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Why I think the Deadlift is a Misnomer

By admin | In Lifting | on March 19, 2013

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The Deadlift.  One of the most functional movements we do here.  On any given day, you may deadlift a small child, luggage, a fridge, or heavy boxes.  However, it’s also one of the most feared lifts when you talk to anyone who has attempted to do one without proper instruction.  I hear things like “I can’t deadlift because my back is messed up” or “Deadlifts hurt my back in high school/college.”  That makes me shed a tear or two.

I think the very way the word is structured – dead lift – sets people up to do it wrong.  99% of the time, I teach the deadlift and the first thing a person does is raise his shoulders up first.   This usually tells me he is using his back and quads to “lift” the bar.  Sadly the hammies and glutes don’t get to play when this happens.  And they really want to play.

When you set up for this lift next time, try to think of it as a PUSH.  It’s a deadpush:

  • Pretend the bar is a fixed object and won’t budge (it’s loaded with 500+ lbs…unless you’re Jon, in which case, pretend it’s 1000 lbs).
  • Set up with your usual stance and grip.
  • Take a huge breath and tighten up as if you were going to get socked in the gut.
  • Push into the ground with your heels and create as much tension in your body as you can, maintaining a flat back and tight midline.
  • Then set up on your warm up set and “deadpush” your reps.

See if by doing that, the hammies and glutes get to come out and play.  Check out this post for more common deadlift mistakes and fixes.


WOD 03.19.13

Deadlift 1×5 or Wendler

1 Power Clean @70% 1RM
Death by Ball Slam

On the first minute, perform the power clean and 1 ball slam. Second minute, 1 power clean, and 2 ball slams. Continue until you cannot complete the required number of ball slams.

WOD courtesy of CrossFit Football

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