In Defence of the Deadlift

Richard Kelly 26th August 2019

If you listen to podcasts you are probably aware of Joe Rogan.  And if you listen to Joe Rogan you probably heard strongman Robert Oberst make the claim that if he didn’t have to deadlift for his sport he would completely avoid them, because deadlifts damage the body. 

He justified this claim by making the point that professional athletes in basketball and American football don’t deadlift; they do hang cleans and snatches for power. 

When I first started going to the gym no one deadlifted.  Then again when I first started going barely anyone squatted.  The deadlift, though, was seen as a dangerous exercise.  It was viewed as a movement that would damage your back, as something that could cause disc slippage and wear.  Oberst’s opinion on the movement, then, isn’t something that is new.  And, in fact, the movement’s new found popularity is due largely to CrossFit.  CrossFit made squatting and deadlifting cool again.  It boosted the popularity of powerlifting and strength training in gyms in a way that we haven’t seen before.  Now virtually everyone deadlifts. 

But is it really dangerous?  Well, every exercise is dangerous.  Squats can hurt you, you can ger hurt on the treadmill and you could pull something in a yoga session.  Deadlifts aren’t different in this regard.  The biggest difference is all in technique.  A bad deadlift exposes your back, hip or your hamstrings to injury, whereas a bad bicep curl might cause some issues for the elbows at worst.  Because the deadlift is more demanded and because more of us than ever before have poor posture that increases the chances that a deadlift will cause an injury.  However, the chances of getting injured from a snatch or a clean or even plyometric work are far greater than being injured in a deadlift. 

People with existing disc issues and back problems are best off modifying or avoiding the deadlift.  For those people alternate hip hinging movements are better choices, but where possible those people should be working towards being able to do deadlifts in the future.  The deadlift is probably the best hip hinging movement there is, and therefore should form a core aspect of your resistance training programme.  If you cannot do them for the above reasons then hip thrusts, Romanian deadlifts or deadlifts from blocks could be good alternatives to ensure that you still have hip hinging work within your training programme.

Don’t dismiss the deadlift.  Hip hinging is a vital part of resistance training for everyone, and a key aspect of improving posture in the long term.

Interested in learning how to deadlift or improving your current form?  Drop us an email at enquiries@rkfitness.co.uk and one of our trainers will give you some advice on how to improve your deadlifts today!

SUBSCRIBE TO FOLLOW RK FITNESS

SUBSCRIBE TO FOLLOW
RK FITNESS

Click on the icon to follow RK Fitness for each platform, thank you for subscribing!

LATEST NEWS

FROM MY BLOG

SUBSCRIBE TO THE RK FITNESS BLOG

You’ll receive all the latest news, posts and information regarding health and fitness.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE RK FITNESS BLOG

You’ll receive all the latest news, posts and information regarding health and fitness.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE RK FITNESS BLOG

You’ll receive all the latest news, posts and information regarding health and fitness.