How to Do a Deadlift: Best Hamstring Exercise
Quick Test for Hamstring Flexibility in a Deadlift
As you can probably tell by looking at me, I'm not a bodybuilder. I love lifting to keep me in shape for my sports but I've never taken things to the next level. One thing I've noticed from going to the gym with girlfriends is deadlifts have been given a bad rap as a bodybuilder exercise. "Normal" people who workout stick to the elliptical and leg curl machine and don't venture into the area with all the big guys with bald heads. Well, I'm here to tell you that 1. the big guys with bald heads aren't that scary and 2. even your Grandma needs to be doing a deadlift.
Learning to accurately execute a hip hinge i.e. deadlift might be the single most important exercise you do to protect your lower back. It works your glutes, hamstrings, core, lats, and teaches you how to correctly pick up heavy things. Being able to pick up something heavy off the floor is life skill.
Hamstring Length Test:
Now I can go further...but it all comes from my mid and lower back! Bad, bad, bad!
See how my low back is rounding in the picture? That is what you want to avoid.
If your flexibility test was less than 90deg of bend at the hip, then you should spend more time stretching your hamstrings. Or figure out which muscle in your hip is weak and causing your hamstrings to tighten up.
Modified Dead Lift or RDL
Learning a correct hip hinge is the number one thing you can do for your back. I want you to incorporate this motion everywhere, washing your hands, writing a quick note, picking up your purse, etc. There are so many times in life where you come from your back and hunch because the task is light, but this repetitive hunching will catch up with you and eventually damage your discs!
- Stand tall, chin tucked. Head stays inline with body the entire time. Do not look up into a mirror at the bottom. That causes your neck to hyperextend and your core to relax.
- Engage your lats be by squeezing your arms in.
- Hinge at the hips shifting your weight backwards, keeping your back completely flat.
- When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings stop, anything further could come from your lower back and damage your disc. We do not want to lose that flat back position for the sake of getting closer to the ground.
- Engage your glutes to come back up and stop at an athletic position. Do not come so far up that you shove your hip forward in the socket and hyperextend your back. This is not a safe position!
Do not hyperextend the finish! This is bad (I know all you power lifters are gasping right now.) But it's bad for your hips, so don't do it. Stop at athletic! See first picture for athletic start.