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Is a Deadlift Just a Deadlift?

sandbag training

We make it sound easy in fitness…”just change!” Whether that means eating habits, sleep habits, exercise habits, the list goes on and on. The toughest thing about achieving fitness goals is that it usually requires us to change and that is one of the hardest things you can ask a human being to do!

That is why our biggest challenge with DVRT isn’t getting people to use Ultimate Sandbags, but rather, change how they see strength and fitness. It can be especially hard as the industry can, but is often slow to change. The encouraging part is that by going around the world educating professionals on what real world strength training actually IS, we are seeing a change slowly happen. A great example is with something as simple as a deadlift.

Yes, the deadlift, that exercise that if you told me when I started coaching back 20 years ago that would be mainstream, I would have told you that you were crazy! There was a time, actually a long time, where seeing someone deadlift would be like seeing a unicorn walk through the gym. Most people had deadlifts pegged as a surefire way to hurt your back. It was only reserved for those “crazy” powerlifters.

Fast forward to 2017 and we know so much more about the body. We understand how functional training makes our lives better in so many ways and how the deadlift can be one of the BEST ways to make ourselves healthier, stronger, and look better.

sandbag training

DVRT Master, Brian Flynn, and I have had a great time sharing these concepts with the Equinox trainers in New York!

However, like so many things in fitness, the pendulum swung so far one way that we forgot the essence of the deadlift. Once upon a time known as the “health lift” (that is how much people thought it could help “fix” one’s low back), the deadlift was a demonstration of strength more than something people did on a routine basis. We still had a lot of manual labor, farming, wrestling, gymnastics, etc. so deadlifting was a great way to show how strong you were.

Now in our modern times, we don’t move as much, people have forgotten how to “hip hinge” which is what we want MOST from the deadlift. That movement of understanding that we use our hips to create strength and force, NOT our low backs.

It isn’t just forgetting that movement, but how we look at something like the deadlift overall. We didn’t have to possess so much variety in earlier years because we did so many other movements. Now, the gym is full of specialists that are quite limited in their varied movements.

Why does that matter though? Doesn’t just deadlifting fix all? Well, if you understand in life we move in so many different directions, angles, positions without even thinking about it, you would wonder why we would see an exercise like the deadlift in such a limited way?!

Now, on the flip side, we don’t want to do just “whacky” versions of the deadlift, we want to be thoughtful and purposeful with everything we do. That is why in DVRT we place a lot of focus on first learning the foundational movement and then taking simple concepts like holding position, body position, and planes of movement to further our strength training.

Yet, everything starts with good movement. Many people forget the foundational deadlift is just a glute bridge. Sounds easy enough, but when you hear DVRT Master, Cory Cripe, talk about how we progress it and REALLY use it for, it will change how you see this familiar exercise.

How do you go from the ground with glute bridges to the deadlift? Check out how Jessica and I break it down simply.

How can we start adding more movement? It can be really simple by making small changes in our stance and direction of movement like DVRT Master, Evan Supanich, shows.

Where do we go? We have options, many in fact. However, I encourage you to not just do “different” things, but to try varied movement to find where you weaknesses lie. This is what we call “purposeful variety” in DVRT and the way we take an exercise and make it into so much more. Spending time and fully experiencing a movement allows you to get so much more out of it than just trying to nail reps out because you see something “cool”. Check out how DVRT Master, Troy Anderson, and I break down some great options i taking your deadlift to the next level!