Author: Scott Smith
Why it made the list (Why you should do them):
The deadlift is one of the most demanding lifts on the planet due to the stress it places on both the central nervous system and musculo-skeletal system. This stress can be a really good thing if applied properly. This compound movement utilizes the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps to powerfully lift a load from the floor to a standing position. The heavier the load, the more critical it is to activate the stabilizing muscles in the hips, back, abs, and shoulders in order to sustain proper technique/posture. That’s A LOT of muscle groups we just named off. And remember, the more muscle groups we can recruit in any particular lift, the higher we can boost our intensity levels and calorie burn. Deadlifting is also one of the most functional movements out there when you consider how important it is for us to be able to pick things up off the floor while properly utilizing our legs and saving our back.
How to do them properly:
– NOTE: The following description is for standard barbell deadlifts.
– Set up for this lift by bringing your feet underneath the barbell and placing them hip width apart. Take an “over-under” grip wide enough that your arms will not force your knees to come inside your feet.
– Take the slack out of your body by pulling into the bar, bringing your shoulders down and back (chest up), and flattening your low back and tightening your abdominals. Your hips should be back but at a depth lower than your shoulders (your rigid torso should be at an angle).
– Drive your heels forcefully into the floor and drive your hips upward. It should feel like doing a leg press. Make sure your back remains flat (neutral) and the angle of your upper body remains the same. If you feel movement in your back, STOP! Work on core stabilization and flexibility at a lighter weight.
– The barbell should remain close to your shins and thighs as you pull the load upward with your legs. Squeezing your triceps into your lats can really help keep your upper back/ shoulder stable and consequently makes it easier for you to keep a flat low back.
– Once the barbell passes the knee, its time to thrust your hips forward underneath your shoulders and stand tall. Continue to pull the barbell close to your body, keeping your chest out and head in a neutral or slightly extended position. Reverse the movement just like you pulled, tap the floor with the plates and repeat immediately.
I’ve picked these 10 lifts because of their proven efficiency and effectiveness at forcing the body to adapt and change for the better! Some of the variations may be a bit more advanced than you are currently ready to perform, but if you continue to follow this site, I can promise you that regressions will be made available for your learning. But that does not mean you shouldn’t aspire to be able to do these 10 exercises at some point!
If you are/have been a client of mine you no doubtably know some variation of these movements because they are a true staple of my programs. I hope they serve you as well as they have served me!
Scott Smith, CSCS
Just a recap so far… Click on the exercise to watch the video!