Deadlifts and Backbends

Happy post-Thanksgiving!

Hope everyone ate plenty and slept well 🙂

The past few years I have dragged my cousins out of bed early to run a turkey trot of our own. This year, more cousins joined us, we made shirts, and I woke up early to spray paint mile markers while strangers walked by and commented on how I was ruining the environment (it rained later that day and most of the paint is already gone, so don’t worry). Fifteen of us set our own personal timers and walked or ran. So much fun!

In other news, I’ve implemented deadlifting into my routine and I’ve noticed and improvement in my backbends!

First let me start off with how my lower back has been. I used to sleep on my stomach and I would wake up every morning with a tight lower back. It wasn’t terrible, just tight. Sometimes I would feel it more when I had run farther the day before. A few months ago I trained myself to sleep on my back, by talking to myself before falling asleep. Yes, I really spoke out loud to myself before falling asleep in the dark in my bed. I picked the mantra “Sleeping on your stomach is bad for your back, sleeping on your back is good for your posture”. I said this 10 times right before I fell asleep for two weeks. Crazy as it sounds, it totally worked!

Even with my acute back pain, I have a very flexible lower back. My full bridge pose is comfortable, and I am beyond camel pose to thunderbolt pose.

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Little Thunderbolt Pose.jpg

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Enter the deadlift.

Deadlifting is a strength training exercise for hamstrings in a quad dominant world. Many people are quad dominant for a number of reasons: posture during lower leg workouts is a big one. First off, make sure you are focusing on your hamstrings in lower leg exercises that call for a recruitment of both sides of the thigh- squats, lunges, etc. Once you feel confident in that awareness, try the deadlift!

Deadlift rules:

  1. Go light to start– yes, you read that right. I’m not saying start with a 10lb flat bar, I mean start with either just the 45lb barbell with maybe 5-10lbs on top. This is for your form. If you start at a heavier weight, you may tweak your back while trying to finish the last few reps. Try a lighter weight so that you can keep the hamstring awareness and also focus on the next few points.
  2. Do a Kegel– yup, that’s right too. This is much easier for women to do. How to do one? (man or woman) next time you need to pee, start and stop your stream before finishing. This helps engage the pelvic floor. Work on this tightening and releasing while maintaining a relatively normal breathing pattern.
  3. This exercise is the reason why they tell you to lift objects with your legs. If you try to hinge at your hips, you will hurt your back.
  4. Roll your shoulders at the top to not only show off your proud chest, but to help maintain a good posture at the top of the lift.
  5. Inhale lift, exhale lower.

The set up:

Approach the bar and stand so your feet are pointing 45 degrees out and the laces are under the bar. Your feet should be hip width distance apart. Squat down until your arms can grab the bar, flipping one hand for an overhand grip and one for an underhand grip. Remember that this is a leg lifting exercise, do not hinge from your back or you’ll really feel it the next day! Keeping your arms strait, rise all the way up and roll your shoulders back. Pause. Lower. Repeat

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Currently, I am on 3 sets of 12 reps with 70lbs. It’s not a lot, but I did practice with the bar before I added weight just to make sure my posture was correct. The results I’ve noticed in one month is the stability I have in backbends and in my posture in general. I can use other parts of my body so I don’t compress my spine when I’m doing any sort of back yoga posture (locust, bow, frog, etc.)

Have a nice Sunday!

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