Building a stronger back (part 2) - The Deadlift

Posted by David Wang 3 years, 7 months ago Comments

Before you proceed, please note:
  • If you are injured and in pain, DO NOT READ!
  • If you have a history of lowerback conditions or reoccurrent lowerback weakness issues and not received the appropriate treatment for it, GET TREATED FIRST!

However, if you have read and performed the exercises instructed in the previous blogs: IAP & Building.. Part-1, having grasped the fundmentals of how supportive muscles support your spine, and felt a subsequent improvement in the condition of your lowerback; then and only by then, your body shall thank you further for embracing the "deadlift".


The deadlift is the most fundamental of the 4 compound-movement exercises. It is also the first movement of Olympic lifting in the clean & jerk and snatch. To describe the exercise in the most simple and basic way possible, it is performed as follows by:

  1. isometrically contracting all the muscles of the upper torso
  2. engaging the powerful muscles of the hip and thigh
  3. gripping the bar very extra firmly
  4. locking up the core, thereby connecting the upper and lower body
  5. lifting the barbell off the floor in one swift motion (another whole series of micro-movements that can vary widely from each weightlifter).
From a musculoskeletal / chiropractic perspectives, the entire movement is enabled by three very important components.
  • First, the primary force behind most of the lift, aka the torque of the engine, occurs at the hip joint via the gluteus maximus and hamstring muscles creating forceful extension torque at the hip. 
  • Second, while there is some muscle contraction at the lower back erectors, quadriceps and calf muscles, these are considered supportive muscle groups and can actually throw off one's form when utilized too much or dis-proportionally. 
  • Lastly but equally as important as the primary motor is the intra-abdominal-pressure. The IAP is created by the triad of diaphragmatic muscles, transversus abdominus and pelvic floor muscles; all of which lock up the lowerback, stabilize the hip-hinge movement and maximizes the integrity of the lift.You can often see weightlifters wear a thick leather belt at the waist to further re-enforce the IAP. 
When all three factors are in concert with each other, the deadlift becomes the most efficient and powerful way of picking up the heaviest objects off the floor, and is also a great exercise to gain strength and stability in the spinal column.

- David  
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