The Holistic Deadlift: Benefits of Doing Deadlifts

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Doing deadlifts can be equated to pulling out a boat from the water and trying to repaint its hull. While you might not see it, the boat’s subsurface coating protects it from rotting. Similarly, while you do not use the motions of a deadlift to get on a surfboard, shoot a free throw, or to kick a ball, if you do not perform deadlifts, then something’s definitely wrong. And while becoming a deadlift pro does not necessarily guarantee athletic glory, it serves well in providing a clean bill of health to those looking to their performance. As such, the benefits of doing deadlifts outweigh anything you will get from not doing them. Here is what we think is the perfect approach to getting the most out of this wrongly maligned form of exercise.

Warm and Get Balanced

Before you start deadlifting, it is important that you warm up for a couple of minutes. For about 10 minutes, do something that’s fun and limbering like striking a few yoga poses, hitting the speed bag, or shooting hoops. Then, for another 10 minutes, improve your balance on an inboard, half ball, or with side planks and push-ups.

The Deadlift

Now that you are warmed up, limber and feeling balanced, it is time for the main event. In spite of its name, when deadlifting, you aren’t supposed to lift the weight. As such, do not try to pull the weight off the ground as it could make your lower back to round, and you could end up straining and wrestling with the weight. Instead, find a good low stance and move as though you are trying to stand up with the weight.

Here is a play-by-play of how to do this:

  1. Assume a squatting position and get your butt as low as possible.
  2. Position your shin in a forward lead and at an angle of 45 degrees to your foot – not 90 degrees.
  3. There are a couple of grips when it comes to deadlifting and each one has its own merits. The one we like most is the grip where one of your hands is over and the other is under. This way, you end up holding the weight as a hockey stick.
  4. However, it is important that you do not over grip the weight: Make sure that your triceps are under your shoulders; this way, your arms are straight allowing for there to be no outward bend in your elbow and allowing for your arm to be totally locked out.
  5. Take in a deep breath. When in the down position, it is important that you push your quad muscles in towards your knees and that you use your hip flexors. As the lift takes place, your thigh muscles will lift into your stomach, resulting in a vertical explosion.
  6. Avoid leaning back as you reach the top of your lift as you push through – there is no need to take this advanced move.
  7. Do not go so fast that you lose balance; at the same time, it is important that you do not engage so much that you become tense. Not all lifts will come out perfectly.

Unload the lift

To fully enjoy the benefits of doing deadlifts, it is important that you workout a bit immediately after you are done deadlifting. When done, get some dumbbells and pick a dumbbell weight you can barely lift. Hit 13, 8, and finally 5 reps for each of the following: single-arm overhead press, single-arm bench press on a flat bench, and single-arm bicep curls. Once done, take about 15 minutes and do some balance work. After this, take a short break before getting some 15-pound dumbbells. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, do 5 squat-jumps without pausing then go back to balancing for about 5 minutes and that’s it.

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