Taking a break from writing about my super fantastic interesting SNAP food challenge, I would like to take a moment to discuss the king of all lifts… the Deadlift. The deadlift got its name in ancient Rome, when soldiers were taught how to properly lift their fallen comrades up and off of the battle field. Interesting huh? Anywho, I recently made a huge mistake and have neglected to deadlift for almost 5 months now…shame on me. This is mostly because I am used to doing it with bumper plates and in more of a “intense” gym then the current one I train at at my university. The deadlift was always my favorite lift, and essentially became a necessity at one point in my life. In high school I got up to “pulling” (what the pros call it) 500 lbs. In college my deadlift got up to about 550 lbs…then tragedy struck…
My second semester of freshman year I found a small lump on my tailbone. It continued to bug me for a while but I never thought much of it. Until it ruptured… I’ll spare you the gross details of everything else, but needless to say I had to have a cyst removed from my tailbone over that summer. Thankfully it was just a cyst and not anything worse like a tumor. This surgery set my back quite a ways. I had to stop lifting for a month, and avoid heavy lower body or bending movements for about 3 months while the tissue healed. I quickly found that my lower back muscles became very weak and my lower back was chronically sore. I was finally able to start bending movements again, but had to start back at square one. I remember feeling so crappy about my 135 lb deadlift my first time back.
I eventually worked back up to about 450 lbs, this is where I was a few months ago.
Now since neglecting the holiest of the holy lifts, I started to find my lower back getting more and more sore all the time. This Monday I finally decided to start deadlifting once a week again. On Monday I did 5 sets of 10 reps with 215 lbs. My back, butt, and hamstrings are incredibly sore…in a good way.
How to do it:
The deadlift is a relatively simple move. You load a bar on the ground, squat down, and pick it up (essentially). Now there is much more to it then that.
- Get your shins as close to the bar as possible.
- Stand with a shoulder width stance, toes forward.
- Grab the bar, just outside your knees.
- Lower your butt, keep your back straight.
- Push “through” your heels, keeping your abs braced, or tight (like you are about to get punched), and shoulders back.
- Extend your legs by standing up, and drive your hips forward, and pull your shoulders back.
- Repeat the same movements in reverse to return the bar to the floor.
Here is a great, short video of what it looks like:
The deadlift is a great move for men, women, old and young. You dont see it much in “commercial” gyms, probably because a lot of people drop the weight after standing up, but putting it down nice and slow and controlled is just as important to the lift (working the eccentric contraction)
It primarily works your lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and middle traps (to some extent). So whether your looking to improve your lower back health, build some back muscle, get that booty (+ squats) or just pick something up and put it down…you should be deadlifting.