Introducing dead lifts. Now you might have a little reaction to this week's introduction and some may think "dead lifts aren't safe". Well that's not entirely true. When performed correctly, they are a wonderful exercise for strengthening the hamstrings, buttocks and lower back. The truth is.... you're going to be doing a lot of bending and lifting, if you're not already, and most of why we develop back pain comes down to how we move and how we bend.
A common misbelief is that bending forward with a straight spine and splinting our backs by sucking our stomachs in is the best way to protect ourselves. This is not true. We aren't designed to move like planks. Nor are we designed to lift with a completely flexed spine. So here is what I propose... how about we focus on strengthening the muscles we need most to perform a lift, focus on our balance and varied ways of strengthening our legs, and that way you will be flexible, versatile and able to adapt to the changing loads on your body and changing demands on your life?
Performing a deadlift requires flexibility in your hamstrings. If you don't have that, you'll be more inclined to slump forward from your spine. A dead lift is about lowering and lifting from the hips, not the knees and not the spine. The knees remain slightly flexed, particularly if you feel tightness behind the knee joint. What you should feel as you lower the weight down (which doesn't have to be heavy at all) is the back of your thighs and buttocks activate to control the lowering phase. Then you drive up through the heels to lift the weight back up by bringing the hips forward. The movement comes from folding in through the hips and sitting the hips backwards. Give it a go and remember the weight doesn't need to be heavy, nor do you need to lower very far down. The purpose of the deadlift is to engage and strengthen the back of your legs and hips. Good luck, Sian ;)
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds on each side with 15 seconds rest.
‘x’ indicates the number of sets x 1, x 2, x 3
Perform each stretch for 60 seconds or 30 seconds on each side if required.