Deadlifts this week!!! Here’s how to do it!

Hi and welcome to another week,

Awesome sessions last week – but I have to say I am glad that the mini-sleds have been put away!  Those things are seriously tough and whilst I know those people who train with me at lunchtime get the worst of it (every push is from the chin-up bar to the speedball and back) even the short ‘chinup bar to heavy bag’ ones are tough!

In the week ahead some good sessions have been planned – there is a lot of ‘everyone to a bag’ type warm-up work, a shadow-boxing style class (first one of those in AGES!!) and – as promised a couple of weeks ago on social media, the deadlift bars are out.

Now – we deadlift (which is just a hip hinge movement ultimately) in our boxing classes all the time.  Pretty much every week in fact.  But we usually do it single leg style with a kettlebell for resistance.  Despite this, every time we load up some barbells and put them out on the rubber floor for use in boxing, well, it seems half the gym population have a genuine freak-out about what they are being asked to do.  Which – as I said above – is just a hip hinge.  So why the freak-out?  Because it is ‘going to hurt my back’.

OK – so let’s talk about that for a second.  We all pick up stuff from the ground every day without injury – and without thinking about our technique (which in casual situations is usually pretty horrible).  Plus, add to that some of the things we regularly pick up – like a bag of shopping for example – is unevenly loaded.  So when you do it in the gym – under supervision, with a clearly defined ‘lifting protocol’ (more on that in a second) and manageable weights, well, why is there an issue?  Yes, you need to be careful but you need to be equally careful doing a LOT of stuff!

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As I repeatedly tell the TANKS crew, I am always more wary of injury doing back squats than deadlifts and the reason is pretty simple – when a deadlift bar gets too heavy for me (well, you and I both know that is unlikely but just imagine for a second that it did) the outcome is simple – I just cannot pick the barbell up.  Pretty hard to get hurt in that scenario.  When doing squats though – you generally find out it is a bit too heavy when you are ¾’s of the way DOWN…and you have a very heavy bar on your back and are being forced DOWN and FORWARDS by the weight…well, the tendency to try and overload your back to get back into an upright position is hard to resist.  Experienced lifters ‘know’ to fall forward and let the support arms catch the bar – but even with experience, well, sometimes you just think you have ‘got’ the weight (because it is fatigue causing you to ‘fail’ at a weight you have successfully lifted over and again) and STILL

Now – to me the deadlift is a really SIMPLE movement and it is pretty easy to teach (mainly because we all pretty much do it every day knowingly or otherwise).  It is by far the simplest movement to teach of the three (3) primary lifts (deadlift, Squat, Bench Press) and when you start comparing the technicalities of the DL to those of the DL extension movements such as Power Cleans, Cleans, Snatches etc, well…

When we teach the deadlift at Round 1, there is a pretty simple 5-step process we ask people to follow:

Step 1:  Address the bar.  Feet parallel, shoulder width apart.  The KNOTS on your laces should be directly under the bar.  Yes – you stand THAT CLOSE to the bar – the knots in your shoes are UNDER THE BAR!

Step 2:  Grab the bar with your hands outside your knees.  If the bar ‘moves around’ whilst you are grabbing it, go back to step 1 and start again.  At this stage, I don’t want you to think about your back, your  butt, your knees or anything else.  Just grab it.

(Yes – there are variations to this movement that mean you need to grab the bar in different spots – sumo grip, snatch grip etc – but don’t worry about any of that today – just grab the bar, both hands in ‘overhand’ position and located just outside your legs).

Step 3:  Bend your knees until your SHINS TOUCH THE BAR.  But – and this is important – DON’T MOVE THE BAR.  Just like in step 2, if the bar moves here then don’t guess – go back to step 1 and start again.  Remember, as you become more familiar with the movement then you MIGHT be able to re-adjust on the fly but I know for me – particularly as the weights go up – I really do reset and start again during the DL setup process.

Step 4:  Bum out, chest up, back straight – ABS ON!.  Sounds simple – and once you have got the hang of it you will be able to automatically get into this position.  But – it does take a little bit of practice for you to be able to do this automatically…don’t get frustrated if the trainer keeps cueing you by saying ‘butt out’ or ‘chest up’ – they are just trying to find the words that will trigger you to straighten your back out and – whilst both of those cues seem straight forward enough on paper, when you are in an unfamiliar position with both hands hanging onto a barbell, well, simple words don’t always make simple sense!

Step 5:  Stand UP!  Well, activate your glutes and stand up.  Or, activate your glutes and LOCK YOUR ABS and stand up.  As you go up, the barbell FOLLOWS your knees – don’t lift the bar so quickly it has to go AROUND your knees – just lift the bar up in time with your legs such that by the time the bar gets to knee height, those knees are ‘outta the way’! On the way down, this part of the process is reversed – you start by sticking your butt OUT and your KNEES FOLLOW THE BAR – if you bend your knees too early, you will need to move the bar around your knees…which moves it away from your body and we don’t want that.  On the way down you HINGE AT THE HIPS until the bar gets to your knees, THEN you start to bend your knees.  The bar needs to be placed back into the position you found in step one (above the knots in your laces) when you finish the movement – if you bend your knees too early, well, you will find the bar closer to your toes!  Which isn’t ideal, but – as I said already, if that is where you find it, reset your position and start again from Step 1 for your second effort.

If you have a look at this video here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFpIJ6xJPSI&t=49s – you will be able to confirm that we have been teaching this movement using the same 5-step process since 2014 at least (and I reckon since we opened the gym since I am pretty convinced I stole the steps from the amazing lifting bible ‘Starting Strength’ by Mark Rippetoe.  The book is amazing, Rippetoe is a great and page turning writer and you can find all that stuff out for yourself HERE:  https://startingstrength.com/).

Deadlifts are GREAT exercises and they aren’t to be feared.  Remember, it is just a hip hinge and it doesn’t have to be super heavy to give you a benefit.  Remember, we do them ALL THE TIME in boxing in the form of single leg kettlebell deadlifts.  Remember, it is focussing on building strength through your posterior chain – particularly hamstrings, glutes and spinal erectors – and having a strong PC is super important for people wanting to avoid back issues as they grow older!

Let me know if any of this sounds good (or not) with an email to Michael@round1fitness.com.au

See you in the gym,

Michael.

Gym Update #1 – T-Shirt Special

Well, whilst digging in the storage cupboard I found a heap of the ‘Round 1 – COMMITTED’ logo tees that we commission 18-months or so back.  Now, these are high quality AS Colour tees and we are getting rid of them for just $10 each – when they were last on the shelves they were $35.  I know I bought one and I am pretty sure all of the other trainers grabbed one as well – awesome looking, high quality tees and when they are gone they are gone forever!

Gym Update #2 – 12-Days of Christmas Challenge (is COMING)

It is hard to believe I know, but our ever popular ’12-days of Christmas’ challenge is only a couple of short weeks away.  Remember that the idea of the annual December challenge is NOT to ruin everyone’s social lives – it is quite the opposite really.  What we try to do in the ’12-days of Christmas’ challenge is ACKNOWLEDGE that it is a busy time for everyone – but at the same time provide people with a way to focus on maintaining their training during what is a chaotic time of the year.

This year’s challenge will be similar to last year (in that there will be 12x classes to complete between December 4th (a Monday) and Christmas eve (a Sunday).  Unlike last year though this year you will need to complete 12x ‘extra’ workouts – each of which has been named after one of Santa’s reindeer.  Now, you can do the same workout ’12-times’ or you can mix them up however you like.  Some of the workouts are easy – some are very difficult (they have been rated for difficulty with a score /10.

Registration for the challenge will be available from Wednesday, November 22nd (which is just a few short days away!)

Gym Update #3 – Developing Athlete Program

Developing Athletes Logo

So we are into the last week of our Developing Athlete Program and I know I am pretty keen to see how the final body scan results turn out.  I have been super impressed with the improvements each of the crew have made in their lifts and I think they are starting to get the idea that getting stronger – particularly stronger in a way that can be translated to the sports field – involves persistence, hard work and consistency.

The sessions have been challenging – it really has been (sorta) like doing TANKS 3x per week for 4-weeks (following the first two weeks of technique and teaching) and that is tough for anyone.  I know I am really hopeful we see at least a few of them continue with their training AFTER the DAP program finishes…and I also know that we are really onto something with this program and I just wish it had been available when I was 16!

Link of the Week

Cool little how to/how not to article about starting a business:

https://torontolife.com/food/restaurant-ruined-life/

How is this relevant?  I just liked it!!