The 4 Horsemen will usher in a new age of fitness. The traditional versions of Conquest, War, Famine and Death are represented in our focus on Goals, Competition, Nutrition and Metabolic-conditioning. We firmly believe that strength, power and fitness are best achieved by utilizing CrossFit methods and the 4 Horsemen of Lifts: Squats, Presses, Deadlifts and O-lifts.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Four!!! Part B - Deadlift

The Deadlift is a monster of a lift, a true monster! Due to the mechanics of this lift insane amounts of weight (like 1000 lbs of crazy) can be lifted and therefore an insane amount of strength can be gained. If your training program does not have the deadlift then you need another training program. Like most lifts the deadlift has many variations such as the romanian, straight-leg, round-back and sumo deadlifts but there are a few commonalities. First the bar should be under the scapula (shoulder blade), you might as well start with it there because that is where gravity will take it. This usually means that the bar starts over the mid foot as the mid foot is the point where your balance should always be. Second, with the exception of the round-back version (full flexion-Like when those strongmen pick up an Atlas stone) the back will always be in extension to give the spine that ideal "S" curve with which it is the strongest support and has the best mechanical advantage. People will usually hurt themselves when their spinal erectors are not strong enough to hold that "S" curve and they end up in a state between full extension or full flexion and will either pull a muscle in their back or slip a disk. You are definitely near your max once your back starts to round. Generally, with little exception the bar should be pulled right up the shins over the knees and across the thigh and back down in the reverse order. Keep your lats tight so that the bar is touching those shins. Some people (especially Quad dominant ones like myself) can lift more with the Sumo-deadlift due to the fact it keeps the back in a more vertical position but the regular version is best for strength training - it's a back excercise so treat it like one. Treat the straight-leg and romanian versions as assistance excercises (too only be done once and a while). The Deadlift uses most of the same muscle groups as the squat but in slightly different ways in that the squat is mainly a leg excercise and the deadlift a back excercise. The deadlift will help strengthen the big muscles (legs, back, hips) for other strength and power excercises which if combined with say cleans will damatically increase your vertical jump or 40 yard dash time. So remember whether you are picking up a bag of groceries or a 300 pound fold-out sofa the deadlift will help you out and strengthen your back in ways you could never imagine.

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