Five Reasons Why You Should be Dead Lifting
I don’t think anyone who knows me and is reading this will be surprised to hear the Dead Lift (DL) is my all time favorite exercise. Some version of dead lifting makes its way into almost every program I write. I wish I could say the DL and I go way back, but unfortunately that is not the case. Much like many romantic stories DL and I met in college. I had heard of Dead Lift before that, hell I had even seen it around my local gym on the rare occasion some brave LUNK was willing to set off the alarm at (a celestial body moving in elliptical orbit around a star) Fitness.
However, until I began actually learning about true strength training and its benefits I thought, like many others, that Dead Lifting was just for meat heads that hated their spine. When we first met, DL and I did not get along. Like many first dates it was awkward, and challenging. As time progressed we moved passed the awkward stage and began to get more comfortable with each other which lead to the “honey moon” phase. It seemed that every week I was setting a new personal best on my Dead Lifts. After those first four months however things began to change. The dead lift stopped being an exciting new exercise that I always looked forward to, and became a nagging, moody, literal pain in my butt. Progress became much slower, I was lucky if I could add 5 lbs to my lift every 2 weeks. It was at this point that I almost gave up. Luckily I didn’t, I continued to pull that heavy bar off steal off the floor week to week. I noticed that even though some days I didn’t feel like I was progressing on the Dead Lift, all of my other exercises improved more than they ever had before I started Dead Lifting. The carry over to the rest of my training program was insane.
I also noticed my self-efficacy and confidence had improved tremendously. The fact that I knew I was capable of lifting that much weight made me feel great about myself. My posture was better, and despite what I thought before, my back felt better than ever and my ankles, knees and hips felt great too! I no longer had to ask my girl friend to open the pickle jar, and when I passed gas it smelled like freshly picked white roses.
The Dead Lift truly changed my fitness routine and my results in all the best ways! Here is a list of a few reasons why if you aren’t already familiar, you should get to know this exercise a little more personally!
1) Bang for your buck
Everyone wants results yesterday. The dead lift, when performed properly, incorporates damn near every muscle in the human body. The main movers (glutes and hamstrings) are some of the biggest and most powerful muscles we have. Not to mention all of the posterior muscles of your upper body working their butts off to hold your spine rigid and avoid spinal flexion due to the heavy load. The abdomen squeezing tight on the flip side so your spine doesn’t become over erect. All the muscles around your shoulder, elbow, and wrists working to hold that heavy weight. Small stabilizers from the ankle up are also working to support the load. With all these muscles working at the same time, not only are you burning the maximum number of calories, but because it is a heavy load, you will be increasing your lung capacity with increased breathing, and your elevated heart rate will make you feel like you just did a bunch of burpees, without having to actually have done a bunch of burpees!
2) Huge carry over
Heavy dead lifting will put your Central Nervous System into over drive. For that bar to move, so many things have to happen with perfect timing and coordination. You will build fantastic neural pathways, mind muscle connection, which will carry over to the rest of your exercises and daily movement patterns.
3) Best chance to be strong
Typically the Dead Lift is the exercise that will allow you to use the most resistance. This sort of ties into bang for your buck, in the fact that the more resistance (weight) you can load your body with, the more your body will have to adapt. Heavy load will help improve bone density, and provide your muscles with the stimulation needed to elicit a change. AKA you will get super human strength!
4) Everyone Dead Lifts every day
If you ever pick up anything that is lower than the height of your hand when your arm is hanging from your shoulder you are dead lifting. More than likely, you are just doing it wrong. Building that proper mind muscle connection through heavy, supervised Dead Lifting will decrease your chance of throwing your back out when you bend over to pick up your shoes in the morning. One, because the muscles will be stronger two, because you will have developed proper movement patterns, and three you will have my voice in your head saying “Rigid Spine” “Hips back” every time you pick anything up J.
5) Most importantly – Being Awesome!
Maybe some of you have never put a thought into if you want to be awesome or not. But, I bet I could guess the answer if I asked you if you would rather be awesome, or not awesome. Dead Lifting is one of the most impressive exercises there is. Being able to lift heavy weight will increase your self esteem and build your confidence, I know from personal experience. We can all use a boost of positive self image in this world that seems to be filled with negativity. Besides, if you can pick up a heavy object from the ground, people from around the world will gaze at you in awe and only dream to one day be as awesome as you!
Now, go be awesome!
Mike Gilmore - Fitness Together Newtonville