Everyone NEEDS to Deadlift

Everyone NEEDS to Deadlift

written by: Tony Gentilcore

by: Tony Gentilcore
Barbell-deadlifts Barbell-deadlifts

Fair warning: parts are a bit "heavy" with technical terms and verbiage, but there are still plenty of insights and suggestions (and videos!) that are applicable to everyone reading, because......

Everyone NEEDS to Deadlift

There are a few absolutes in this world. Some of those absolutes are:

Gravity The Earth is round Humans need oxygen to survive. The Human Body needs food and water to survive.

And I'm sure I am forgetting some others.

Another absolute I could add to that list is that...Everyone NEEDS to Deadlift!

Now, that I've got your attention, finish reading this article before you decide to send your hate e-mail or hate mail if you are still living in the dark ages.

Let me clarify my point: Everyone needs to do some form of hip hinging in order to maintain good back and lower extremity health.

The movement of hip hinging is a vital component of everyday life.

Whether you want to lift up your kids without blowing out your back or you are trying to deadlift your car for reps, being able to hip hinge properly is an integral component to reducing injury risk as well as attaining a high level of performance. Hip Hinging is the ability of a person to maintain a neutral aligned spine while predominately loading the hips and having the primary movement come from the hips in an anterior to posterior direction.

What is "Hip Hinging?"

Hip Hinging is the ability of a person to maintain a neutral aligned spine while predominately loading the hips and having the primary movement come from the hips in an anterior to posterior direction.

What movements use hip hinging?

The hip hinging move is used for a multitude of movements. It can be used in the:

  • Deadlift
  • Good Mornings
  • Variations of the Glute Ham Raise
  • Certain Athletic Endeavors
  • For activities throughout your day, it could include: The list is endless. Being able to properly move through this movement pattern, whether it be for performance or daily life, is a NECESSITY!
  • Properly picking up your kids.
  • Lifting a heavy box from the floor to a different location.
  • Picking a pencil up off the floor.

How do I know if I can hip hinge?

Place a broom, golf club, dowel, etc. on your back as shown in the video. Place one hand on the top portion at your head and the other hand at your sacrum (tail bone). Make sure to keep the three contact points between your head, thoracic spine (mid back), and sacrum.

Next, while maintaining "soft knees", attempt to push your butt back like you are trying to tap the wall with it.

As you are doing this, you are going to need to counteract falling backwards by leaning your upper body/trunk anteriorly (forward). Time and time again, I will see people attempt to do this movement with just pushing their hips backwards and then in turn, fall backwards or lose their balance.

Your hips should always be more superior than your knees. If your hips are in line with your knees in the transverse plane, then you are squatting, not hip hinging.I can equate it going to an upscale club or lounge.

You walk up to the club and there is a line. It is up to the "bouncer" aka the strength coach/physical therapist in this example, to let you past the velvet rope and into Club Hip Hinging.

Once your in the club, there is a VIP section.

In this example, that VIP section is the Deadlifting VIP. If you aren't on "the list," then you aren't making it into the "VIP" section.

For the physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches, performance coaches, etc. who want to know if someone can perform hip hinging and/or deadlift variations, then screen your clients and patients.

***Disclaimer*** If you are NOT a physical therapist, you need ask your client if you may put your hands on them to screen them. Also, if someone has pain with any of these screens/assessments, structure your programming appropriately and refer out to a PT, sports chiropractor, etc.

Tell them you want to screen them so you can adjust their programming so it is customized for them.

99.9% of people won't have a problem with this, but you need to look out for yourself and make sure your clients are fine with this.

First piece of information I would like to know is, what does their hip flexion motion look like.

Place your client on the ground and passively/gently move their hip through their available range of motion (ROM).

Then, we want to check and see if they have the passive straight leg raise (PSLR) mobility. Gently raise their leg until you feel some resistance.

Per the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), we would like to see 80 degrees of the PSLR. If the client doesn't have 80 degrees, all is not lost. We have to modify their training regimen. We will get to that later in this post.

Next, if the client has 80 degrees of PSLR, we want to see if they can stabilize in that ROM. Ask them to actively raise their leg, keeping the knee straight up in the air without letting the opposite leg come up off the ground/table. We like to see 70 degrees of active straight leg raise (ASLR).

If they have 70 degrees of ASLR, then we can progress further in our assessment/screening. If they do NOT have 70 degrees, have the client place their hands on the ground. Then press into the ground with their hands and try again.

If their ASLR improves, then they have either a:

  • Core Stability Issue
  • Anterior Pelvic Tilt

What the pressing down into the ground/table does is activates the anterior core musculature and in turn, places the trunk in a more neutral position.

Since the hamstrings attach on the pelvis, if the pelvis is in an anterior pelvic tilt, this can cause the SLR to appear limited because it is starting in a stretched position.

Key Points:

  • Step up to bar. Push hips backwards and grasp bar.
  • Same points as mentioned above.
  • Can use pronated grip (palms facing you) OR mixed grip (one palm facing you, one facing away from you).

Once someone can demonstrate proper form with these movements, then you can start by progressing towards the floor.

If someone's goal is to deadlift from the floor and they can do it with proper form and pain-free, then we're on our way to hitting that goal.

If someone's goal is to be able to pick-up their kids or move and feel better, then the exercise variations mentioned above are great ways to help with that.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.