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Deadlifting: The Most Unathletic Exercise

Deadlift: The Most Unathletic Lift-DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training

I might have sounded unnecessarily harsh, but it really was the truth. At our recent DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training certification in St. Paul, while teaching the deadlift I called it “the most unathletic lift we do!”

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The deadlift in DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training isn’t the end all, but just the beginning!

That definitely got some eyebrows to raise, but I wasn’t trying to be controversial, rather, honest. When you break it down there the weight doesn’t move to far, we are moving at a very controlled speed, and everything runs in line with our body. In other words, everything is in an incredibly predictable environment.

Now, it is important to learn the foundations of the deadlift and build some strength here because it is going to be our base for everything else. However, where most people go wrong with the deadlift is that they think getting better at the deadlift makes you better at everything else. MAN that would be great, wouldn’t it?!

Heck, that would make life SO much easier, but unfortunately that just isn’t what happens. I know that kinda makes me the bad guy. It is kinda like when someone tells you that pizza and beer just isn’t going to help your fitness goals. You would LOVE for it to be true and you are upset because you realize that not having pizza and beer is going to make you uncomfortable. Anger at your friend is normal, but the reality is you are angry at the truth. Same thing here.

Watching time after time people who are a great at deadlifting completely fail when we ask them to move and perform the deadlift, tells me it just isn’t the case.

That really is what functional training is all about! A few posts ago I wrote about Dr. David Frost talking about keeping the standard and changing the condition. Well, most people are able to keep the hip hinge (the movement and standard) when everything is predictable and stable, rattle their environment and things fall apart FAST! That isn’t really functional training.

Don’t take my word for it, but rather one of the leading experts in functional training, Gray Cook…

“Performing the dead lift on a single leg gives even more feedback to the trainer and strength coach because it splits the body into a left and right half, and allows you to appreciate function between the two sides. Over ten years experience with the Functional Movement Screen has demonstrated to me how simple tightness and weakness don’t seem to be as big a barrier or risk factor as a left-right asymmetry. Let me say that again. Being different functionally on your left and right side actually put you at greater risk than simply being tight or weak. Tightness and weakness do evoke compensation, but to nowhere near the compensation required when the left and right side of the body don’t do the same thing. We walk, we run, we turn, we twist, we swing, we throw, we climb, we lift, and asymmetries between the left and right side of the body that exceed approximately ten percent create compensation with almost every breath…..The single leg dead lift is a primitive movement.”

Hmmmm, I tend to really agree, but there is STILL one problem. Finding a way to progress to single leg deadlifts isn’t easy. You can put honest, well performed, single leg deadlifts in gym mythos with high quality pull-ups, back squats, etc. Meaning, people talk about them, but they are about to easy to find as Big Foot!

If you have trained with a functional mindset for awhile you know what I am saying. Single leg deadlifting is HARD! Well, to do right that is. So, what do you do? How do we get better? That is what I always think about when we build DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training progressions. How do we get people doing GREAT stuff really well?

As I thought about it more and more it didn’t make sense to make the jump from a regular deadlift to a single leg deadlift. When you talk in terms of body stability, it is like jumping 100’s of pounds to a lift! See the issue is we think of weight or reps to be incrementally progressed, but stability unfortunately gets fast forward WAY to fast!

Enter the DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Deadlift Matrix. Not only does this help us build progression to the single leg deadlift, it allows us to find compensations and imbalances much earlier so we can help people become more successful. You will find maybe you are a rockstar at one position, but struggle at another. Well, we just did a simple assessment to find out what deadlift YOU need to be using.

We can change load, we can change the length of stride, we can change direction, we can change load position. All this means is that with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training we have the means to make you successful! Try this DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training Deadlift Matrix and see if you can find where your strengths lie and how you are going to improve your weaknesses, all with the mission of reaching new heights in your fitness!