There are three deadlifts I recommend for strengthening your posterior chain muscles which include my glutes, hamstrings, calves, back extensors and your core, and they are sumo deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and single leg Romanian deadlifts.
I love deadlifts! Doing them during my workouts make me feel strong and empowered. I have been incorporating deadlifts in my strength training routine for several years and love seeing the progress that I have made, and I also recommend them as great physical therapy exercises.
Deadlifts are excellent for strengthening my posterior chain muscles which include my glutes, hamstrings, calves, back extensors and also my core. These are the muscles that make your legs look great!
Deadlifts can be performed by most people no matter where they are in their fitness journey and can be modified to target different muscles. They are a great exercise that helps strengthen the muscles I use everyday during activities like picking up my iphone from the ground to performing explosive movements while running and playing sports.
How to Perform a Deadlift...by a physical therapist
It is important to start a deadlift in the correct position. With your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart, squat bending at the knees and hips to grab the bar with your hands. Make sure you grip the bar shoulder-width apart on the outside of your legs. When using a barbell you want the bar to be close to your shins over the laces of your shoes.
Keep your chest up, pull your shoulders back, keep your spine in a neutral position and engage your core. Lift the bar, keeping it close to your shins and pull the weight up until you are standing straight up. Pause at the top of the movement and return the bar back to the starting position.Deadlifts can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, a kettlebell or with no weights. If you are new to performing deadlifts it is important to start with lighter weights and perfect your form before increasing weight and difficulty.
Variations of deadlifts
If you want to add an additional challenge or switch up your weight lifting routine, there are different variations of deadlifts that you can do. These variations allow you to target the same muscles but within a different movement pattern. Adding these will get you ready for swimsuit and legging season in no time!
The sumo deadlift is similar to a normal deadlift but your feet are farther apart. You want to start with your feet wider than hip width apart with your toes pointing out. When gripping the bar your hands with be on the inside of your legs. As with the deadlift, keep your chest up, pull your shoulders down and back and lift the bar up from the floor.
Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
The main difference between the Romanian deadlift and the deadlift is the range of motion. Instead of returning the bar all the way to the ground your going to lower the weight to mid-shin level and then return to a standing position.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
The single leg RDL is a great exercise that activates your posterior chain muscles all while challenging your balance. To perform this exercise, hold a weight in the opposite hand of your stance leg. With a slight bend in your knee, lift one leg up and bend at the waist bringing the weight towards the ground. Maintain a straight back and keep the toes of your elevated leg pointing down to prevent your hips from rotating during the movement. It is important to remember to keep your hips back during the movement in order to properly activate the posterior muscles.
Experiencing pain with deadlifts?
Deadlifts should not cause pain. If you experience any pain or discomfort before, during or after deadlifts, it might be a great time to see a physical therapist to help determine why you are experiencing pain and help with your form. At our offices in downtown Washington, DC or the Navy Yard, Rose Physical Therapy can help assess your form and address any mobility or strength problems that could be contributing to your discomfort.