What’s up Gronk Fitness!
Everyone is different in so many ways and lifting is no exception. In fact, not everybody shares the same anthropometry which means our bodies are slightly different in subtle ways.
Taking your body into consideration is VITAL when it comes to your sport and this affects even top level athletes. Not everyone’s body is destined to excel at squatting or deadlifting and for some it might even be unsafe.
Deadlift – More Harm Than Good?
For the majority of athletes out there, the Deadlift is a terrific exercise that builds explosive strength, strengthens the glutes, hamstrings and lower back and directly carries over to sport performance. However, before attempting a deadlift, you should make absolutely sure your body is built for it, especially as you progress with heavier and heavier weights. There are certain cases where deadlifting could actually do more harm than good and even cause a serious lower back or hamstring injury that could set you back months or even years.
Who Should NOT Be Deadlifting?
- Those with a pre-existing lower back injury.
- Those with poor spinal posture.
- Those who are prone to lower back injuries.
In other words, you need to understand that the conventional deadlift is an exercise that puts a huge load on the lower back, simply because the weight is not directly underneath your center of gravity, but slightly in front of it. As a result, you have to push the ground away from your feet AND pull the bar towards your body in order to complete a repetition, something that can take a toll on your lower back, especially if you are predisposed to injuries.
Particularly if you are someone with an anterior pelvic tilt (excess rounding of the lower back), you should avoid exercises that put a strain on your lower back altogether, which includes the deadlift.
How To Work Around The Problem
Just because conventional deadlifts are not ideal for your body type, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doomed. Far from it actually.
Alternative #1 – Sumo Deadlifts: With the extra wide sumo stance, your torso will be more upright and your lower back will be considerably protected compared to a standard deadlift. Also, the Sumo Deadlift is perfect for people with long arms and long legs, as it shortens the range of motion and allows you to lift heavier weights safely and productively.
Alternative #2 – Jefferson Deadlifts: With this variation of the deadlift, the weight will be directly underneath your center of gravity, which means you won’t have to bend over to pick up the bar at all. Instead, you just have to lower your body by bending at the ankles, knees and hips. Just remember to alternate between your two sides for a balanced workout.
Alternative #3 – Trap Bar Deadlift: Also known as Hex Bar Deadlift, this movement is EXCELLENT for everyone, regardless of your body type. It provides the same benefits as a conventional deadlift, but the weight is always underneath your center of gravity which puts ZERO strain on your lower back. Whether you are an athlete or a recreational lifter, you should absolutely invest in a Hex Bar and you’ll immediately feel how much of a difference it can make.
Remember! Just because you are having pain or discomfort during an exercise, it’s never the end of the world. There are always safer and more comfortable alternatives that can provide the same benefits, as long as you are open to trying different things. So, pick the right movements for your body type and as always…get your mind right.