Deadlift Variations to do when you have pain : The deadlift exercise is a difficult skill. Not everyone has the ability to deadlift safely. The variations of deadlift require proper safety, technique, and mobility, and not everyone meets those criteria. Lacking any of the 3 necessities could result in injury. Likewise, you may not be able to accomplish those areas because of a previous injury. But fear not, there are various alternatives to accomplish the goal of working your glutes, hamstrings and back.
A traditional deadlift is done with the barbell on the floor with the person standing over the bar. Their feet should be about hips width apart. To start, the person grips the bar shoulder width or wider in either and alternating grip or double overhand grip. Next, they lower their body to and push thru their heels extending the hips and knees in a 1:1 ratio. But what happens when you cannot lower your body far enough or grip the bar strong and perform the conventional deadlift?
These two variations on the exercise are actually exercises to help aid in strengthening the traditional deadlift.
This is a variation or a segment of the actual deadlift movement. This exercise is safer, places less stress on the joints and can allow you to load the bar more because of the shorter range and biomechanical advantage.
The exercise starts with the bar at or below knee height on the rack. This bar height will require a power. Approach the bar and stand with the feet hips width apart. Grasp the bar with your hands alternating overhand and under hand. Keep your back straight and contract your core to protect your spine. Keep the arms straight, and contract your glutes as you lift. Maintain the bar against your body during the lift. The beauty of this exercise is you eliminate excessive bending and can cue your self to lift the bar in proper form.
This exercise is similar to a traditional deadlift. This is the perfect exercise for people that still want to perform a deadlift movement but with added safety. The higher handles allow people with limited motion in the back and hips to do the exercise with less risk.
Begin the exercise in the middle of the bar and feet should be lined up with sleeves the weights are placed on. Push your glutes behind you as you lower to grab the high handles ensuring you keep your chest up and arms straight. As a cue, press the heels of your feet into the ground as you pull the weight off the floor. Actively engage your glutes throughout the movement and squeezing at the top. The knees and hips should extend at a 1:1 ratio.
Wrapping It Up
Both of these exercises have their advantages when it comes to safety, mobility and technique. The rack pull can help fine tune technique and be the safest position for someone with poor mobility and injuries. The trap bar is an exercise that is the most similar to a traditional deadlift.
It’s advantage is that it brings the weight more central to the body and isn’t forward of the body. This small difference in weight placement is huge from a leverage perspective and the stress placed on the lower back. If you have pain, mobility or technique problems I would recommend these to be in place of traditional deadlift for a 4 weeks to start in order to still strengthen and have the added safety in the process.
Dr. Gerald Ferencz is a licensed chiropractic physician and Active Release Therapy certified practitioner Performance Rx Sports Care in Tustin, CA. He is a preferred sports medicine practitioner in Orange County and Southern California. Learn more at PRx Sports Care.
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