When you suggest deadlifts as an exercise for a patient often the reply you receive is “aren’t those bad for your back”, “I hurt my back doing those once, so I don’t do them”, or “I have been told those are dangerous”. It is amazing how one exercise can have so many negative connotations surrounding it. This blog with look to clear some of the negativity surrounding deadlifts and educate on its benefits.
Yes, this myth does how some truth, a deadlift has risk of an injury, but I would say no more than a squat or bending to pick up a child or many other activities of daily living. Research has shown that resistance training (including deadlifts) has no negative effects on disc health. In fact, done correctly a deadlift can increase back strength and reduce injury risk.
Like any new exercise or activity, you don’t go straight to the hardest setting or heaviest weight, you start slow and gradually build your way up to ensure it is safe. This same principle applies to doing a deadlift. Having input for a coach, trainer or physiotherapist can help with your technique to ensure your loading the correct muscles.
This is another myth patients often bring up when discussing deadlifts. They don’t go to the gym or do any lifting therefore they are not experienced enough to do deadlifts. Everyone must start somewhere regardless of if they are a gym goer or not.
Regardless of age, sex, experience, or fitness level, deadlifts are for you. There are no restrictions on who is allowed to do a deadlift. Everyone might not be looking to lift over 100kg, but you can exercise at a lower weight and still get excellent benefits.
Have you ever injured yourself playing with your kids, strained your back in the garden or been in a car accident? Did you never drive, garden, or play with your children every again? I am assuming the answer to that question is no. Just because we get injured does not mean when should never do it again. Starting back a lower weight, reviewing technique, and easing into it is a great way to return to an activity that may have injured us in the past.
Deadlifts are a compound exercise, meaning they involve moving multiple joints in coordination. This means that you are working multiple muscle groups at the same time. Muscle groups include, hamstrings, glutes, erector spine, and core to name a few. These are all muscles used in our daily lift for normal activities like getting out of a chair, climbing stairs or lifting a basket of washing.
Deadlifts can appear scary and intimidating to someone with no experience, especially with all the false negative connotations that surround the exercises. Many of these claims are unfounded, deadlifts are safe, and the benefits far outweigh the risks when performed properly. So next time you are thinking about getting strong or improving your health give a deadlift a go.