Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
July 30, 2017
So, I have to tell you this…this will be one of my favorite blog posts. I remember the day when Jon started introducing me to what I deem to be the ultimate “man maker” in regards to the weight lifting world. There I was, still learning the basics and Jon decided it was time for to get the ball rolling into some real weight lifting. For months I had been prepped with various other workouts, doing body squats, improving my grips and also improving the strength of my shoulders. I learned the hard way that day that this would end up being quite the challenge for me, not just for my body but also for my self confidence. Trust me ladies and gentleman, I’m gonna say that doing this particular exercise gives me more confidence and feelings of empowerment than the stupid bench press ever could. Let’s face it, how often will the bench really be good for you? Understandably, if some beam fell on you or something or maybe a tree trunk, having that forward thrust might be good to help get it off. On the other hand, if that really happened, you might be too injured to get out of it. But look at how many diverse uses a good dead lift can help you. You can have people cheering your brute strength at the Arnold Classic, https://youtu.be/6kE7bzveF2s, pick up heavy objects, help your friends move some couches and even when in a pinch parking wise, move a car! https://youtu.be/usgUaMgO45g Okay, these are some pretty crazy examples when you really think about it, but in all honesty, upgrading to the deadlift is a good way to move your weightlifting in a forward momentum. In case you do not know what a deadlift is, there are several types to choose from. You have your conventional deadlift, where you get in a crouched formation and while keeping you arms straight and your back straight, you lift whatever weight you think you can handle. The Romanian deadlift—sometimes called the straight legged dead lift—focuses on using the hamstrings and is typically much harder to pull off and learn properly. When performing this deadlift, the back should remain straight with all bending coming from the torso – this means instead of bending the knees the legs should be stiff throughout the lowering and lifting phases of the movement. You also got the Sumo dead lift, where you basically do a conventional deadlift only with your legs further spread apart and the your hand placement in the middle. You then have the snatch dead lift, where you hold the bar much in the same way you hold the bar for a snatch. You have some other deadlifts, the trap bar deadlift, which you utilize a special weight lifting bar called a hex. You also have a hack deadlift, which you essentially do a deadlift but only have the bar behind you rather than in front. And the final one is the deficit deadlift, where you heighten your stance and create a much higher weight lifting distance. Now most gyms will mostly focus on the Conventional and the Romanian, mainly due to the fact these are the most common types and are more compatible in the learning process.
Now that you have thoroughly processed just what the dead lift is, why should you do it? Obviously, I have already mentioned the aesthetic pleasure that you can get from the lift in itself. Picking up heavy amounts of weight can really get you motivated to keep going with your process, especially when you believe you are a weakling like I used to believe in regards to myself. But beyond the mental aspect of the deadlift, it does help you in several areas. The simplicity of the dead lift is fair enough, but when you really put the pieces together, it is a great all around exercise. https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/deadlifts-the-king-of-mass-builders.html Depending on who you talk to, some people—including BodyBuilding.com—believe the deadlift is the most complete lift a person can utilize in their workout regime (while the snatch in my opinion is the most complete). Someone would not be wrong in thinking the deadlift is a great lift. First and foremost, your grip and wrist strength will see leaps and bounds when you start going through this process. While I do suffer from tendinitis, there is some helpful equipment that can aid me down the line as I push beyond the 400-pound limit that I am at such as arm straps, so never let your grip be the determining factor in not doing the exercise. I found a pretty hilarious list about the benefits of the deadlift that you might enjoy https://www.theptdc.com/2014/02/deadlift-exercise/. While some of them are silly (such as the fact Kim Kardashian not doing deadlifts led to the renewal of her terrible show), there is a lot of good information about what the dead lift can do for you. While you will get the standard answers of “it works the shoulders,” “it shreds the back,” “it improves your core musculature” and can give you “spectacular legs,” it can also provide some good long term health benefits. Deadlifting can give you extra strength in your lumbar spinal muscles, which is something that can tighten and deteriorate as you get older without proper usage and training. Due to the sheer toughness of the move, you can actually produce more testosterone, which is something men especially need as they get older. http://www.livestrong.com/article/457147-hormonal-effects-of-heavy-deadlifting/ The deadlift—much like the snatch—will work multiple muscle groups and allow you to tone and tighten at a much quicker rate. You can also build muscle much faster through a heavy dose of deadlifting, which is helpful provided muscle growth is your primary goal. And let us not forget the fact that it is actually a pretty good cardio workout. Trust me, there have been days where I will want to do light deadlifting, and will whip on 245 pounds and go to town with 50 repetitions. When you get to that gaining strength AND gaining cardiovascular depth is something we all need.
The first thing about the deadlift is to not be afraid of trying heavy weights. As I have moved along in my own weight lifting journey, testing your ability is not exactly a bad thing. Doing a standard deadlift will really give you the perfect GPS on your workout journey. As you get heavier in the weight department, your muscle growth will allow you to try other workout ideas that not only test your will but also your cardio. The first time I did 400 I was rather proud of myself, even though my weight indicates I should be able to lift twice my weight (a good indicator on your progress is being able to lift twice your body weight, just to let you know…the best in the world can usually lift thrice their body weight). And here is the great thing about the lift…there is just so much variety that you can really build yourself in however way you see fit. There is even a crazy fad that is going on within the deadlift community called the Zercher deadlift, and the difficulty is a reason why I didn’t mention it with the primary lifts (also due to the fact that it also employs a lot of front squat movement) https://www.t-nation.com/videos/tip-how-to-zercher-deadlift. So what are you waiting for? Get yourself started on the lift, and here is a piece of advice that you will quickly learn…wear sweats or long socks. You will see!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
About Our Blog
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.