image by dthoskins
If anyone were to ask me today what single exercise that I think that everyone should be doing on a regular basis, my answer would definitely be the deadlift.
Of all the resistance training exercises that I have done, the deadlift has had the most noticeable impact on both my physique and my overall health. Great for the buns, hamstrings, and especially the lower back, this exercise mimics movements used in everyday activities such as BENDING OVER AND PICKING SOMETHING UP.
I decided to incorporate this exercise when I began to hear a loud groaning noise every time I bent over followed by a gasp when I stood back up. Sound familiar?
There are two types of deadlifts that you can try. The first is the Romanian deadlift which is described below via weighttraining.com:
- Step 1: Start with the barbell in front of your feet and bend over and grab the bar about shoulder width apart.
- Step 2: Bend slightly at the knees, lift the weight upward to your waist.
- Step 3: As you lift the weight to your waist thrust your hips forward.
- Step 4: Lower the weight down to mid-shin level and repeat exercise. You should not lower the bar to the ground.
The second type of deadlift is the stiff-legged or straight-legged deadliest. It’s important to note that the stiff-legged deadlift can cause injury if done improperly. Here is an excerpt regarding the stiff-legged deadlift from a most excellent post by Krista of stumptuous.com:
…There are some important lessons here. First, never do this exercise as a maximal lift. Do not test your 1 rep max, do not go to failure, and do not use a 100% effort. Treat it as a light endurance and conditioning exercise only, rather than a go-hard-or-go-home movement like I did. Focus on using the glutes and hamstrings to drive the movement. And if you have a history of back pain and injury, especially a disc herniation, pass on this movement. There are many other options for glute and hamstring training.
Note that she is referring to the stiff-legged, not Romanian deadlift here. The whole article is great and was one of the first things I read when I became interested in weights. I strongly encourage you to read her full article on deadlifts HERE.
That’s a lot of info, but don’t get overwhelmed! Just practice the bending motion with no weight to begin with and slowly add as you gain confidence. Also, if you’re at the gym and you see someone deadlifting (with good form) ask them to watch you. Maybe you’ll find a training buddy!
Remember to always check with your physician before starting any new exercise regime!