Deadlifts, Diet & Relationships

I always seem to find a way to relay the information to my audience in the form on analogies; today was no different and a cross-reference between diet and relationships was born! The title of this post probably got you curious as to what I would have to say about relationships, and unfortunately I have not yet mastered the set-up, breathing, set and rep range to master it, although I have practiced them a few times to at-least make up a good analogy for something I do know… Eating!

Reasons why your diet is like your relationship: 
1. Just like you need to eat, you need to receive love. (Awe…)
2. If you eat nutritious food, your mind, body and soul will repay you. Just like the saying goes “you get what you give”.
3. If your body trusts that you will provide it with adequate nutrition, it will let go of the storage fat that it doesn’t need. (If you stop starving yourself and consuming junk, your body won’t anticipate a recession by retaining body fat or water). Trust, in any form is hard to gain, and easy to loose. Your body strives for homeostasis (a state of health/comfort) and just like in a relationship, once the balance of trust is off… So is everything else! And when we do not deal with the root of the problem, we ‘hold onto’ things and shit piles up. Boo.
4. Tell me I can’t have something? I’ll want it more! Um. Where to start? If I could not eat peanut butter on the weekdays, I would eat a whole jar Sunday night… If I could not go out with my friends… I would… Wait, I am not sharing my tricks! You get it.

Alright, now that you can be the perfect dieter and girlfriend/boyfriend, it is time for me to talk about my current obsession, the Deadlift! Essentially, ‘picking things up and putting them back down’, which is also usually my reply when someone asks me what I’ve been up to! So what follows are a few lesser-known tricks and tweaks that you can use to quickly improve your deadlift technique.

Trap Bar Deadlifts
Trap Bar Deadlift
* Fantastic for beginners due to less shear loading on the spine (center of gravity is inside the bar).
* Elevated handles make it easier for those with hip flexion/ankle restrictions.
* Much easier to maintain neutral spine due to the high(er) bar placement.

Sumo Deadlifts
Sumo Deadlift
* Excellent choice for those with mobility restrictions.
* Those who are built to squat and bench (alligator arms, long torso) like this version, because they don’t have to work so hard to get low.
* Wider stance, toes out = easier to maintain neutral spine.

Conventional Deadlift
Conventional Deadlift
* The most recognized but also the most advanced variation (more shear loading on the spine, center of gravity more anterior).
* Trainees have ample ankle, hip, and thoracic mobility to get into proper position. If they don’t (which is many of you), then tweak the lift either by elevating the bar on mats or perhaps reverting to rack pulls and working your way down while simultaneously addressing weaknesses and imbalances.

The Setup
One of the first things you’d notice is that my warm-up sets look the same as my work sets. I forget where I heard it, but here is a good quote “treat your light weights heavy, and your heavy weights light.” Feet: I set my feet a little less than shoulder width apart and make sure my shins are right against the bar or, at the very least, the bar is set directly over the middle of my foot. Hands: For powerlifting, I use the under/over grip. This gives me a better hold and less possibility for the bar slipping. A double over grip is just as great if it’s more comfortable, or to be used if you are using the deadlift as a transfer into another lift, such as the clean. I get my air by taking three deep breaths, making sure that on the last one – before I bend over to grab the bar – I push my belly out and down and brace the core hard. From there I grab the bar and take the slack out of it. My ritual involves elevating and lowering my hips, and with each pass I progressively pull more slack out of the bar. On the last pass, I use the bar to simultaneously “pull” myself into proper position and to lift. I take one more “sip” of air, and it’s go time.

Slow Down! If I program deadlifts for 5 sets of 5 reps, I tell people that rather than approaching it as a set of five repetitions, think of it as five separate singles. Each rep is its own set. One major mistake people make is rushing through their set and trying to get everything over with as quickly as possible. This is when things get sloppy, and the reason why I do not like using heavy deadlifts in CrossFit workouts ‘for time’. I coach people to reset after each rep – meaning after they pull the bar off the ground, lock it out, and then descend back to the floor, I tell them to rest for a second or two to re-adjust their spinal position and get their air (brace the abdominals) before performing the next rep.

There you have it. The only 3 things you need in life, weightlifting, food and love.

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