by Spotter Up

On our Spotter Up site we’ll explain some basic Olympic Lifting techniques and you’ll get to see pictures and videos of our friends performing. But we are not going to explain a lot of the Crossfit or Bodybuilding exercises here because there is a tremendous amount of great information out there already. What we want to do is simply introduce some of our readers to these types of lifts if they stumble upon it by perusing Spotter Up. We will also attempt to break each exercise down into basic movements so they can be digested simply. Our goal is to cover the most important lifts that use compound movements for you to build up your warfighter physique! If you want to give them a try or if you have been doing them already, then as you were!

For a few decades the Deadlift used to be one of the most underrated exercises of all time-but with the advent of Crossfit it came back strongly. Deadlifts used to be be performed by a certain core group of people: Olympic lifters, bodybuilders, football players and strongmen but it has come back into the fore and for good reason. The Deadlift is one of the best exercises to do for gaining size and becoming stronger because it works so much of your body. The deadlift is a compound exercise that targets, your hamstrings, quads, glutes, lower back, traps and forearms. You will strengthen your waist, ankle and shoulder girdles and feel like a beast.

Prepare the Barbell
The first thing you want to do is get your bar ready. Find a testable amount of weight that won’t kill you the first time you lift it. If you have never done a deadlift before, it’s best to begin with a conservative amount of weight on the bar. Perfect your form first before testing your physical limits. The general rule of thumb is to go up in 5 lb increments of weight.

The Stance
Step up to the bar and put your feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider than hip width. Your toes should be under the bar, or with the bar over your mid-foot, while the bar is about two inches from your shins.  Point your toes forward or point them slightly outward. Your stance will depend on your mobility restrictions and the length of your limbs. Everyone is built differently and this will require you to find a stance that is comfortable for you.

The Squat
Bend at your knees and flatten your back as much as possible. Bend at your hips rather than at your waist. Do not round your back. -In the illustration below the lifter on the left has a flat back and is using his core. His stomach is engaged (flexed a bit), his arms are straight/vertical and this means his shoulders are slightly forward of the bar. The lifter on the right is all goofed up. His back is rounded and this could cause an injury, his stomach is pressed against his thighs and is too compressed to use, and his arms are at an angle. Because his arms are not straight, his shoulders will be too far forward of the bar, and therefore his back is rounded and his hips are too high.-

Grasp the Bar
Space your hands slightly more than shoulder width apart. Your arms will be straight. The deadlift is performed with an over-grip (thumb over fingers). You can use a hook grip if you prefer (thumb around the bar, fingers around the thumb) but it is uncomfortable at first and takes some getting used to. Another type of grip is the alternate grip (one palm facing up, one palm facing down). We recommend the over-grip to begin with and then to progress to the hook grip once you understand how to perform the deadlift properly.

Lower your hips
Your hips should be higher than your knees but lower than your shoulders.

Back and Shoulders
Your shoulder blades should be over the bar. With your flattened back look straight ahead rather than looking down at the ground or the bar. Don’t round your back. Rounding your back causes you to look downward.

Stand Up

Before you stand up grip the bar and squeeze it hard. A tight grip creates tension in your body and engages your lat muscles to assist. You will be more stable this way with the lift as you begin it.

Stand up by rising and simultaneously using your hips and shoulders at the same rate while maintaining a flat back. Keep your chest out. Rise in slow motion. Keep your abs tight during the entire lift. Keep the bar close to your body. The bar will graze your shins and should stay in line with your legs as you rise. Your feet need to remain flat on the floor because you want to drive into the floor with force and this requires a stable base. Once you get to the mid point of the lift, push your hips out a bit; once you get the the top of the movement hold the bar for 2 seconds.

Lower the Bar
Keep your back straight, return the bar to the ground in a controlled manner. You should maintain control of the weight and slide your hips back to engage the glutes, hamstrings and spinal erectors. Keep the weight close to your body and slide the weight down your thighs. Once you get the weight past your knees you can squat down and place the weight on the ground. Do not throw the weight to the floor or let it slam onto the floor unless you have bumper plates and know how to dodge a bouncing bar and weight.

Here’s my buddy Herb Watson in the video. He’s currently a K-9 police officer and has honorably served the U.S. Army as a combat engineer with the Virginia National Guard 276th Engineer Battalion 237th Engineer Company. Herb also played college football as a wide receiver at a division II school for all 4 years.

In this video Herb just dead-lifted 509 lbs, at 5’9″ 185 lbs. Herb’s box is Crossfit Forward in Frederiksburg, VA.

Hope you like this one and we’ll see you soon! Thanks Herb!

509 Deadlift

By Michael Kurcina

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for an agency within the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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