When speaking to my patient’s about exercise and what they have been focusing on whether it be in the gym, outdoors or at home there always seems to be a common topic. I have heard over and over that “I avoid deadlifting because I’ve had a bad back in the past” or “I don’t do movements like that because I have had back pain”. There’s a common understanding that by doing this movement or forms of this movement the individual will reaggravate the pain or re-injure their back. Sure, this could be the case if you are performing the movement incorrectly but when done correctly, it can strengthen our core, back and entire body.

The deadlift is one of the first fundamental movements we need to learn not only from a sporting background but for everyday life. Saying “I can’t train the deadlift” is like saying I’m never bending over again to pick up my child or tie my shoes, which is unavoidable. The only way to improve that “bad back” is to fix the movement pattern and strengthen it.

Practicing the deadlift doesn’t have to be in a gym. Just imagine the bar is the object at hand you are trying to lift. However, you may need some one-on one coaching initially to help you out. It can be practiced at home or outdoors if we apply some basic rules:

Fundamentals of the deadlift:

  • Bar position & path: The bar should be in line with mid foot and should be as vertical as possible. The shins should “kiss” the bar
  • Foot position:
    1. Conventional:  Approximately shoulder width inside of your grip
    2. Sumo:
      1. Foot outside of grip
      2. Legs have externally rotated out
    3. Shoulder slightly in front of bar : Arm and back should make close to 90-degree angle
    4. Squeeze shoulder blades down and in
    5. Tuck chin in or “stack the neck”
    6. Chest out and up!
    7. Pelvis, low back and mid back should be inline
    8. Deep breath before lift and brace
    9. Drive feet through the floor

The deadlift is not only essential to train to improve sporting performance but you’re day to day living as well. Areas of the body the deadlift will strengthen include:

  1. Quadriceps, hamstrings.
  2. Gluteal.
  3. Back & core.
  4. Upper body and grip strength.

For further information on correct deadlift technique please give our office a call on 02 9905 9099 or email braeden@neurohealthchiro.com.au


By Dr Braeden Melmer – Neurohealth