Taking a break from the Olympic lifts, we set about this Sunday to remind ourselves about proper set-up and initiation of the deadlift, two extremely important points coming on the heels of “postural control” workout from two weeks ago featuring 5 sets of up-to-12 deadlifts (“P.C.“). However, before we could get to the working portion of class, we needed to get warmed-up.
Yes, the warm-up was slightly longer than usual, including 2 – yes, two – full length inch worms. However, the intended effects were clear, as class put on an absolute clinic in terms of form and technique during the deadlifts.
Sunday’s deadlifts were styled as “singles,” in that each after completing each rep, an athlete was to release their grip on the bar (with or without coming back to standing), then re-set their grip and posture and perform the next rep. We’ve had a lot of success in the past working deadlifts in this manner, and it’s clearly related to the fact that the multiple single-reps mean people are really having to concentrate on their set-up. A good solid set-up really dictates how the rest of the lift will go, and the improvement in a lot of people’s form yesterday served to drive this point home. Check out the following set-up reminder list from a past post:
A few quick reminders on set-up:
Distance – Step up to the bar to set-up with your shins only an inch or two away (when you look down at the bar, it should intersect your mid-foot). This shortens the weight or lifting lever-arm – i.e., the distance between your mid-line (your body’s center of gravity) and the weight’s center of gravity, which makes for optimal lifting.
Feet – feet should be approximately shoulder width apart, HOWEVER, this is somewhat of a personal factor, as different body-types, builds, levels of flexibility, etc. will dictate exactly where and how the feet are placed – not everyone is the same, but the variation should be by small degrees.
Inhale – After you get set and grab the bar, but before you initiate the lift, take a big breath in to really increase your intra-abdominal pressure.
Abs – Along with a big inhalation, really press flex and force out your abs, which will ensure your midsection is secure and strong, helping to keep the low back static when you initiate your lift (as opposed to rounding). Wearing a belt will help this, as you can actually push your abs out against the belt; however, you can also imitate this feeling without a belt by pressing your abs into your thighs when you set-up on the bar.
Squeeze – We’ve all heard this, especially from Tom, but the basic gist is to avoid jerking/heaving the weight off the floor. Instead, pull tight against the bar and then push your feet into the floor, “squeezing” the weight off the floor.
Contact – Keep the bar in contact with your body, allowing it to travel up your shins, over your knees, and then up your thighs (again, the goal is maximizing your leverage (refer to the note above about Distance).
Lockout – Squeeze the glutes to bring the hips under the torso and achieve lockout, rather than hyperextending your lower back (leaning backwards).
Many thanks to Diesel Crew for the Deadlift form-check template used above. I would also recommend checking out Jim Smith’s (also of the Diesel Crew) article entitled “How to Set-Up on the Deadlift,” if for nothing more than the cat-shitting-reference that kicks things off.
Once the bars were broken down and all the weights put away, class turned to the day’s finisher, a mix of ring dips, BSS, and Mummy Crawls. Ring Dips were scaled to negatives, with no more than 4 per round, and the negatives further scaled to ring supports – jumping up to the extended position and holding – for between 3 to 5 seconds.
The first set of BSS were un-weighted, allowing everyone to focus on form and incorporating a slight pause at the bottom. Remaining sets could be done with weight added as per people’s preference, holding 1 DB in both hands at the chest (think “goblet squat”) or 2 DBs at the side.
For those of you looking to practice stability on the rings, what could better than a SHAKE WEIGHT!! And if you act fast, you can get gender-appropriate shake weight ON SALE, courtesy of Google Offers:
You can thank us on Tuesday.