Mike Carville: The dead lift and other scary things that go bump in the night
Do you remember when you were supposed to be asleep as a child, and you heard the house creaking or some other spooky sound? You were sure that noise was a monster hiding in the closet or under the bed. Then your mom or dad would come into your room, turn on the light and open the closet door, and poof – nothing scary.
Well, I am reminded of that same sense of “irrational fear” every time I conduct a Functional Training session at South Yuba Club. That’s because about a third of the way through the session, I teach the dead lift. When I mention that word, members’ eyes narrow, noses wrinkle and smiles turn to frowns.
Truth be told, the dead lift is one of the most basic and beneficial strength training movements and almost everyone should be doing as part of their strength training routine. And by the way, that includes older individuals. Let’s say you’re 70 years old, and plan to go on vacation for a week. I must then ask, how heavy is your suitcase? Forty pounds? Fifty? If you are visiting the grand kids, how many times do you pick them up over the course of the weekend? You get my drift.
Hip extension, which essentially means the hip is going from a flexed position to an extended position, such as going from a sitting position to a standing position, is the basis of almost all athletic movement. Think about that for a second. Does hip extension drive walking or running? Yes it does. How about a striking movement or a swing? Yep. Jumping, kicking or peddling a bike? Check.
As the hips extend, that energy is transferred through the core to the legs and arms to produce strength and movement whether you are swinging a baseball bat, picking up a flower pot or chasing down a 5-year-old child.
The dead lift is so beneficial because it trains hip extension and core strength at the same time by integrating both movements. The dead lift is also a safe way to lift heavy weight. Heavier lifting produces so many benefits ranging from improved strength, bone density, hormone levels, metabolism, function, mobility, stability and durability.
In fact, if you run or ride a bicycle more than a couple of times per year then you must do dead lifts. Not only for improved performance but even more importantly – durability. Remember, fitness isn’t a predictor of durability – movement is. But more on that next time.
To learn more about the dead lift and how to perform the lift safely, go to http://www.union.com and click on the video link contained in the online version of this article.
Mike Carville is a certified personal trainer and co-owner of South Yuba Club in Nevada City and Monster Gym in Grass Valley. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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