by Benji Williford, Chain Reaction Fitness
After what seemed like a never-ending polar vortex, it’s finally time to “spring” into action! You probably have plans to landscape, travel, and spring clean. All of these activities will entail lifting objects such as flowerpots, landscaping blocks, suitcases, and various other heavy items. Anytime you pick up an object from the ground, you are performing a deadlift. Proper form when performing a deadlift will strengthen the glutes, hamstrings, and core, and can eliminate back pain. Conversely, rep after rep of poor form will incur injuries such as back pain, potentially causing you to be out of commission.
Here are some deadlifting guidelines to keep you injury-free:
Place your feet (hip-width apart) on either side of the object so that it is centered between the arches of your feet. (Place yourself to the side of objects with handles such as a suitcase so that the handle is lined up with the arch of your foot.)
Really root both feet into the ground.
Tilt your pelvis by pulling the top part of the butt toward your heels. This shouldn’t be confused with an excessive “scoop” of the butt as that would strain the back.
Pull the lower ribs inward while you pull your navel in toward your spine as if you were trying to lift it up under your ribcage.
Your midsection will feel very strong and “engaged” while the lower back lengthens out (below).
Sit back in your hips, keeping your midsection tight and your back straight.
Keep your knees over your ankles and bend your knees until you can grab the object.
Your shoulders should be in front of the object/your hands.
Your glutes, hamstrings, and midsection are tight.
Now tighten your armpits as if you were holding a newspaper under each arm (below).
Keep your arms straight and stay tight in the armpits.
Push into your heels and straighten your legs. Really use your glutes and keep the abs tight!
Fully open your hips/straighten your hip flexors at the top of the rep.
The path of the object as you lift it should be straight up (not in an arc). Think about working with the pull of gravity (below).
Be sure to add deadlifts using equipment such as barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and sandbags to your workouts. This functional exercise will ensure that you enjoy being strong when it matters!
Benji is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer (PFT), a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and Owner of Chain Reaction Fitness LLC. www.benjiwilliford.com