Guest Post By Johnny Tea
You were meant to deadlift. Yes, I’m talking to you — no matter who you are. Believe it or not, deadlifts are good for you and can actually help prevent injury while unleashing your inner badass.
Deadlifts can help get you in shape — or back in shape. It’s a topic I explore in my free eBook How To Make Pain Free Progress in The Gym. <<<=== Download Now
Why the irrational fear of injury when it comes to be deadlifts? And how can it be overcome?
It’s something that comes up regularly in my dual practice as a strength coach and manual therapist. (My therapy office is in a gym.)
All of which brings me to an interesting conversation I once had with a client who happened to be a former professional athlete. He said he didn’t deadlift anymore because he didn’t see the point. After all, he was retired.
I responded by saying that everyone should deadlift — at least in some way. Deadlifts are for everyone, not just athletes. Even if there are some injury or imbalance issues, there is a deadlift variation that is right for you.
But his response was something I hear almost every day as a Strength Coach and Manual Therapist:
“Well, I don’t want to hurt my back.”
I knew then I had to blog about the mistaken belief that the dangers of deadlifts outweigh the benefits.
Here are the top five reasons you need to deadlift. Along the way, we’ll dispel some of the injury myths.
1) It unlocks the hip hinge.
The hip hinge is a fundamental movement pattern, but one that most people struggle with. It involves a posterior weight shift initiated from your hips, with minimal knee bend.
Many people I’ve worked with who complain of lower back pain also struggle to hinge properly.
The deadlift gets a bad rap for causing back pain, but learning how to hinge properly teaches you how to use your hips while strengthening your glutes and spinal erectors.
Bottom line: far from causing back pain, the deadlift can actually prevent pain.
2) It builds a ton of muscle
The deadlift targets your glutes, hamstrings, back, core, and forearms. That’s a whole crapload of muscles working at the same time. And that makes it one of the best “bang for your buck” exercises. You’ll build thick and dense muscles while burning fat at the same time.
I mean, who wouldn’t want a booty like Beyonce, right?
3) It balances out your body
If you’re a human being, chances are you focus way too much on training your mirror muscles (the muscles on the front of your body) and neglect training the muscles of the backside.
If you also live in the U.S., chances are your posture resembles the hunchback of Notre Dame. You are probably spending way too much time hunched over texting on your phone and typing on your laptop.
The deadlift helps counter all the repetitive stresses we put our bodies through. After all, the more balanced we are, the less chance of injury.
4) It gets you stronger and makes you look more badass
The deadlift builds strength and makes you more powerful, two important characteristics of improved functionality.
Having a stronger grip is never a bad thing, either. Whether it’s gripping a ball or grabbing someone and holding them up by their shirt for trying to snatch your purse, good things tend to happen when you’re stronger.
As Mark Rippetoe, author of Starting Strength famously said:
“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people — and more useful in general.”
Fact: the deadlift is one of the most badass exercises you can do. So why not join the club and lift some heavy weights?
5) Deadlifting builds confidence
Nothing gets me more amped up than seeing a client hit a PR, then walk around with the confidence, as if their voice was a combination of Fergie and Jesus.
Want a nice endorphin release? Load that barbell up and unleash your inner beast.
Now before you go out hitting PR’s, make sure your form is solid. I’d recommend working with a credible coach until you’re comfortable with the exercise, then have at it.
There are tons of different variations of the deadlift (ex: conventional, sumo, RDL’s, rack pulls, kettlebells, trap bar, dumbbells, etc.). Pick a variation that works for you and start making some serious gains.
Avoid these mistakes.
Deadlifting is not bad for your back.
Crappy deadlifts are bad for your back.
Good deadlifts are actually good for your back — and every other part of you.
Do you want to get back to the gym so you can get back to building muscle and dropping fat?
And do you want to do it all pain-free?
Or do you just want to get the most out of the limited time you have for working out?
Johnny Tea, MS (Exercise Science), CSCS, NMT, FST, PES, TPI is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Manual Therapist in Pasadena, California. Read his Yelp reviews here.