Overload your glutes and hams with this effective compound move!
Maintain a normal curvature of the lumbar spine throughout the execution. Flexing or bending your spine when lifting heavy weights can cause back injury.
Place a barbell on the low rungs of a squat rack or other stand. Load the bar with appropriate weight. Grasp the bar with a pronated (palms-down) grip, hands about shoulderwidth apart. Stand erect with your arms extended so the bar rests against your thighs.
Contract the muscles of your lower back to lock in the slight natural arch. Inhale slightly more than usual and hold your breath as you bend over from the hips while bending your knees.
Push your hips back and, as you bend your knees and maintain the normal curvature of the spine, incline your torso forward to about 40-45 degrees. The exact position is determined by your ability to hold the natural arch in your lower back or, if you begin to bend the spine, as you squat or bend forward.
After reaching the lowermost position, maintain spinal position and straighten your legs. As your legs approach full extension, raise your torso to the erect position. Push your hips forward as you pull your torso back and up.
Exhale forcefully as you pass the most difficult portion of the up phase and pause momentarily when you reach the erect position. Repeat for reps.
1. Extend your legs to initiate movement. As you come up out of the squat, extend your hips to raise your torso.
2. Maintain the normal curvature of the lumbar spine throughout execution. Having a rounded spine when lifting heavy weights in this exercise is a major cause of back injuries. Don't flex or extend your spine during execution.
3. For maximum spine safety and optimal hip-joint muscle development, keep your torso rigid during execution.
4. To assist in holding the spinal position, hold your breath during the down and up phases. This also generates greater strength of the muscles involved.
5. For greatest stress on the gluteus maximus and hamstrings, extend your legs fully when you pull your torso up and back. Don't stop short of the fully upright position.
6. Concentrate on pulling with your hip muscles, not your arms, when raising your torso, Also, bring your shoulders up and back to maintain effective curvature of the spine and to assist in supporting the hanging barbell.
7. Keep your lower back muscles strongly contracted on both the down and up phases of the leg flexion and extension to handle the stress placed on the spinal vertebrae and discs. It can be thousands of pounds when heavy weights are used!
The deadlift involves the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and erector spinae muscles. The gluteus maximus, a very large muscle at the back of the hip, is most powerful in the beginning of the up movement when you have 90 or fewer degrees of flexion in the hip joints. As you raise your torso and the angle increases, the hamstrings become most important. At the top of the movement, the long erector spinae muscles that run along the spine are involved in full extension of the hips and spine. The iliocostalis lumborum from this erector group is particularly involved in the final degrees of hip extension.
The hamstrings are composed of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. The biceps femoris, which has two heads, is on the outer side of the back of the thigh. The semitendinosus and semimembranosus, on the inner side of the back of the thigh, don't have near the muscle mass of the biceps femoris.
The quadriceps on the front of the thigh are involved in knee extension. The mass of the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis are located close to the knee joint on both sides and are commonly known as the teardrop muscles. Also active is the vastus intermedius, whose mass is higher up in the middle of thigh, and the rectus femoris, which runs the length of the thigh, crosses the hip joint, and has action at both the knee and hip.
In the hip joints, extension takes place in which the torso, pelvic girdle and upper body as a unit rotates up and back, The torso moves up and back while the hips move forward to assume an erect posture; the gluteus maximus, hamstrings and iliocostalis lumborum are responsible for these actions. The other erector spinae muscles of the lower back contract isometrically to stabilize the torso and maintain normal spinal curvature. Static contraction of the rhomboid and middle trapezius muscles maintains the shoulders and bar in position. The wrist (flexor carpi radialis and ulnaris) and finger flexor muscles contract isometrically to maintain a strong grip. In the knee joints, extension occurs in which the thighs move away from the shins. All of the muscles of the quadriceps play an active role.
Hip and knee extension and the muscles involved are most important in torso lifting and pulling-type actions such as when lifting weights off the floor and especially when pulling weights up from the knees or floor. This exercise is crucial in the deadlift event in powerlifting and in cleaning the bar in weightlifting. Bodybuilders use this exercise to develop and define the quadriceps, gluten, hamstrings and lower back muscles.
Hip and knee extension are vital components in various jumps and in all forms of running, especially sprinting. More specifically, these actions are needed in sports that require jumping for height such as in the high jump, basketball jump shot and rebounding, volleyball spike, and blocking in basketball and volleyball. In sprinting, hip-joint extension (known as the pawback) is a key speed-producing action that propels the body forward when the foot makes contact with the ground. When done through a full range of motion, the deadlift is also a great exercise for improving posture.
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