If you can’t deadlift safely from a level surface with something designed to be lifted in your own time then what’s going to happen when you are lifting an odd object from the boot of your car or an awkward spot in the house? Guess what you’re going to hurt your back! The deadlift is the ultimate builder of resilience in the back and ranks alongside the squat as the most functional exercise you can do. That being said there are some rules you need to follow to ensure you build strength and avoid injury. Especially those of you who have suffered with back injuries in the past.
Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity - That’s right back to my earlier email. This is the key order for all lifting. Get consistently good mechanics before adding intensity (in most cases load). This could mean you start deadlifting with just a PVC pipe before you go to a 4kg kettlebell and then build week by week. Even if you only add 1kg a week that would still mean you lifting 50kg in a year. A pretty good start for most.
Work to a range of motion you can maintain form. – When you do add load ensure you only pull from the floor if you have the mobility to maintain a stable midline. If your can’t then raise the weights onto plates or use a kettlebell.
Learn brace breathing – Work with a coach to ensure you know how to brace your core.This is essential for all lifting but especially for deadlifts as it’s when you are moving the most weight.
Increase weight slowly- The temptation in a session when you get a personal best is to then go up again and again, don’t! Wait until the next session. Especially if you’ve had back issues it’s good to get up the heavier weight and then see how your body reacts over the following days. If you have no ill effects then you know that you can definitely up it again but if you go massively heavier you might feel the effects once your body has cooled down that you couldn’t feel mid workout.
Stop before form breaks down – Once you start to feel the load really challenging your ability to maintain perfect form stop. Remember we want to work to this training max and not a competition max (Which is when you lift whatever you can no matter the risk. Unless you are a professional powerlifter you never really need to go this heavy!!)
Everyone needs to deadlift. The key is to learn perfect technique implement it with the appropriate load and volume then build this over time. This will make your back super resilient to all that life throws at you and help you live pain free.