If I had to recommend one exercise, and only one exercise to someone that will provide the most benefit not only inside the gym, but outside as well, without question I would recommend the deadlift. This exercise works more muscle groups in one lift than any other just piping the squat to the ‘King’ of exercises. Whether your goal is fat loss, strength & conditioning, mass muscle building or intense cardio the deadlift goes a long way to working towards all of the above and more.
There is a lot of talk in the health & fitness industry regarding ‘functional exercise’ to me this is the most functional of exercises that can be done in the gym with its benefits that are transferable to almost anyone! How many times in sport/home or work do we need to lift something off the floor?
The deadlift has unfairly received a bad reputation with the general population. Like back squats it is rarely taught to clientele in big fluffy health clubs, in my opinion because they really work. From what I see big health clubs are more interested in having their clients do ‘circus’ like exercises beacuse they look good as appose to do good.
Weak back muscles make us susceptible to injury and with most jobs in the City being office based there are a lot of people who are making their back weaker on a daily basis through lack of exercise and living a sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately the average public perceives deadlifting with similar false stigmas to that of squatting. If I had a penny for every time I heard this…..squatting will hurt my knees; deadlifting will hurt my back. Both myths have taken hold due to bad technique and poor form when performing the lifts. There are few poor lifts, only poor lifting technique. The deadlift when done correctly will only make your lower back stronger I can assure you.
How to perform the deadlift correctly:
· Stand with shins next to the bar, toes slightly turned out feet slightly closer than shoulder width.
· Grasp the bar with either one over hand/one under hand grip or both over hand grip.
· Head forward in neutral position keeping your chest up and back neutral.
· Lift the bar explosively using the legs to drive the bar off the floor and upwards moving the body weight towards your heels.
· Always keep your chest above your hips throughout the lift, keeping the bar close to your body as you fully extend.
· As the bar passes the knees fully extend up with head held high driving the hips into extension.
· Slowly lower the bar down under control without crashing it back off the floor.