Deadlifts are one of the most powerful compound exercises you can do, and for teens looking for the inside track on explosive performance it is a necessity. That said, even a minor mistake when doing deadlifts can have disastrous results, which is why it’s important to avoid these mistakes when you put your hands on that bar.
Deadlift Don’t’s For Strength Training
#1: Shoulder and Hips
Proper form is required to get the most out of any weight lifting exercise, and deadlifts are no different. You start with your back straight, knees bent, and hands on the bar. You stand, using your legs and not your back to lift, and you finish when you stand up straight. When you get into this top position do not roll your shoulders back and thrust your hips forward; that puts a lot of unnecessary strain on your back, shoulders, hips, etc. Just come to a standing position, and slowly lower the bar back down.
#2: Don’t Bring Your Hips in Too Low
Another mistake that a lot of lifters make with deadlifts is that they bring their hips down low like they were doing squats. You want your hips to be at least slightly above your knee, as if you were bowing instead of sitting in a chair. If you’re banging your shins and knees with the bar, you might be a little too low.
#3: Rounding Your Back
One of the similarities between deadlifts and squats is that you have your shoulders back and your chest up for both of them. If you find yourself hunching your back forward during deadlifts (and lifting with your back) stop and re-set your form. This is a path that’s likely to lead to injury fairly quickly, especially if you have a lot of weight on your bar.
#4: Too Much Gear
Hand grips and a weight belt are great accessories if you’re maxing out and want to be safe, but you don’t need them all the time. In fact, if you’re constantly using these accouterments to help support you it’s likely you’ll grow reliant on them, weakening your form at best, and actually losing grip strength and back strength at worst. Use them sparingly, and only when you think you really need them at your 1RM.
Get A Stronger Grip To Increase Your Strength Training
There’s nothing worse than when you’re making solid progress in the weight room, but you get stopped because your grip simply isn’t strong enough to hold the weight you need to lift. Whether you’re doing deadlifts, pull ups, or a similar strength training exercise it doesn’t matter how powerful your back and quads are if you can’t keep your grip.
Fortunately grip strength, just like anything else in the gym, can be improved if you know what to do.
Step One: Stop Using Lifting Straps
Lifting straps are a great piece of equipment to use if you’re maxing out, or trying to be a record. The problem is that if you use them all the time you’re going to end up with a weak grip because you’re not using it. While you should still hang onto any straps you have, only use them as a last resort when you’re doing a max effort lift or similar.
Step Two: Squeeze The Bar When You Lift
A good way to increase grip strength is to make sure you squeeze the bar no matter what exercise you’re doing. By squeezing the bar you activate your forearms and wrists, and the resistance will build strength. Not only that, but with a tight grip it’s easier to keep proper form when you’re lifting.
Step Three: Incorporate Grip Strength Exercises
While your grip will naturally increase with other lifts, sometimes it’s good to focus on your grip. Exercises like clay pigeons (grabbing a weight plate, tucking your elbow in, and holding it as long as you can between your fingers with your arm bent at a 90-degree angle) or a farmer’s walk (grab two dumbbells and hold them down at your sides, squeezing the grip and walking back and forth across the room) can sometimes be just what you need to get the sort of grip you need to balance out the rest of your muscles.
There’s also wrist curls and reverse wrist curls.
For more great tips and advice on strength training simply contact us today!
Is Your Training Plan Smart?
So you have finally started working out (again). Perhaps you’ve been exercising for awhile now, but there is something that isn’t quite right about your routine. It may be that you haven’t lost much weight, haven’t built much muscle, or after every workout you feel extremely sore and are developing pains that persist beyond normal soreness. If either of the previous statements sounds like you, then you may have an unbalanced (dumb) fitness plan.
There are correct ways and incorrect ways to design a workout and to perform each exercise. To get the most results out of your exercise routine and to prevent extreme soreness or injury, then you need a smart exercise plan. The expression “No Pain No Gain” is indeed true. However we are referring to normal muscle fatigue and soreness. Not injury or paralyzing soreness. Now if you can’t differentiate between the two, that means your pain tolerance is too low and you won’t get anywhere without a significant adjustment to your mindset.
Of course, you will feel sore if you have never picked up a weight before or haven’t for a while. Soreness is natural and you should still be able to move and train even with some soreness. After a couple of days or so, your body should be able to eliminate the lactic acid and the soreness should cease. If you do end up feeling joint or tendon pain, or extreme pain that is unfamiliar, it would be a good idea to consult with your doctor. Note that is normal to be sore for a week or more following a long layoff or for beginners.
A smart training plan will allow adequate time for joints and connective tissues to adjust to the loads. We work with our clients on teaching them on the mechanics of correct weight lifting. This is important to tach you to use the target muscles to perform the lifts and not the joints. Bad form will eventually lead to injuries and those will certainly slow down or stop your progress. To help you develop better balance and muscle coordination, we perform many exercises in a standing position.
Work with a Pro
The most efficient use of your time and energy would be to consult with a personal trainer (me). We will figure out out exactly what kind of plan your body needs to get where you want it to be.
Call or email today to get started on an smart exercise program that will get you the results you have been striving for.