Squats, benches, and deadlifts are considered the big three lifts for strength and conditioning. However, there are a growing number of lifters that are going against this overly simplified concept. Some lifters believe that deadlift brings more harm than good. Strongman Robert Oberst during an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast said that deadlift isn’t exactly for everyone.
Before you decide, it is important to first understand how the deadlift works. Deadlifting involves extensors found in your spine, hips, knees, and ankles. And with heavy demands on the lumbar spine to be able to generate force by extending the hips, knees, and ankles, the deadlift is a common cause of both acute and chronic injury among casual weightlifters or even pros.
A Risky Exercise
Just by looking at how the weights are loaded into your system when doing a deadlift, it isn’t surprising why 20.5% of injuries among powerlifters have lower back injuries.
As a multi-joint exercise, many things can go wrong. And there are a few things you can blame why deadlifts may not be the right exercise for you. It can be because of immobility, weakness, or poor proprioception that is causing the problem.
Immobility is most likely an issue for individuals who aren’t professional weight lifters. Deadlifts require a decent hip hinge, which is something that the general population struggle with due to their sedentary lifestyle.
Finding a Safer Alternative
There are different ways how you can still get the benefits of doing deadlifts without doing a conventional barbell deadlift. You can replicate the benefits minus the potential injuries.
A better starting point is to go for kettlebell deadlifts. You can then progress towards integrating resistance bands, and then a trap bar deadlift. From here, you can get to do a traditional deadlift but placed on a block instead of lifting the weight from the floor.
Is it a Good Idea to Do Deadlifts?
Traditional deadlifts can cause injuries without the right amount of practice and supervision. It is common for some people to overestimate their capability lifting. Though there’s data that tells you all about the risks, there are also some benefits that you shouldn’t just overlook.
Deadlifts involve a lot of muscle groups. It engages all muscle groups from your core to your posterior chain, back muscles, and grips allowing the person to burn a lot of calories in the process. And on top of that, it is also a functional workout that allows your body to learn how to carry something heavy.
Should you be including deadlifts in your workout or is it time that you find an alternative? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
If done correctly, deadlifts can be a good way to see improvements in your body. You can improve your grips, develop power and coordination, not to mention even boost your testosterone level. However, if you are already suffering from lower back injuries, might as well go for safer alternatives.
Rules When Doing a Deadlift
Lifting will always have its associated risks. There’s a risk of pinning yourself against the bench if you are doing a simple bench press. However, you don’t hear a lot of people stopping you from doing this workout. The same can be said about the deadlift.
What you can do is to learn the movement step by step and to remember all the safety precautions to prevent injuries.
First, you should never lift with your ego. It means that you should think twice as you load more weight on your bar. If you are doing a standard deadlift, be sure that you progressively build your strength and confidence. Also, critique your form from start to finish. Any sign that you are compromising your form only means that you are not yet ready for a particular weight.
As you grip the bar, you also want to position your foot midway under the barbell. The grip should also be shoulder width.
Next, you need to make sure that you will have a neutral spine. It also means that you are going to engage your core. This gets your core involved in transferring energy as you lift the weight from the bottom up.
If you are not yet confident doing a standard deadlift, you might as well switch towards safer alternatives that we have mentioned. Work your way up. Also, it makes perfect sense if you can concentrate on strengthening muscles that are going to be involved in doing a deadlift.
You want to strengthen your quads and hamstrings by doing squats, improve your core by doing planks, and perhaps improve your back muscles by doing pull-ups. These separate exercises can pay dividends to how much you can lift off the ground when doing a deadlift.
Deadlifts can have a lot of benefits. However, let’s also agree that it can be a dangerous exercise if you don’t know how to properly execute the movements. Should you get forget about doing deadlifts? Not so fast. You’d rather want to explore safer alternatives first. Also, be sure that you are consciously checking on your form if you ever do a standard deadlift. With these precautions, you can still enjoy its benefits while minimizing the possible injuries that you could get along the way.