Saving your back with the deadlift

Save your back with the deadlift
by Nancy B. Loughlin
Published in News Press on September 22, 2015

Kacie Tapley Jeannine Amodeo Chris Luizzi

Powerlifters are beasts, and they’re smart.

“Lift with your legs and not with your back” means the deadlift.

The deadlift is the most functional movement in powerlifting. Mastering this move can save your back.

The deadlift strengthens the upper and lower body simultaneously: the gluteus maximus and hamstrings as well as the erector spinae along the spine.

Before you go for the weights, practice deadlifting form with Chair Pose.

As you stand with your feet hip distance, shift your weight onto your heels and push your buttocks back as if you are sitting in a chair.   Only bend your legs as is comfortable for your knees.  Hinge forward from your hips.  Keep a straight back, and lift your heart.  Reach up aligning your upper arms with your ears.

Feel Chair Pose strengthen your legs and back.

Then, approach the weighted deadlift.

How to deadlift a box:

  1. The box should be close to your shins.
  2. Step your feet to hip distance, and shift your weight to your heels. The wider your stance, the more you’ll work your legs.  If closer, you’ll target the glutes.
  3. Hinge forward from your hips as if you are trying to touch your buttocks to the wall behind you.
  4. Keep your spine straight while maintaining the natural sway in your lower back.
  5. Bend your knees to lower your hands to the box.
  6. When you’ve got the box, lift by straightening your legs.
  7. When you’re halfway up, pull your hips forward to complete the lift.

Turn the deadlift into daily practice, and use it to pick up your children, the dog, clothes from the floor, anything.

Remember this important rule to save your back when lifting anything: If you can’t hold proper deadlifting form, drop it.  That’s a sure sign it’s too heavy, so get some help.

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