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How to do Proper Deadlifts

If you're new to weightlifting but have watched it at the Olympics then you probably THINK you were watching them do Deadlifts. Like in the video below.


However those are NOT Deadlifts.

In a deadlift you are only lifting the bar up approximately to your waist. Like in the image shown here on the right.

I think the confusion over the name of the particular weightlifting exercise is that a Deadlift sounds really difficult and people equate that with lifting the weight above your head. Except you are only lifting it about a third of that height.

When doing Deadlifts remember that form is very important so that you don't injure yourself. Stick to the prescribed Deadlift form and do it safely.

So pay attention as we journey down the road of brain and brawn and learn how to do a Proper Deadlift.

Step 1

Place the barbell on the ground and attach weights to it according to your strength and fitness level. If you are just starting out estimate the maximum amount you think you can lift and then lift half of that. (You can lift larger amounts later on once you've got the form correct.)

Step 2

Step up to the bar so that your feet are approximately shoulder width apart, the balls of your feet are under the bar, and your toes are pointing forward or slightly outward.

Step 3

Bend your knees while keeping your back straight, so that you look like you are in a sitting position.

Step 4

You should be close enough to reach the barbell, and grasp it with your hands slightly more than shoulder width apart, outside of your legs.

There are several different ways to grip the barbell. The most recommended style of gripping is the mixed grip (one palm facing you, one palm facing away), as it less likely to result in injuries, but use whichever grip feels the most comfortable.

For Olympic lifting, many people use the hook grip, which is more secure but is painful at first. It is similar to the overhand grip, except that instead of the thumb over the remaining fingers, it is hooked underneath them.

The underhand grip alone is not recommended because it can lead to the rupture of bicep muscle and connecting tendons, especially in people who do not have full flexibility in the elbow joint.

Step 5

Lower your hips so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep the lower part of your legs mostly vertical. The angle between your foot and your lower leg should be close to 90 degrees.

The thighs should be parallel to the ground, but the back is not straightened yet.

Step 6

Straighten your back and look straight ahead. Never lose the natural arch of your back.

Step 7

Lift the bar. Stand up by raising your hips and shoulders at the same rate and maintaining a flat back. Keep your abs tight during the whole lift. You should lift the bar straight up vertically and close to your body. Try thinking of it as pushing the floor away from you. Come to a standing position with upright posture and your shoulders pulled back. Allow the bar to hang in front of your hips. DO NOT try to lift it any higher.
Step 8

Lower the bar. Keeping your back straight, return the bar to the starting position in a controlled manner. Pushing your butt out as if you are going to sit down in a chair, and keep your head up. DO NOT drop the bar.

There, you've done it.

SAFETY NOTE! Avoid doing 6 or more deadlifts at a time. The more deadlifts you do the more likely you are to use improper form because you are rushing and overdoing it - which leads to injuries. Stick to 5 reps or less and stick to proper form.

And before you think for an instant that you cannot do this very simple weightlifting exercise try watching the following video of a little girl who is a weightlifting champion.


Once you've mastered Deadlifts (remember that form is very important for performing that exercise properly and without injury) you may also wish to try the following types of Deadlifts.

Romanian or Stiff Leg Deadlifts

These deadlifts are hips dominant. The exercise is a great core strengthener and also tones the glutes and hamstrings. It targets the lower back quite a bit to strengthen it.

1. Use very little weight while practicing this type of exercise until you get used to it. If you try to lift a lot more you will hurt your lower back.

2. While performing Romanian deadlifts keep your hips so far back that your toes start to rise as the weight is lowered. Think 98% weight on the heels, 2% in the toes for balance.

3. Bending your legs only a little lift the bar using an overhand (pronated grip). Your lower back will be doing most of the work so you will feel it there.

4. Stand tall and hold the bar or dumbbells with arms straight down at your thighs.

5. Keep the head up, shoulders back, knees slightly bent, and low back arched as the bar is lowered to the floor.

6. Repeat multiple times. If at any point you start to feel back pain cease lifting. (If you experience back pain a lot while doing this exercise you need to switch to a lower weight.)

One Leg Romanian Deadlifts

1. Exact same form as the Romanian lift except now you're on one foot with the other leg behind. Use either a dumbbell or barbell. If using a dumbbell attempt to hold it in the opposite hand of the working leg.

2. With this exercise try to do one rep holding the weight, place the weight on the floor, and perform the next rep empty-handed. This is for an extra challenge using co-ordination and balance.

3. Alternate hands and feet regularly.

10 Tips for Morning Joggers

Want to go jogging in the morning more often? Here are 10 Tips for Morning Joggers to help get you started and keep you on track.

#1. Schedule a specific time to go jogging. eg. Add an alarm on your phone as a reminder.

#2. Don't time yourself. You are done when you get back home.

#3. Don't worry if you occasionally stop to catch your breath. That is normal for beginners. You will build endurance over time. After a month of jogging you will notice your endurance has gone up considerably.

#4. Choose a route which is relatively short in the beginning and will take you an estimated 15 minutes to jog it.

#5. Progressively make your jogging route longer. After two weeks of jogging the above route (assuming you are jogging 5 to 7 times per week), add another part to the route so it takes closer to 20 minutes. Keep doing that route for 3 weeks and then add another part to it so it takes you 25 minutes. Then another 4 weeks and add another part so its closer to 30 minutes.

#6. Set a cap for how much time you want to spend jogging. If you only want to jog for 30 minutes every day, that is okay. Some people have busy schedules, but you will still be getting lots of health benefits from that 30 minutes.

#7. If you've set a cap your new goal should be to go FASTER. Not sprinting, but aim for a fast jog so that you can cover more distance in the same amount of time. This way you are still challenging yourself.

#8. If you're looking for a challenge go jogging in places which are more hilly - or even places which have stairs, like an university football stadium. (Wearing hiking shoes in wooded areas so you are less likely to slip and fall.)

#9. After jogging do some stretches during a cool down period.

#10. Eat something nutritious after your jog. Raw eggs, a protein shake, a hearty soup or stew will help increase your endurance faster by giving your body what it needs to build new muscle tissue.

BONUS TIP - Drink lots of water after your jog to rehydrate and take a multivitamin. (Extra vitamins never hurt anyone.)

An 160 lb person jogging for 30 minutes burns 254 calories. It doesn't seem like much but if they go jogging every day for a year that is 26.4 pounds of fat that they've shed.

And if they keep jogging regularly they will keep that extra weight off permanently. What is more is that 30 minutes per day is only 2% of their day.

Archery Warmup Exercises + Stretches

Doing a series of simple stretches and exercises during or after an archery session can be very beneficial. (Doing stretches before exercises haven't been proven to prevent injuries, but doing stretches after helps maintain and improve flexibility.)

Doing warmup exercises can also be beneficial however, as they get blood-sugar flowing to the muscles and that will improve your performance on the archery range.

I recommend the following stretches / exercises to help warm up the muscles and improve flexibility.

#1. Twists (turning from side to side, stretching the obliques [side muscles]).

#2. Isometric Pulling (see the list of stretches below).

ISOMETRIC STRETCHES FOR ARCHERY

Loosen upper arm and chest muscles.

Interlock the fingers with palms out. Extend arms above head, keeping fingers locked. Stretch upwards and hold for 10 to 15 seconds.


   

Loosen back muscles.

Cross arms in front of chest and place hands around shoulders. Slowly stretch hands towards middle of back as far as possible. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.



Loosen chest, top of shoulder and lower arm muscles.

Bend one arm over head and down back, bend other arm around and up back. Grasp finger tips and hold for 10 seconds, then reverse arm positions and hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Keep backbone vertical during this exercise.



Loosen shoulders and back muscles.

Lock fingers together, extend arms and twist slowly as far as possible to the right and hold for 10 seconds. Then twist slowly to the left and hold for 10 to 15 seconds.

WARNING: Do not twist suddenly as it may damage backbone joints.
     


Loosen neck and upper shoulder muscles.

From a normal standing position with arms at sides, raise up both shoulders towards neck as high as possible, then move shoulders forward, then move shoulders back. Do this for about 20 seconds.



Loosen back and shoulder muscles.

Use a length of spear gun rubber or rubber tubing, grasp each end, raise arms to shoulder height and extend arms, keeping elbows straight, outwards and backwards by squeezing shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat about 6 times.


   

Loosen shoulder muscles.

Use a length of spear gun rubber or rubber tubing, grasp each end, raise one arm above head and the other arm level with shoulder. Pull down with arm and hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat about 6 times.

Swap arm positions and repeat exercise.



Loosen chest and shoulder muscles.

Use a length of rubber tubing, grasp each end behind back, hold arms at shoulder level, then swing arms forwards to stretch rubber. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat about 6 times.



Loosen shooting muscles.

Use a length of spear gun rubber or rubber tubing tied in a loop, imitate the shooting draw. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat about 6 times.

Repeat exercise with opposite hands to balance muscle development.

5 Slimming Fruits that help burn calories!

Chili Peppers - Goes great with pasta!

Spicy chilies increase your calorie burn thanks to an antioxidant called capsaicin. A health study from the University of California found that in the few hours following a meal containing capsaicin, calorie burn nearly doubled. The antioxidant also significantly increased fat oxidation, pushing the body to use more fat as fuel. Other studies have even found that meals flavored with capsaicin can diminish appetite. Experiment with a few different fresh premade salsas and read the ingredients carefully to get a sense of which peppers speak to you. And when in doubt, just add peppers to lots of your meals. I like chopped up pieces of pepper in my eggs.


Pears - Makes a great snack!

Apples may get all the nutritional glory, but a pear a day is a great idea too. Pears have especially high levels of a kind of fiber called pectin, which is known to help promote weight loss. Poached pears make a tasty warm dessert; raw, their creamy-gritty texture pairs nicely with cheese for a snack. I prefer them just plain and fresh!


Grapefruit - Great for breakfast!

Lots of vegans swear by grapefruit for breakfast. This citrus fruit won weight-loss fame after a study found that people who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds, while those who drank a serving of grapefruit juice three times a day lost 3.3 pounds. Many people in the study lost more than 10 pounds without making any other changes to their diets. Grapefruit isn't for everyone, but if you enjoy them then try and buy them regularly and make them part of your healthy diet.



Tomatoes - Goes well on pizza or with spaghetti!

Fiber and a high volume of water ensure that tomatoes fill you up for few calories. They're also loaded with lycopene, and health researchers have found that the higher the level of this antioxidant in people's blood, the lower their level of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Plus, tomatoes increase in nutritional power when cooked, so saute or roast them, make sauce, or blend up tomato soup—on a low-energy day, it's a true comfort food and goes well with pasta and many other dishes.


Artichokes - I hate these things, but they're super good for you.

When you get bored with leafy greens (and that can happen easily when you're counting calories), artichokes are a nice alternative. They make an ideal appetizer- one artichoke has just 60 calories, and all the fiber they contain will help you consume fewer calories during the rest of your meal. When you can get artichokes fresh (in the spring), they're delicious steamed; just sprinkle with salt, pepper, or a squeeze of lemon juice and eat the leaves one by one. Canned artichoke hearts come in handy when you need a simple but satisfying snack. I personally don't like the taste of them, but that is just me. Ignore me. My tastebuds are weird sometimes.

Weightlifting Front and Back Squats

Front and Back Squats are two different weightlifting technique used by amateur weightlifters, professional weightlifters and of course Olympic weightlifters. Together they are two very commonly used weightlifting exercises for training.

However like many weightlifting exercises it is very important to use proper form so you don't injure yourself.

The Front Squat is demonstrated in the image on the right, where you can see the weight is held in the front.

Below, you can see the Back Squat where the weight is held behind the head and above the shoulders.



HOW TO DO A PROPER FRONT SQUAT

1. The weight is in front, on the shoulders. The barbell is touching your neck, elbows are lifted high in front and your hands are slightly open. For an easier grip variation, grab the barbell with crossed arms.

2. Go down into the squat with hips pushed back and the weight in your heels. Keep your knees in line with the toes and never too far forward or behind. Keep your back straight and you should always have your chest lifted and eyes up.

3. Drive up and remember to exhale on exertion.

THE BACK SQUAT

The back squat is identical except for the load being placed behind the body, resting on the trapezius muscles, the muscles which run across the back of the shoulders (not the neck!). When the weight is placed on the neck it is dangerous and even in the best case scenario, you will be very sore the next day!

There is also the Split Squat and the Side Squat, but I will cover those in a future post.

Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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