“If you can’t, then you must.”
Being stiff and immobile.
Dear Past (Pain-Full) Self,
Don’t blame the movement, blame yourself!
I understand that some movement patterns are just not as easy to get in without feeling some pain, so you blame the movement and avoid doing them. The deadlift is the most avoided exercise in the gym because they think it will give them back pain. Any movement can give you back pain if it’s done wrong. It’s not the exercise that’s bad it’s your form that’s bad. Plus, here’s the thing…
No matter what you deadlift every single day!
Think about it. Everyday we BEND to pick things up, we SQUAT into chairs, we PULL doors open, we PUSH doors to leave, we LUNGE up stairs, and we twist to put our kids on our hips. These are the 5 FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENTS that humans do (bend, squat, push, pull, lunge, twist). We do them no matter what! So, we might as well learn how to do them PROPERLY or else we get…PAIN…not pleasure (unless you’re squatting to take a nice dump, (that feels good no matter what, heeheehee).
Paul Chek calls these functional movements “Primal Patterns” for a reason, because…
…even as cavemen we did these movements in nature as upright beings. The difference now is the advent of the chair. This great invention is not so great on our bodies. It’s an unnatural position that we tend to stay in for much longer than we should. So, if we spend too long sitting we get stiff and this results in an unsuccessful attempt to do a very valuable lift like the deadlift.
The problem with avoiding it is worst than you might think.
What ends up happening is we avoid the exercise and then our backs get weaker and our fronts get stronger so our posture suffers and we practice faulty movement patterns, resulting in…you guessed it…PAIN!
If we can’t get into those positions/movements then guess what?
WE MUST! It means that we are the ones that are messed up not the movement itself, because we do them no matter what.
So, what’s the solution?
Stretch & mobilize your hips and shoulders to get into the positions you’re attempting. When it comes to the deadlift specifically you just need a few stretches to do more often that will grant you the room to get into a low bend without rounding your back.
Those stretches are:
-Couch stretch (to activate and turn your butt back on from all that sitting)
-Hamstring stretch (from the couch stretch position….ease into this it can feel pretty gnarly)
-Pigeon stretch (to loosen your hips which will allow more external rotation)
Keys to remember when doing these:
-Be sure to hold for 2 minutes each leg
-Ease into the stretches slowly
-Squeeze your butt for the first two for only a few seconds at a time until it’s not as intense.
-Breathe deeply in through the nose or else you won’t relax and get as good a stretch
-During the couch stretch make sure not to hyperextend. The best way to prevent this is tighten your abs and ensure that your knee pelvis and rib cage are all in a straight line.
The three stretches I listed above
Your Future (Pain-Free) self