We’re BACK with another episode of The Friday Fix! Take 60 seconds out of your day to learn a new tip you can use to improve your fitness results and get the most out of your training! Check back every week for the newest episode.

The Problem?

You lack tension in your lats during the deadlift. You also probably have a jerky start to the movement and it may cause you immediately or delayed pain, plus throw off the mechanics of your lift.

What’s the Big Deal?

Failure to keep tension throughout the deadlift risks one of all of these things happenings:

  • The bar floats away from the body.
  • Often due to the bar floating away from the body, the lumbar spine goes into flexion (rounded back).
  • As a result of either/both of the first two points, the knees straighten and the hips raise too early in the lift.
  • One of those things, or a combo of any/all, causes a hefty amount of undue shear forces at the lumbar spine.
  •  You’ll feel yourself in this bad position and either:
    • A) Give up. Drop the bar. Miss the rep. That sucks.
    • B) Tough it out. Use your back to lift the weight instead of your entire body. Limp away and quit.
    • C) Feel yourself in this awkward position and try to fix it mid-lift, but overcompensate with lumbar hyperextension not knowing that aggressively going from flexion to extension under heavy load is asking for a herniated disc. Then, you’ll lay down in immense pain like the Life Alert lady and….quit.

Image result for life alert

The Solution?

As mentioned in the video, having a good lat tension during your pull can greatly help avoid all of the issues above. Sure, there are other things that contribute to a lousy deadlift, but locking in the lats is a big win.

Here’s an awesome cue: Make some wine.

To get someone to engage their lats, encourage them to take the slack out of the bar as shown about and make wine. Imagine that you’ve got some grapes under your armpits… squeeze the shit out of them… that’s not grape juice you’re making… IT’S WINE!! I used to tell people to make orange juice until one of my clients said OJ doesn’t motivate her to pull 200 lbs off the ground… but wine does.

Feel the steel. Take the slack out of the bar. Shift your weight back. Make some wine. Push away from the ground. Smooth pull. Squeeze your butt at the top. Repeat. BOOM.