For the June move of the month, Orangetheory Fitness’ National Fitness Director, Michele Nesbitt, is sharing her favourite exercise with us! A full body multi-joint move, the deadlift builds strength and muscle and is a go-to in Michele’s fitness routine.
What makes the deadlift so great? It is a dynamic strengthening exercise that allows for variation and the option to increase difficulty by adding heavier weights – it also has real life application. Regularly practicing the deadlift builds core strength and as a result, improves balance and can reduce the likelihood of injury in day-to-day activities such as moving or lifting heavy objects.
One of the most important things to remember about the deadlift is that correct form is key to its effectiveness. Looking to perfect your deadlift game? Check out Michele’s best practice tips here:
- Find an unobstructed, flat surface either at home or at the gym. Position your feet shoulder width apart and gently pull your shoulder blades down and back. Lift your chest, pull your belly button in towards your spine and keep glutes slightly pinched.
- Maintain a soft bend in your knees and hold a pair of dumbbells against your hip with an overhand grip and palms facing your body, as shown in Image A. Feel free to try without weights if this is your first time to get the correct form.
- Hinge at your hips and carefully lower your chest towards the floor while keeping your back straight. Try lowering your torso until it is almost parallel to the floor without affecting the soft bend in your knees like Michele does in Image B. If your shoulders start to round, do not go any lower and resume the flat back position.
- Squeeze your core and lift at your shoulders until you are back at the start position. Keep your hands close to your body throughout the exercise.
Expert Insight: The deadlift engages all of the major muscle groups and contributes to good posture and core strength. It also strengthens the supporting muscles around your waist, backside, hips and lower back. To maximize the move, always be mindful of your technique. Try not to overarch your neck and squeeze your stomach (as if you’re preparing to be punched in the stomach). In Image C, Michele demonstrates incorrect form that should be avoided.
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