By: Dana Shorb, Fitness Director
Everybody should deadlift. If you can walk unassisted than it would be a benefit for you to start deadlifting. I hear about excuses like general weakness, bad back and knee pain but I’m certain a majority of these issues didn’t arise from deadlifting. Chances those issues could have been prevented by deadlifting. I’m here to tell you that you can fix all of those issues with this one simple exercise. Even with these aches and pains, you can deadlift and with the proper modifications, precautions and preparations, you should. You see, the deadlift is not a lower back exercise! If you feel it in your lower back you are doing it wrong. The deadlift is not a knee dominant exercise. If you feel it in your knees you are doing it wrong.
So, why is the deadlift such an important exercise? It reinforces a fundamental movement which is anatomically and physiologically optimal. Simply put, it makes your body work the way it should. Your lumbar spine is designed to be stable and far too often the average person lacks the coordination or strength to maintain a tight and stable position through any sort of movement. Practicing this movement prepares you for everyday tasks that involve lifting, carrying, and moving things. What better way to avoid injury than with regular preventative maintenance.
Let’s say you try this movement, assuming your form is good, and you do feel it in one specific area more than others, for me that was my glutes. That is an excellent indicator of an area that you need to spend more time strengthening. I did, I added in barbell hip bridges. If you can’t do the exercise properly, why not? If your car has a flat tire you wouldn’t just accept that you have to drive 5mph everywhere, you would take it in for a diagnostic and get it fixed. Rather than avoid the issue by staying away from the exercise you should be working towards being able to do the exercise pain-free. There are several variations of the deadlift that I use with people for different reasons, from goal specificity to current fitness level. So no matter what you think your limitations are, if you want to increase your functional strength and decrease pain you need to start deadlifting with a coach. Visit the fitness center asap and see what you are missing!