A mile-wide back now! - Part 2

In the first part of the article I devoted more attention to pull ups. Now is the time for another back exercise: the deadlift is one of the toughest existing strength battles which allows you to lift the largest weights. It is usually young people who excell in the rivalry, and hence the legends about this exercise causing major injuries. Unfortunately, most performances you can find on the Internet present a wrong and spine-harmful technique. When done correctly the deadlift is one of the safest exercises.

You should definitely read:

A mile-wide back now! Part 1

The first and the most important myth of the deadlift: it's a very dangerous exercise, especially for the spine!

How do you think, how many years do you have to train to be able to lift 400% of your own weight? For example a Russian record-holder Andrey Malanichev has professionally lifted weights since 1993, that is over 20 years! And he does it on the level unattainable for most people, incomparably heavier than what the best amateurs do. For instance, Malanichev flipped 1120 kg in powerlifting triples with no equipment (a squat: 460 kg, bench press: 260 kg, deadlift: 400 kg). In his best attempt with gear Andrey deadlifted 420 kilos.

A YOUTUBE FILM: the biggest RAW total ever: 1120 kg – Andrey MALANICHEV

In 2014 Andrey did a squat with 485 kg (wearing the equipment).

If the deadlift was really that dangerous, powerlifters, strongmen and weightlifters would end their careers after a couple of years of training. Every strength exercise with heavy weight is dangerous for your spine but... you lift it for at most a couple of hours a week, and you sit at your computer for tens of hours a week. The biggest threat to your health are long-term overloads resulting from constrained postures like working in front of a computer screen. According to research, bad posture and leaning forward cause hundreds of kilogrammes burden for your spine. To make matters worse, many people spend their time in front of a TV, tablet, laptop or with their smartphones after their work. How many of them keep the correct posture?

As a matter of fact, a big number of scientific research belies the popular claims that powelifting triple is a very dangerous discipline. In one study the estimated risk is 1 injury per one thousand hours of trainings! Another study showed 5.8 +/- 4.9 injuries per one thousand hours of powerlifting triples competition of the national range. At the international level there were only 3.6 +/- 3.6 injuries on every thousand hours of the workout.

Deadlift – which version to chose?

According to the study [5] conventional deadlift and the sumo one differ considerably:

  • in the sumo deadlift your thighs are 11 to 16 degrees more level, in the conventional deadlift your hips are 12 degrees more straight.

  • your torso is 5 to 10 degrees more upright in the sumo option,

  • feet position is twice as wide in the sumo deadlift (70 +/- 11 cm) as it is in the conventional one: (32 +/- 8 cm),

  • in the sumo version your feet are out at the angle of 42 +/- 8 degrees, while in conventional: 14 +/- 6 degrees,

  • the bar grip width for the sumo deadlift is 47 +/- 4 cm. In case of the conventional deadlift: 55 +/- 10 cm.

Most importantly: the distance the bar was to cover, the work you should do and the energetic expenditure were 25 to 40% higher foe the conventional deadlift. Hence many competitors are able to lift more in the sumo version and less if they lift it in a conventional way. A lot depends on the lever, position of limbs: arms vs. legs, and the used equipment).

The sumo deadlift involved mostly:

  1. gluteus medius,

  2. knee extensor muscle

  3. the foot was moving up (dorsi flexor),

The conventional deadlift involved:

  1. gluteus medius,

  2. knee extensor muscle

  3. knee flexor,

  4. the foot was bending down (plantar flexor),

The ankle- and knee-generated forces were much different in variously done deadlifts. At a given moment of measurement the forces in the hip were similar.