In the previous post I showed a couple of videos demonstrating some common mistakes being made when performing deadlifts. Deadlifts are great exercise to incorporate into the training program of of a hockey player.

That is assuming they are performed correctly.

And in the case of the following videos they aren’t being done correctly.

Chest and shoulders rolled forward

One of the key things you want to strive for when performing a deadlift is to maintain a neutral spine. As the loads get heavier it is natural for their to be some thoracic flexion, or rounding of the upper back.

But as your learn the movement you want to strive for a neutral spine and proper posture. This includes the shoulders being down and back. For some, understanding what it means to ‘retract and depress the scapula’ makes no sense. Tell them to the push their chest out and this tends to take care of the shoulders.

There are 3 benefits to keepign the shoulders down and back while deadlifting.

1. This is a safer, more stable position for the shoulder. As the loads increase you’ll appreciate a more neutral, stable position for this joint.

2. You will be more balanced. During a pull you want to drive the heels into the ground while contracting the muscles of the posterior chain such as the hamstrings and glutes.

As the weight is already in front of the body we want to make sure it is as close to the body as possible to facilitate loading of these backside muscles.

3. You will pull more load.

Imagine lifting a car battery in front the chest with straight elbows. Then repeat the drill with the battery against the body so that it brushes the chest and rises up under the chin.

Which one do you think is easier?

Obviously the one with the weight closer to the body.

Of course we are pulling a load that far in front of the body but we may be pulling 300, 400 or 500 lbs. And trust me, when the loads start getting up there you want that weight as tight and as close to the body as possible.

Excessive cervical extension

This just be the technique point that is butchered the most by people when they deadlift.

Picture two hockey players about to perform some deadlifts. One of the players is more experienced with the lift and is going to coach the other.

What is one of the cues commonly heard by well meaning but poorly informed peoeple in the gym trying to help their training partner deadlift?

‘Look up’.

They are constantly reminded to look up as they deadlift.

But earlier on I mentioned that we wanted a neutral spine when we deadlift. And the spine continue up through the neck to make up the cervical spine.

And we can’t really maintain a neutral position if we craning our head upward during the lift.

Not sold on this point yet? Try the following.

Stand up and place your hands in the small of your back and look up at the ceiling allowing your back to arch as you do.

Now look down at the floor allowing your back to round.

Do you see how your lumbar (low back) goes into excessive extension as you look up?

Did you notice how the muscles of your back relaxed as you looked up?

Exactly what we don’t want we perform a deadlift.

So the next time someone tells you to ‘look up’ as your deadlift, smile to yourself and think ‘I don’t think so’.

Keep following for more videos in this series.


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