So this week we had a client that was seeing a chiropractor and was informed that there was a particular exercise that no one should be doing.
And based on the title of this post you already know what the exercise is.
But we train a number of our clients with deadlifts. And we don’t have DC after our names. So what does this mean?
Well since Breaking Bad is done I know you’ve got nothing else to do but stick around and find out the truth. Which is that deadlifts are not bad. Nor are deep squats. Or bench presses. Or biceps curls in the squat rack. (I threw that last one in as a trick to see if you’re still paying attention. I do my biceps curls on the Olympic platform)
In fact there is no such thing as a “good exercise” or a “bad exercise”. There is only exercise done with proper form or improper form.
Simple as that.
Because here’s the thing…we all deadlift anyways.
A deadlift is basically a hinging movement at the hips. So whereas a squat would involve most of the bending to happen at the knees a deadlift involves most of the bending at the hips.
Imagine all of the times you may hinge (deadlift) in a day:
* picking up your suitcase off the belt at the airport
* taking a bow as conductor of the symphony orchestra
* closing your gar door when your arms are full of groceries
But I would go further than to simply disagree with the premise that deadlifts are bad for you and should be avoided but they are good for you and should be in most people’s programs.
Why are deadlifts important? Because they promote the ability to remain in extension. Flexion on the other hand:
* usually goes hand in hand with pain
* is the fetal position or submission
* results in a smaller, shorter posture
Now think for a second in which position do you spend most of your day? Sitting at work. In a desk at school. At home on the computer. Driving around doing errands.
Yeah, you’re stuck in flexion-ville, my friend.
And with all that sitting what happens to your posture, your hips, your hamstrings and your glutes? Well in the same order:
* it deteriorates
* they become short
* they become short
* they become weak
With enough sitting you will run into a postural problem that may lead to an episode of low back pain and a visit to the physiotherapist, the chiropractor or the massage therapist. And they may just recommend exercises to restore your posture, mobilize your hips, lengthen the hamstrings and strengthen the glutes.
Any guesses on which exercise does all of the above and does it the best? Give yourself a gold star if you said the hip hinge (deadlift).
So the very prescription to fix what ails you would be the same thing that the chiropractor told our client to avoid doing. It doesn’t make sense but it’s not surprising. What you need to remember is that an exercise is not good or bad. How an exercise is performed may be good or bad though.
And to be fair to the chiro there may be some exercises that might not be best choices for some people. But it’s short-sighted to suggested that deadlifts are bad and no one should do them.