The deadlift is a compound weight lift that utilizes most of your major muscles including your lower back, hamstrings, and quads to lift a heavy weight off the floor. It’s often mischaracterized as a dangerous and high-risk exercise. However, that’s not true. People have caused injury to the lower back while deadlifting, but this happens not due to the nature of the exercise but due to bad deadlift form. Mastering deadlifting technique is simple, and you’ll know how to properly execute the movement by the end of this article.
To begin, load a barbell with a 45 lb plate on each site and place it on the ground. If you don’t think you’re capable of lifting 135 lbs (barbell + 2 45lb plates), then load it up with smaller plates and place the loaded barbell on top some other plates to achieve the proper height.
Place your feet a bit closer than shoulder width apart under the barbell so that it divides your foot in half and then bend down and grab the barbell with a double overhand grip and with your hands just outside your legs. Before lifting the weight, stick your chest up and out, butt up, inhale and look forward.
To perform the movement inhale, tighten your abs and your back, and raise the barbell by pushing through your feet. Exhale and lower the weight without dropping it.
There are a few details to remember when performing the deadlift. Using the right deadlift technique is crucial because you risk hurting your spine if you don’t. Always keep your back tight and straight when doing deadlifts. Don’t let your lower back curve or else you can herniate a disc.
Before you deadlift, make sure to do a brief cardio session of about five to ten minutes to get your blood flowing and your joints lubricated. Also don’t start off immediately with the most you can lift, do a few sets of lighter weight and build up to your max. This “pyramiding” helps prepare your body and nervous system for the heavy stress of lifting hundreds of pounds of weight. Furthermore, be careful not to do too many sets and overtrain your lower back. Usually, around five to six sets, including the warm up ones, should be enough for your deadlift routine.
You can improve your deadlift form in some ways. You can improve your balance by deadlifting barefoot or while wearing very stable shoes like Chuck Taylors. This helps keep you steady and reduces the chance of injury. Another way to improve your deadlift is to have a better grip. If you are lifting without gloves or straps, hold the barbell closers to your fingers to reduce slipping and formation of calluses. For better grip consider using weight lifting gloves.
The deadlift is an amazing exercise and very underutilized as well. It helps build a wide, massive back and hamstrings, increase grip and overall body strength and overall it just makes you feel great. It’s also an extremely great way to increase functional strength because picking stuff up from the ground is something we do every day.
It is unnecessary for workouts for women and workouts for men to be different. Whether you’re male or female is irrelevant. Exercise techniques and nutritional principles are the same for both sexes, and the same results will be achieved by all, provided you possess the will power and motivation to follow a routine.
This is not to say that men and women should eat the same meals because usually, men will require more calories than women due to their larger muscle mass. Women will also not see the same results as men as they can’t build muscle as quickly or at the same level as men due to differences in hormone levels. However, the best exercises are the best exercises regardless of gender, and they should be incorporated into everyone’s workout routine to reach and maintain a healthy body fat level, increase muscle mass and increase strength for both men and women.
What about “toning” and “body sculpting” workouts for women?
The answer to the above question is summed up nicely by Tom Venuto, a leading personal trainer, and nutritionist with over 20 years experience in the health and fitness industry:
‘Usually, they use words like “sculpting,” “shaping,” or “toning.” That’s great for marketing to women, and if you want to use these words to describe your weight training program, that’s fine. But technically, there’s no such thing as “toning.” You won’t find this word in any scientific text.’
The best and most effective exercises are dictated by human physiology, not age, race or gender. Deadlifts, for example, are arguably the most effective exercise you can perform because they require you to use almost every muscle in your body to move the weight in a functional and natural movement. The effort required to use so many muscle groups simultaneously causes a huge spike in your body’s growth hormones and metabolic rate.
So women should be lifting free weights?
While traditionally the free weights section of gyms has been the domain of large bodybuilding men there is many research to show that the best and quickest way to lose body fat is by performing compound multi-joint weight bearing exercises such as deadlifts and squats. Workouts for women must include free weights!
Although I’ve been talking about free weights and heavy lifting, please don’t think that by performing these types of exercises women will develop bulging muscles and masculine looking frames. Women do not produce the same level of anabolic hormones produced by men (e.g. testosterone). Muscle bound bodybuilding women achieve their figures through injecting steroids into their behinds! Working out with an effective weights program will result in a very feminine physique.
At first, some women might find it difficult lifting anything other than their body weight but don’t let that stop you from performing the exercises. People tend to underestimate just how massive their body is.
How do I know which exercises are best?
If you’re looking for an effective and proven exercise and nutrition guide, then I thoroughly recommend reading the reviews of the two best-selling health and fitness e-books on the web today which contain excellent exercises to lose weight. 60% of the people who buy these e-books are women according to the writers. I hope you are open minded enough to try a new routine rather than sticking with the notion that different workouts for women are needed.