June 2014 2
Ahhh, deadlift. The Big Daddy. The King. The Lift of The Gods. The only exercise you’ll ever need to build pure muscle and strength. This is a lift that is so manly that after just one set you’ll feel a sudden urge to chomp on a Cuban cigar while lubing up an automatic rifle.
It works everything – lower back, upper back, glutes, hams, quads, abs, traps, forearms. The list goes on. In fact, it’s probably easier to list the muscle groups that deadlift doesn’t hit.
It does everything. Heck, if you left it unattended in a laboratory for 24 hours it would probably come up with a cure for cancer.
However, the problem is that while the mighty deadlift can be your best friend in the gym, it can also be your worst friend too if performed incorrectly.
So here are 5 killer tips to make sure you are deadlifting like an absolute G.
In order to hit your full potential on deadlift a comprehensive warm-up is essential.
A solid warm-up is something that the vast majority of gym rates leave out of their routine. It’s a chore, a waste of time, admin.
However, by warming up effectively you’ll not only be able to hit much heavier weights but you’ll also significantly reduce your chance of injury.
Take Off Your Shoes
Although it might seem trivial, deadlifting without shoes can make a dramatic difference to your lift. It can help boost performance and improve your form in one fell swoop.
How? Well, by putting you closer to the ground it minimises the range of motion. And, in addition, deadlifting in bare feet allows you to really ‘sit back’ while lifting, which will maximise glute and ham engagement.
Push With Your Heels
Too many novice lifters try to yank the bar harder than your girl giving you a “hurry up” handjob.
However, the key when deadlifting is to think of it as a ‘push’ movement rather than a ‘pull’ movement. As the legendary lifting coach Dan John proposes, when performing the movement you should: “Push your heels to China. If you live in China, then push them to Utah!”
Engaging your legs by pushing through the ground will take the pressure off your lower back and will also engage more muscles, making your lift more efficient.
Lower Your Hips
Lifting with your hips too high is a common mistake when deadlifting. By having your hips too high you will not be able to fully engage your legs, thus impairing your full strength potential.
Plus, as mentioned above, this will put all the stress of the movement on your lower back, which will heighten the risk of injury.
To right his, focus on your starting position. Make sure the bar is above the centre of your feet, your shoulder blades are directly over the bar, and the bar is against your shins.
Incorporate Assistance Exercises
There are lots of assistance exercises which you can include in your program to boost your deadlift performance.
For example, if you find your grip to be hampering your lift, you could bust out some Farmer’s Walks to build forearm strength. Or, if keeping your body tight throughout the lift is an issue, start including some serious plank work in your workout.
So, there we have it. These 5 tips will have you dominating the deadlift like a pro and smashing PRs left, right and centre.
If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Hit me up in the comments section below!
About the author
Henry is a fitness junkie who enjoys strength training and marathon running. When not busting out a gruelling set of squats or racking up the miles, you can find him blogging over at GymTalk.
When it comes to the subject of shoulder problems, many bodybuilders and weight lifters will tell you about the pain and suffering that their shoulder problems have caused them. When you’re younger you can walk into the gym, sit down on the shoulder military press and start knocking out reps without even warming up. Later, though, this will catch up with you. Lee Priest has had nagging shoulder pains and he’s known for warming up, using great form and getting regular massages to help keep his shoulders healthy.
Effective methods used to help alleviate shoulder pain include anti-inflammatory medications or pain medications, cortisone injections are also popular and of course physical therapy. One of the most popular treatments for shoulder pain is therapeutic exercise. In the video below, Ed Brown, Jr. shows you how to do a quick and easy rotator cuff stretch that you can do to instantly get relief.
As you probably know, certain exercises are beneficial to the shoulder muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints while others which may place the shoulder at risk for injuries and pain.
Following are three gym exercises that you should watch out for- they might just be the cause for your shoulder problems:
1. Bench press: There may be an association between bench press and arthritis of the shoulder due to the fact that the shoulder is loaded with compression. The shoulder is strictly speaking a hanging joint. Such heavy loading may cause early wear of the cartilage. Watch the video below to listen to Ed explain powerlifting technique versus bodybuilding technique when bench pressing.
2. Acromio-clavicular (AC) joint: AC joint (the joint between the collar bone and the shoulder bone on top of the shoulder) is also referred to as weight lifters shoulder. Lifting heavy weights may lead to wear of this joint but the incident is so low that one probably should not be too concerned about this.
3. Overhead exercises like military press: Military press loads the rotator cuff in a disadvantageous position and can lead to rotator cuff injuries. While this exercise is perfectly OK to do, avoid using it all of the time to avoid “pattern overload” which can result in shoulder problems. Use lighter weights with higher reps, drop sets, giant sets, dumbbells, machines and suspension trainers. From time to time, take a break from direct shoulder training.
As mentioned above, there are therapeutic exercises that will help treat your shoulder problems. Therapeutic exercises usually consist out of motion, strengthening and conditioning exercises.
In the video below, Ed shows you how to quickly relieve your shoulder pain with this shoulder pain exercise/stretch. You’re stretching the shoulder to help the rotator cuff heal faster. The general steps are:
- Press the palm of your hand against a wall
- Take a small step (inches) forward while keeping your palm against the wall
- Turn your head in the direction of the shoulder that you’re stretching (experiment with turning your head the other way as well)
- Tilt your body by turning the shoulder that you’re stretching
- Hold for 10 seconds
Repeat this 3-4 times resting about 30 seconds in between each shoulder stretch.
This will allow your shoulder to stretch in a way that internal/external rotations do not. It’s more aggressive and intense.
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