We are starting our third week, in nine week long deadlift cycle. I am sure your co-workers, friends and family can tell you have started a deadlift cycle from the awkward way you are walking or from you saying how tight your hamstrings and glutes are-which could be an oddity for those who do not CrossFit (have you ever considered how strange we sound to those who do not CrossFit?)
Regardless of how you are walking or what you are saying, the point is deadlifts leave you sore and they SHOCK your nervous system more than any other lift. Being sore is a good thing; however, many people hurt themselves during the deadlifts, the most likely cause: losing form on a lift.
With this in mind, I thought it would be beneficial, for both the experienced CrossFitter and the newbie, to go over the “Points of Performance” when concerning the deadlift. Lets start from the ground, and work our way up:
- Feet: underneath the hips
- Barbell Placement: right in the middle of your foot, (a good marker is your shoe-laces),
- Barbell is kissing your shins.
- Weight in heels
- Grip on the barbell: parallel or alternate. Hands need to be placed outside the legs.
- Shoulders slightly in front of the bar. We don’t want you hunched over the bar, this usually leads to the back curving. However you are not going to be efficient in your lift if your shoulders are behind the barbell-this often leads to a “squattier” deadlift.
- Chest up and open.
- Think of a string tied from one shoulder to the next; there should not be any slack in that string, so open up those shoulders and roll them back into your back pockets-stand tall. This will prevent your lower back from doing the heavy lifting.
- TIGHT CORE! Flex those abs. We often become lazy and relax our core, which can result to a rounded back. Our core muscles are what keep everything nice and tight and locked in.
- Arms locked out. We are lifting with our BIG muscles, our glutes, hamstrings and lower back muscles, so we want our arms to act as suspension cords. They are there to hold the bar, not lift it.
- Head is neutral. Don’t look up at the ceiling. It cuts off your breathing and its not good for your spine.
Before you move that barbell, you want everything activated. Imagine your body as an old computer, the ones that blinked and made a loud humming noise, before you finally saw the screen. Your BIG muscles need time to turn on. Make sure you feel the tension in your hamstrings when you set up.
Pick up that barbell:
- Knees out, pull the lats back.
- Drive through the heels as you lift the bar from the ground; Imagine you are pushing the earth away from you with your legs
- Hips and shoulders rise at the same time
- Push your hips forward, squeeze your glutes
- Pull the barbell to your hips; once hips are fully extended, your lift is complete
- DONT hyper-extend! You want your back to remain straight throughout the lift.
- Push the hips back
- Keep those lats engaged; chest open; shoulders back, drag the barbell down your quads
- The descent should be controlled; don’t let that weight pull you down
- Core tight
- Once you reach the knees, bend the knees slightly and continue pushing the hips back till you reach the floor
- Make sure your head is neutral
Concentrate on these points of performance before you even approach the bar. The deadlift is a great foundational movement, and will strengthen your other lifts, so learn to do it well. You are using those larger muscles to pick up that bar, shocking your nervous system! This is why the deadlift is so good for you, and also so taxing. We will talk more about that next week. For now KEEP LIFTING and take time to recover well.
We have some heavy weeks ahead, so correcting those bad habits will help you lift well in the future! You all are killing it!