When it comes to dead lifting there are a few common mistakes that many people make. By fixing these mistakes, you can instantly add weight to the bar and continue to get stronger while maintaining healthy joints.
1) Breathing – When it comes to life, breathing is essential. When it comes to deadlifting… breathing is essential. The ability to take a deep breath that fills your stomach and not your chest is vital to protecting your lower back in the deadlift. If you need more information on breathing refer to this blog post here.
This breath causes an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, which in turn builds tension (tip 3) and keeps the spine from moving during the lift. You can imagine that this pressure built is similar to the effects of a weight belt; it helps to support your lower back. Why not just wear a weight belt? Because it does the work for your body and the core will never get stronger. If you are going super heavy, 2x your body weight or more, you can add a weight belt, but you still need to have proper breathing. If you are lifting anything less than that, you should not use a weight belt, let your core learn to protect your spine, it’s not like you can wear a weight belt every day can you?
2) Lats – The lats are the biggest players in the deadlift. It is what connects your lower body and your upper body during the movement and keeps your back from folding like a cheap tent. If you learn how to keep your lats tight, you will be able to increase your tension (tip #3) and lift more weight safely. This adds to your core strength and again protects the spine. The ability for your core to fire better, and for you to build tension is key for the success at deadlifts.
3) Tension – Here is where everyone goes wrong. Someone can learn to breath perfect, set his or her lats tight, but when the start the deadlift, all that tension is lost. Most commonly you see people do “the dip”. This is where the person sets up, and brings their body closer to the floor before trying to ascend with the weight. THIS IS AN INSTANT FAIL. You will never be able to pull big weights that way. The second you drop all your tension is lost and you instantly become weaker.
The fix? Once you build your tension, maintain it and continue to push your feet through the floor. Newton’s laws will take over from there. “For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.” Meaning if you push hard through the floor with your feet, you will eventually go up with that weight if you can produce enough force.
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