Deadlifts build strength and improve performance. A strong posterior chain (muscles on the backside of your body) leads to better movement quality, improved posture, and reduces your risk of injury. The two most common variations are the conventional deadlift and the sumo deadlift – there are a few key differences between the two.
This variation is performed with your feet hip width apart (or narrower) and your hands on the outside of your legs. Because your shins remain vertical with only a slight bend in your knee, youre required to drop your torso further towards the ground. This will place a higher demand on your hamstrings and lower back.
This variation is performed with your feet outside hip width and your hands inside your legs. You will have a greater bend in your knee which will cause your torso to remain more vertical. This also allows you to recruit your glutes and quads, reducing low back involvement.
Which one is better?
Its all about preference – both variations are great. Everyone is built differently which may make one variation feel better. The basic principles remain the same between both variations and they both deliver great benefits.
Improving core strength and stability leads to better movement. Stabilizing your spine properly will reduce your risk of injury. The name of the game for these variations is tension. To strengthen these postural muscles we have to challenge them in a good position – think quality over quantity. These exercises will carry over to everything you do.
Keep your low back in contact with the ground throughout the entire movement. Your hips and shoulders should move independently from your spine. Bracing your core prevents your lower back from rising (off the floor) and makes the exercise more effective. Maintain full body tension from start to finish.
Carrying variations are simple and very effective. Loading one side during the suitcase carry challenges your ability to stay upright and prevent lateral flexion (tipping down towards the kettlebell). Keep a slight bend in the carrying arm and pull your shoulder back and down (bonus shoulder stability). During the carry, maintain a neutral spine and avoid any rotation.
High plank push away:
An effective high plank position shouldn’t be easy. Brace your core, squeeze your butt, and press the ground away with your hands. As one hand slides forward stay locked in a good position – avoid rotating or twisting. Your ribcage and pelvis should always face one another. If youre extended through your lower back, your pelvis tips away from your ribcage -creating instability. Stay inline, especially during the movement.
Why I’m Always Barefoot
Our feet are in shoes constantly and it impacts how our feet function. The muscles of our feet and lower leg weaken, our ankle joint loses range of motion, and our contact awareness is decreased.
The muscles of our feet and lower legs provide support and stability during movement. When we wear shoes, these muscles are turned off. Walking barefoot strengthens these muscles and improves foot function.
Range of motion
Most shoes have a raised heel. Spending hours in this raised heel position decreases our ankle range of motion. Stiff ankles effect the way we walk, run, squat, etc. Being barefoot allows your joints to move through its natural range of motion.
Shoes allow us to get away with poor striking mechanics (the way our foot contacts the ground). Imagine having gloves on your hands all day, it would be difficult to feel what you’re touching. Shoes take away feed back we should receive while walking and running. If you were to heel strike while running barefoot, you would experience tremendous pain. Being barefoot improves your awareness between your feet and the ground.
Making an effort to increase your time barefoot will help your entire body function better. You have the equipment to support your own foot and ankle – you don’t need a shoe to do it for you.
What does EMOM mean?
The acronym “EMOM” stands for Every Minute on the Minute. This means you will perform a specified amount of work each minute.
Push up x 5
Here you would complete 5 push ups at the top of each minute. Start your timer and perform 5 push ups. Lets say this took 15 seconds, you would then rest 45 seconds until the timer got to 1 minute. Then repeat the cycle at minute 2, 3, and so on.
How many minutes do I work?
The EMOM acronym will be followed by a number (EMOM6) which signifies how many minutes you will complete your work. In this example, you would complete 6 rounds (or 6 minutes).
This format is used in a variety of contexts and is a great way to shake up your training. It presents an opportunity to practice technique and repetition, while increasing metabolic activity – similar to interval training.
Is sitting to blame?
Sitting has become a popular topic of discussion. It affects your body over time. Muscles get tight and joints lose range of motion. These changes generally result in pain and affect your ability to move normally. Sitting has been blamed for causing health issues (heart disease, obesity, etc.) that are continuously on the rise.
What happens if someone stood all day instead? Would all these negative affects disappear? Maybe some. But not all of them. The problem isn’t necessarily sitting or standing too much – it comes from lack of movement. If we aren’t exposed to movement, our bodies lose the ability to do so. Our bodies were built for movement.
If youre sitting down reading this, I challenge you to get up and walk around for a bit! We need to find balance – move around when you can. It takes awareness and effort, but I promise you its well worth it.
The single leg deadlift can be difficult to perform because it requires a great deal of balance and stability. Here are a few tips to improve its effectiveness:
Pick a spot on the floor (about 10 feet in front of you) and lock your eyes on it -avoid glancing down at your feet. Looking in front of you will keep your head and neck in a better position which may improve stability.
Take your shoes off. Many athletic shoes have a big, squishy heel that will only add to your frustration. With out shoes you will be better connected to the ground and create a more stable foot.
Create tension. Screw your foot into the ground. Brace your core to maintain a neutral spine as you hinge over. Keep your back leg straight and in line with your upper body. If you are holding a weight, squeeze the handle and engage your back muscles. Finally, keep your hips square to the ground; dont let them twist open as you hinge over.
Slow down. Lock everything in and slowly lower yourself in a controlled manor. Whipping yourself down will create more instability.
The Sldl requires practice and patience. First, try performing it with support (a wall, pvc pipe, etc.). Once you feel comfortable with the technique, go ahead and practice on your own. The benefits you experience from an sldl are worth the time and effort.