
Now, notice I am right in between my legs with the something that I’m picking up… the reason being, if I could’ve pick something up out here; whatever I am picking up out here, say it’s 40lbs out here, that’s creating about 400 lbs torque in my back, and that is where injuries occur so we always want to keep the center of mass right underneath the center of gravity because the muscle force, or the force of the weight is going to go straight down which is what our spine was intended for. So force going straight down on our spine won’t cause any damage. If we go in to spinal flexion and all of a sudden have force and torque in our back then we can cause trauma to the spine that is where injury begin.
So, always moving with the hips keeping the back completely straight. The stronger you are, the more you can actually move outside of that parameter. So, if you are really strong and you go to pick something up, you can start to flex a little bit at the spine because you have more core stabilisation and the spine is more stable, but first thing’s first, is here: so most people can start out with their arms out to the side like this… what you are going to do is to push your butt back and just repeat pushing the butt back and focus on feeling your hamstrings. Push your butt back so you feel your hamstrings. We don’t want to see you coming forward, just coming to this position and then on the way up we are going to think about using the muscles on the lower back and the glutes to stand up. So forward and backwards and repeat.
And once you get this movement down, then we can start to use something like a kettlebell. Preferably I’d like to use a barbell because the barbell keeps your shoulders back more with the bar but say you want to pick something up like a kettlebell here, we are going to push out butt back, back nice and straight, bend your knees now, keeping our spine in alignment, and then perfect form picking it up.
And what happens is, most people don’t prepare for picking things up and then they just allow the weight to move them. So they’re just go to pick things up their body is limping and then they go to pick something heavy up and yank. All that force goes straight to the back and creates damage.
So working on the deadlift is going to be number 1 important thing. Remember first thing is hip hinging, keeping the back straight, if we need to go lower we start to bend the knees always keeping the back straight and then back up. And this is why the squat pattern is extremely valuable and important, because they are all synergistic and they are all work together.
Ian Hart is a Body-Mind Transformation expert, the creator of EarthFIT Training Systems, co-creator of BACK PAIN RELIEF4LIFE, and founder of BEAUFORTPERSONALTRAINING.COM and MYBACKPAINCOACH.COM. Ian and his team help people get into optimal shape in the safest, fastest and most effective way possible, using cutting edge science.