Sunday, 5 December 2010


First a little update from the big city of Cardiff. I have now signed up to a gym nearby which means I have attended 4 spinning sessions this week, not bad! Spinning or indoor cycling is something I have always enjoyed as a way to vary my training, I especially think it is a great alternative to keep my fitness up when the roads outside are icy and dangerous! Enough about me and my training, let’s move on to the important topic of the day.

I will be talking about the importance of PROPER lifting technique, not just necessarily lifting technique in the gym, but also principles for people to apply in everyday life when lifting any objects, shopping bags or Christmas shopping off the floor. Most people have hopefully heard at some point to “bend the legs and not lift with the back” when picking things off the floor. But what does this actually mean and how should you perform it?
I thought this was a great opportunity to describe the famous Deadlift that every S&C coach, Sports Therapist or Physiotherapist should know about. The Deadlift is one of the key lifts for several strength/power exercises that start by picking a barbell off the floor, but the Deadlift is also an excellent strength exercise to use as a separate lift. The Deadlift is a compound exercise that works all of the key muscles (prime movers) and several synergist muscles in the abdomen and lower and upper back, as well as the hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteus muscles.

Underneath I have described the way to correctly execute the Deadlift with a barbell; however the key principles are the same when lifting any object of the floor which will be summarised towards the end.

The Deadlift

Starting position (Picture 1 and 2)
Picture 1. Starting position

• Stand with your feet flat and placed between hip and shoulder width apart with the toes pointed outwards slightly

• Squat down and grab the bar with a closed pronated grip (can used a mixed grip as well)

• Place the hands on the bar slightly wider than shoulder width apart, outside the knees with the elbows fully extended

• Position the bar approximately 3cm in front of the shins and over the balls of your feet

• Position the body with:

Picture 2. Starting position

o Back flat

o Trapezius relaxed

o Chest up and out

o Head in line with the spine or slightly hyper extended

o Shoulder over or slightly in front of the bar and eyes focused straight ahead

• All the repetitions begin from this position

Upward movement phase

• Lift the bar off the floor by extending your hips and knees

• Don’t let the hips rise before the shoulders

• Maintain a flat back (this is really important!)

• Keep the elbows extended and the shoulders over or slightly ahead of the bar

Picure 3. End of upward phase

• As the bar raises, keep the bar as close to the shins as possible

• As the bar rises just above the knees, move the hips forward to move the thighs against and the knees under the bar

• Continue to extend the hips and knees until the body reaches a fully erect torso position (Picture 3)

Downward movement phase

• Allow the hips and knees to flex to slowly lower the bar to the floor

• Maintain the flat back position, don’t flex the torso forward (Important!)

Some key pointers to remember:

1. Always keep the object you are lifting close to your body

2. Never round your back, keep your back flat

3. Bend your knees and hips to make sure you can lift with your legs

4. Perform the movement slow and controlled, never rush the movement as you may lose form

One important thing to remember which I think a lot of people get forget is that these principle should not be forgotten if the object you are lifting is “light”! Acute back injuries can be a result of incorrect lifting even if the object you are trying to lift are considered light, so I will encourage people to never underestimate the importance of correct lifting technique. That was my wise words of the day:)

I know it is cold and icy in most places of the UK (and Norway) at the moment, so if you are training outside remember to dress accordingly (hat and gloves is a must).  Enjoy December, it is a great month! If you train consistently between New Year and Christmas, you don’t have to worry about what you eat between Christmas and New Year is my philosophy:)

One last tip of the day: Nicole Scherzinger’s song Poison is a great training song!!


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