Rarely has one lift been so maligned, except for perhaps the squat, even though it’s so good. Heck, it’s even useful! Sheesh, it’s even MANDATORY TO REGULAR LIFE when you get right down to it! How often do we pick things up off the floor of from anywhere below our waist? I’d wager more than 5 times a a day.
So let’s talk about how to do it right. "The Deadlift?" you ask, no silly. How to pick stuff up off the floor, be it an apple, a child, a car tire (no not flipping a tractor tire), a gallon of milk, sack of groceries, a/an [insert noun], and yes of course the almighty barbell.
Which of the below photographs mimic the posture shown in the diagram?
You got it! The correct answer is A. Our model in photo A is demonstrating remarkable (and here I am remarking about it) lordotic curvature of the spine. It’s ready to load. It won’t yield to the strain imparted by the load about to lifted, it won’t succumb to mettlesome shear forces (the ones that make your back go *ouch*) it will develop static strength in the erectors to such a degree that will allow him to someday deadlift 3x bodyweight, and at the same time, pick up a planter pot at Sky Nursery and not limp home regretting it.
ALSO, I think it totally rocks. Which is really important. When a coach here says "tighten up", "get stiff", "ARCH!", "DON’T ROUND", "get tight", "stick your tailbone out", "butt up chest up!", all we’re really trying to get you to do is demonstrate lordotic posture in the lower and upper back so that we can mitigate the shear forces placed upon the vertebrae and make you stronger.
Sound good? If you can’t get in that position no way, we’ve got to stretch you and make you strain like crazy with every deadlift along the way, it’s the only way to build you up to be able to do this essential movement. Essential means that you can’t live well without it. Crying baby in car seat on floor? Sounds like a 15 pound deadlift to me! Do you want to do it safely and effectively or possibly "throw your back out" (impinge a disc/spinal nerve or strain an intrinsic spinal muscle).
Respect the deadlift. When you meet someone who can deadlift above 400# looking good while doing it – you’ve found someone you want on your side, no matter what the event. From badminton to boating to battle to bar mitzvah.
So instead of asking everyone "How much you bench?" or even "How much you seated hamstring curl?" instead ask them "How much you pulling these days?" [Translation: How much do you deadlift currently?] Trust me, call it a pull – it’s instant street cred with the lifters, instant.
Clan Chieftan Out.