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The Deadlift

All-Time Great Strongman, Powerlifter, and Bodybuilder, Jon Pall Sigmarsson, once said “There is no point in being alive if you cannot deadlift”. An unknown source once said “The meet doesn’t start until the bar hits the floor”. It is a great equalizer and a tremendous test of strength. It requires stability in a number of different areas of the body and raw strength in others. It can be used to train grip strength, the lats, the low back, the glutes, the hamstrings, quadriceps, etc. It is a basic full body exercise that can be tremendous for power, speed, and explosiveness, but it can also have disastrous outcomes if not performed correctly. And it was the topic of discussion for week 3 of my online course.


The deadlift requires an athlete to reach down, grab the barbell and stand up with it. It is something so simple, but is one of the most challenging lifts to perform when using heavy weights. It requires a strong and stable core and lumbar spine to allow for a transfer of power from the hips and legs through the spine, down the arms, into the hands holding the barbell. It requires good upper back strength to prevent the chest from collapsing forward and rounding the back. And it requires strength through the glutes, quads, and hamstrings to initiate the pull and finish through to lock out.


It does not really matter what demographic you fall into, whether you’re an elite lifter or a parent that bends over to pick up your 2 year old child, you perform deadlifts all the time. We often have patient’s tell us they bent over to pick something, a child, a bag of concrete, a duffle bag, suitcase, etc. and they “blow their back out”. This can be a one-time instance that was a fluke or it could be the result of an accumulation of repetition with poor form. Regardless, the deadlift is something that most back pain patients could benefit from at some point in their recovery. I am NOT saying if you have back pain, just start deadlifting. That probably won’t end well. But in time, using the correct recovery strategies and rehabilitation exercises, the deadlift can be tremendous for back pain patients. Again… in time.


Take a look at my deadlifts and let me know what you see. I have a pretty blatant fault that most people should be able to recognize pretty easily. First person to guess correctly gets a Pinnacle Hill Chiropractic t-shirt. You also have to tag me in the comments. Instagram: @mikepenkin


For my powerlifting patients – I rarely ever use wrist straps with deadlifts. I still have a bum finger and can’t technically flex it so take it easy on me. I’m trying to only use my index and middle finger to pull, but still wanted to get some decent weight on the bar.


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