Getting Back Into Lifting – The Deadlift

The barbell deadlift is among the best ways to build endurance and strength in the low back and posterior chain. Unfortunately, you’ve probably heard of several people getting injured during this lift. Almost always, there’s a failure in maintaining proper form. If you’re new to deadlifting, or noticing a lot of pain and pressure in your back after deadlifting, make sure to get a qualified coach to watch your form to make sure you’re maintaining proper mechanics in your spine and hips.

It’s normal to feel unsure about lifting after a bout of back pain, but I can assure you that deadlifting is one of the best exercises to maintaining a resilient back. If you’ve hurt yourself deadlifting before and are a little wary, there are other exercises that can help you with the transition back into deadlifting.

Grooming the hip hinge

Make sure to shift your weight into your hips and drive them backwards. Step away from the wall to make it more difficult. The most important part of this is maintaining a rigid torso. If you’re bending in your low back, you aren’t performing this correctly.

Performing the deadlift with a kettlebell

The kettlebell is useful to start learning, or re-learning, how to deadlift. Without worrying about getting the bar around your knees, you can focus on safe back positioning and moving through the hips. If you’re having trouble with keeping your back in neutral at the bottom of your deadlift, then try a Romanian deadlift variation with the kettlebell. Think of starting the rep in the top position of the KB deadlift. Now start the rep by moving your hips back and maintaining a rigid torso. The bottom of the rep will be when you FEEL as much tension in your hamstrings as you want to tolerate, NOT when the KB touches the floor. Return to the starting/top position once you get to the maximal amount of tension.

Deadlifting from a rack or blocks

If you’re goal is to get back into deadlifting with a barbell, this is a great exercise to perform. If you’re lacking mobility to get into the proper start position while maintaining a safe back position, the blocks or rack will help you with that. Progress by lowering the rack or choosing lower boxes once you can perform the lift with good technique. An additional benefit is that you’ll be able to lift more weight with good form than if you were pulling off the floor. This can have the psychological advantage of making your back feel robust and strong because you’re putting it in a position to be the most successful.

Give these exercises a try and let us know what you think!

  • Andrew S.6/14/2019

    I’ve had a great experience with my treatment at Functional Performance. The whole staff is very nice and professional. The type of treatments that are prescribed are not from your typical chiropractor. They are very well versed in modern approaches to full body fitness and can combine strength training and mobility work to make you move better all around. I definitely recommend using their services.

  • Emily S.6/14/2019

    I love Function Performance!!! Everyone there is amazing!!! I truly can't say enough good things! I have been seeing Dr. Ben and Tim for a few years. I have seen Dr. Kyle a few times as well. They have helped with past injuries, helped me through injuries due to a car accident, and help me cope with my all the side effects of repetitive motion from my job. Dr. Ben is the first chiropractor to suggest a maintenance plan to me and I'm so happy with the results that I tell everyone I can about how amazing these people are. They make you feel welcome as soon as you walk in (Melissa is THE BEST!) and they are professional, personable ROCK STARS! Thank you!!!

  • Chris M.1/07/2021

    I've had chronic back pain for most of my adult life. I've seen Ben for nearly 8 years now and am always happy with the treatment I receive. He takes the time to listen to what's going on and not only treats the problem but addresses the root cause of the problem for a more sustainable result. Love the new space in the heart of Oregon City. Easy access, open, and plenty of room for rehab exercises.

  • Oregon F.1/15/2020

    My first trip to see Function Performance Sport Chiropractic was prompted by some neck/back issues I was having. I was scheduled to lead a course training a special forces team on breath holding and so needed to be on top of my game. I was amazed how good I felt leaving the first appointment and was able to sneak in a second before my flight. Excited to make them a regular part of my own training and well being. Just visited them yesterday in preparation for my course this weekend in Hawaii. Great staff and great atmosphere.

  • Richard D.7/02/2019

    Dr. Ben Hokenson has been extremely helpful in working with me to regain the fitness that I need to enjoy the hiking, whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, and canoeing that I love. I've had significant scoliosis for awhile, and over the years my engagement with sports, quarter-acre organic garden, and physically demanding professional work started to take a toll. I appreciate Dr. Ben's holistic and creative approach to treatment, his assertiveness with adjustments when appropriate, and his coaching and suggestions for new stretching and strength-building exercises in between sessions that complements our work together. I am now able to enjoy long hikes with my wife again, am more nimble on my feet, and feeling many fewer aches and pains. Thanks for your help Dr. Ben!

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