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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:43 pm 
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So after a few months contemplating it I tacked on the barbell deadlift to my routine. Here is how it went.

First let me say that I am out of shape, other than roundm and my life to this point has not been an active one. I started working out in early 2010 after my lower back had me in bed for a few days out of nowhere. I weighed 350ish then and dropped down to 270, stayed there till June of last year then managed to get myself up to 313+ (didn't weigh until after a week of exercise/diet) after some stuff started happening and I stopped exercising and began to eat poorly again. But I am back down to 302 now. I have mentioned before that my upper body is good for video games and desk work and my lower body is good for moving 300 pounds around. Now I am back to good cardio 5 days a week and phasing weight lifting back in slowly. Oh and eating better (between 2300 to 2500 cal/day). Point is my flexibility sucks and I have a very weak set of "core" muscles.

After reading as much as I could about the deadlift online and here I settled on a starting weight of 95 lbs. I was able to bang out 10 reps of these with ease noting every bump on my shins on the way up. I took the 25's off and put 35's. I did 3 sets of 3. The weight wasn't challenging. But my form was garbage and I didn't want to risk anything. I would notice things like the bar was moving against one leg and not the other (on the way down). Or I would try to focus finishing the move with the glutes and use my back. I suppose I should just work on form, form, form, form and not make it a main movement when I go to the gym until I figure this thing out.

The biggest takeaway for me is that this movement requires some serious focus. But remember that I am transitioning off of machines still, even though most of my work with with dumbbell now.

Here's what I gathered from the internets:

1. Shoulder width stance or a little wider.
2. bar over the center of my feet.
3. bend down and grab bar, bending knees until my shins touch the bar.
4. lift by pushing through feet until knees are locked out, then rotate back as a unit until upright
5. This one is the hard part for me for now, put the bar back on the floor by performing steps 4 and 3.
6. Pause for a second or so then goto step one.

So I think that if I focus I can get through steps 1-4 pretty easily. However, if I lose focus just for a split second I get things out of sequence.

Anyways, here is my plan.

0. Work on flexibility: stretches, etc.
1. Work on abs and erector spinae muscles. (hyper extension machine?)
2. Work on form with 115 lbs until I get it
3. Incorporate it fully to my "go to the gym days"

Any thoughts?

Neal


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 2:02 pm 
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Awesome! You are doing much better than you may believe.

It's great to focus on form but as you are finding out knowing what to do in your head does not translate into having your arms and legs obey the commands. The only answer there is practice. Lower weight for high reps gets lots of practice, and don't get too worked up over small variations like landing at the end a little sooner on one side or another -- just note it and keep practicing.

However, if you wait until your form is perfect you will never advance. So start light but add 5# or 10# each week when you do the deads, this should not be so fast that it would destroy what you've learned already, but will be fast enough to get you somewhere.

P.S. As you can see from my picture, I enjoy deadlifts, though some say I'm too young for them.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 4:09 pm 
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Good job, Neal! It sounds like you're doing them pretty well.

Not to complicate your life, but here are a couple of things you might find helpful. Try them, anyway. Instead of focusing on pushing through your heels, try thinking about pushing the hips forward. If you can feel your glutes contracting that will help with this. Second, the bar doesn't have to hit your shins hard, just lightly glide up them. I have had a tendency to pull back on the bar, pulling it into my shins. Now I'm keeping my body a little more forward over the bar, and the bar comes straight up. As I extend, my shins move out of the way, and the contact between them and the bar is very light.

I agree with Ken about adding weight. You'll be surprised how far you can go. I'd go ahead and move up a bit. In fact, you can play with weight a little. Just do little sets of 2 or 3 and experiment with raising the weight. Don't try to push it into difficult weights, but just get a feel for higher loads. Do that for a few weeks before settling on a working load.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:19 pm 
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Neal: I've also struggled with the deadlift for the past four years and it seems I finally got it. Through the years, I thought I was making progress until my back was start to strain then I stop the reps and the next session go back to an empty bar and work on the form again.

Here are some things that work for me. It may or may not work for you depending on the geometry of your own body.

3. bend down and grab bar, bending knees until my shins touch the bar.
Make sure you stick your butt out. This forces you to keep your back straight, not curled forward.
Lean forward just slightly more so your shoulder is past the bar - this removed the strain in my lower back
4. lift by pushing through feet until knees are locked out, then rotate back as a unit until upright
Close your eyes - you're supposed to keep your head "neutral" but if your eyes are open, you may get distracted looking at yourself in the mirror and your neck/chest might not be in a good position.
When the bar is at hip level, "hump" the bar.
Don't over-extend. Just keep straight and pinch your shoulders.

And don't be shy about working with low weights.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:03 pm 
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One more note, these days it is very easy to video yourself and post it to youtube. Then post a link here asking for comments and you will get lots of useful comments.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:25 pm 
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I have to make a correction. I just returned from a session in which I did a deadlift.

3. bend down and grab bar, bending knees until my shins touch the bar.
Make sure you stick your butt out. This forces you to keep your back straight, not curled forward.
Lean forward just slightly more but not so much you fall over - this removed the strain in my lower back


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