DEADLIFT – THE KING OF THE ALL LIFTS!

Yes – Deadlift is the King of the all exercises. But it doesn’t even look very complicated and basically ‘deadlift’ means the action of lifting a dead weight of the floor.  Why is it called the “King of all Lifts?”

I’ll explain to you why:

It is one of the multi-joint exercises that works nearly every muscle group at the same time.
Deadlifts strengthens so many muscle groups that it helps to prevent injury in the knees, ankles, hip and lower back. It corrects the posture by strengthening the muscles around the spine, core, lower back supporting muscles, around the hip and the waist that are responsible to correct posture.

Deadlifts allow people to burn a lot of calories by working with a lot of muscles, as well as boosting the testosterone and growth hormones that make it easier for body to build muscle and lose fat.

How to perform Deadlift

  • Stand over the barbell with feet slightly wider than shoulder-with apart, toes pointing slightly outward or straight ahead. The bar positions over the centre bridge of the feet.
  • Bend down and grasp the bar with arms touching the outside of each leg. Keep head up, eyes looking forward, back flat and chest out.
  • Keep the bar close to the body – exhale as you work – straighten the legs, drive through the heels and bring the weight up past knees. Keep the core engaged all the time in the movement. Finish by thrusting the hips into alignment with the feet and squeezing your glutes.
  • Reverse the movement and lower the weight back down in a controlled motion.
    Keep the rules and technique for setting the weight back down.

The muscles works with the Deadlift:

– Gluteus Maximus (butt)
– Hamstring (thigh-posterior)
– Quadriceps (thigh-anterior)
– Adductor Magnus (thigh-medial)
– Soleus (calves)
– Gastrocnemius (calves)
– Erector spinae/sacrospinalis (spine)
– Rhomboids (back)
– Trapezius
– Forearms
– Levator Scapulea (neck)
– Rectus abdominis (abs)
– Obligues (abs)

As I have explained above, the Deadlift is the great exercise when performed properly. However you have a risk of injuring yourself if you don’t use the correct technique. Many people underestimate the complexity of the deadlift. Is deadlift just grasping the barbell and raise it up? The truth is there is a lot more to it.

Here is the most common deadlift mistakes and how to avoid them:

Keeping the bar too far from your shins: By having the barbell too far forward you have an injury risk because your position will force you to engage your lower back too much.
You need to stand above the bar, your feet should be halfway through with your shins 2-3 inches from it. Your shins should come in direct contact with the barbell.

Rounding your back: Rounding your back is very dangerous for your lover back. If you find it very difficult to keep your back straight reason might be poor hamstring flexibility or glute strength.You might also try to lift more than your capacity.

Your hips are too low: By keeping your hips too low (in line with your knees) you can’t properly engage your hamstring and glutes to assist you in the lift.
Keeping your hip slightly above from your knee level will allow you to engage your posterior chain properly to perform deadlift.

Shoe choice: Deadlift is a complex exercise that requires a stable base to perform. You shouldn’t wear running shoes, it can lead to instability during a heavy set. With deadlift you should wear flat soled shoes.

You’re pulling instead of pushing: Instead of focusing on pulling the bar off the floor, you should initiate the movement by pressing through the floor with your legs.

Bending the arms: Your arms should be straight through the entire movement – from start to finish.

TRX – Benefits of Suspension Training

VERSATILITY
The TRX is an incredibly versatile and convenient piece of equipment. Originally developed in the navy SEALS as a way to maintain peak physical fitness while out on missions where bulky weights and other equipment are completely out of the picture, the idea behind the TRX is to provide an effective and challenging full body workout using only the user’s bodyweight for resistance. With this in mind the immediate benefit of the TRX is fairly obvious – it’s light weight, compact and can be set up with ease pretty much anywhere so you never have an excuse to miss training (Yay!).

But that’s not the only advantage suspension training has to offer – using the TRX you can combine all the exercises you might otherwise perform using four or more different pieces of equipment saving not only space but also set up time between sets. There’s no need to lay out a mat in the middle of a busy studio, fight over the rack or wait for someone else to finish with the only 20kg kettlebell, you can complete your whole workout start to finish with no interruptions and be home in no time.

INTENSITY
Also as the intensity of each exercise can easily be adjusted by the user by changing the positioning of the body it’s suitable for people of all fitness levels from total beginner to trained athlete – just make sure you don’t cheat!

CORE STABILITY
Suspension training also offers a hidden extra bonus – when training on the TRX the core must be engaged continuously to stabilize each movement strengthening the core muscles and improving your balance throughout each workout.

ALL OVER BODY WORKOUT
So can the TRX really provide a full body workout? The answer is yes, there are several exercises which can be performed on the TRX for each muscle group and each one of these has countless variations to increase or decrease intensity so everyone can get a full workout using just this one piece of equipment.

Below I’ve listed an example exercise for each of the main muscle groups to show how the TRX can be used to train the whole body but remember there are 100s of others if you get bored of these so try it out and have some fun on the TRX!

TRX Single Leg Squat

Primary Focus: Quads

Adjust the straps to mid length, grab the handles with both hands – palms facing upwards, lean back so that your body is at a 70 degree angle to the floor, pick your right foot off the floor and point it in front of you, bend at the left knee and squat down, stand back up pushing through the heel of the left foot, repeat for desired reps then switch legs.

TRX Single Leg Squat

 

TRX Hamstring Curl

Primary Focus: Hamstrings, Glutes

Lie face up with your arms extended by your sides, place your heels in the TRX straps, lift your hips off the floor, pull your heels towards your hips in a smooth and controlled motion, straighten legs to starting position and repeat for desired reps.

TRX Hamstring Curls

 

TRX Chest Press

Primary Focus: Chest, Arms

Facing away from the TRX stand with your feet shoulder width apart, grab the handles with an overhand grip, extend your arms in front, lean forwards so that your body is at a diagonal, bend your elbows and lower your chest between your hands, push back to starting position, repeat for desired reps.

TRX Chest Press

TRX Low Row

Primary Focus: Back, Shoulders

Grab the handles with your palms facing each other, lean back until your weight is on your heels, arms extended in front, body is at a diagonal, bend your elbows and pull your torso towards hands squeezing the shoulder blades together, lower to starting position under control, repeat for desired reps.

TRX Low Row

TRX Pike

Primary Focus: Abdominals

Start in push up position with your feet in the RX straps, using the abs pull your body into pike position fully contracting the abs at the top, lower the body to starting position controlling the movement all the way down, repeat for desired reps.

TRX Pike

 

 

Pregnancy: Keeping healthy and active

GUIDELINES FOR PRE & POST NATAL MOTHERS

It has now been proven beyond doubt that safe and well-managed exercise in the pre and post natal period is highly beneficial to both mother and baby, providing your pregnancy is a normal one you are able to train throughout the whole 9 months.

In this ‘blog’ I am going to cover the benefits of exercising throughout your pregnancy, any contradications and some guidelines to follow throughout each stage.

PRE NATAL

This phase will be different for every woman and below are guidelines on what to do and expect providing you are experiencing a normal pregnancy and your doctors has given consent in taking part in exercise.

If you have always been active including lifting weights and cardio, then your goals throughout your pregnancy should be to maintain strength and endurance and focus on your posture technique.

If you are just starting out on your exercise journey, it is recommended that during this time your focus is to learn correct technique and awareness when it comes to lifting weights and focus on improving your posture.

Some of the benefits of Pre-Natal Exercise:

  • Staying active during pregnancy will help keep your body stronger and more supple. You will have fewer problems with your joints, tendons, intestines, stomach and circulation.
  • Exercise will help prevent constipation, which is commonly experienced during pregnancy.
  • Exercise will make it easier for you to avoid gaining more weight than the average 10-12kg (22-26lb).
  • Childbirth is often physically demanding, requiring a lot of energy to push out a baby – particularly if this is your first child or there have been several years between births. This is why it’s a good idea to keep in shape during pregnancy.

Basic Points prior to taking on exercise:

  • Always exercise in well ventilated air conditioned
  • Avoid getting up too quick and learn ways to get up safely before getting heavily pregnant.
  • Work from a stable base
  • Ensure you have a water bottle and a snack to eat after you finish.
  • Wear a bra with extra support
  • Loose comfortable clothing and good footwear.
  • Use the heart rate guidelines but only if you’re comfortable – “Mother knows best”
  • Avoid over heating.
  • Avoid high impact or contact sports

Now lets take a look at some of the main points to consider throughout each trimester.

First Trimester (0-12 weeks)

In the early stages of pregnancy there is a release of hormones that induce a relaxation of blood vessels. As a result, these vessels become more elastic and expand; however, the blood volume lags behind this increase in vascular volume. The inevitability results in a fall in blood pressure and a decrease in the amount of blood moving in and out of the heart. This shortfall in blood volume creates symptoms such as – waves of sudden fatigue, racing pulse, nausea, sweating and dizziness. This is why many women suffer from ‘morning sickness’

Throughout your pregnancy, It is very common to suffer from lower back pain. This can be due to several reasons – Your centre of gravity shifts as your uterus expands which then stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles. This changes your posture putting strain on your back.

The hormone relaxin is released into the body, this loosens your joints and ligaments and bones that attach your pelvic to your spine resulting in a feeling of being unstable and causing pain when you walk, stand or sit for too long or roll over in bed. This helps prepare your body for childbirth.

As your pregnancy develops, the extra weight also contributes to more stress on your joints which can explain why after a long day your back may feel worse.

Exercise:

  • Cardio – 15-30mins cardio, higher end of heart range, as long as comfortable. (see table below)
  • Due to changes in blood pressure ensure you are careful getting up and down.
  • Train to offset future postural adaptations by strengthening core, obliques, posterior chain muscles
  • Static stretching should be applied to areas such as hip flexors, upper traps, lats and lower back.
  • Focus on breathing – avoid holding the breath
  • Abdominal exercises are ok to do during the first trimester.
  • When lifting weights, avoid working till failure and depending how you are feeling 12-15 reps or 15-20 reps.

Second Trimester: (13-26 weeks)

During your second trimester you should start to feel more energetic as nauseasness eases as the body triggers the release of more hormones resulting in increased water volume which increases your blood volume.

As the pregnancy develops and the child grows, hormonal and biomechanical factors contribute to decreased muscle tone and stretching of the abdominals, which can often cause a splitting of the fascia between the rectus abdominal muscles.  This is known as Diastasis Recti. This is also another factor that can cause lower back pain. Diastasis Recti is however very common and the abdominals may regain tone and position depending on your previous condition post childbirth.

pregnancy changes to abdominal muscles pic

Exercise

  • As your body changes shape, this could dictate what equipment can be used.
  • Ensure you are using a stable base as balance may deteriorate.
  • Ensure no Prone or Supine work is carried out. Lying still on your back after the first trimester is to be avoided as the weight of the enlarged womb compresses the inferior vena cava.  This can result in dizziness are reduced oxygen delivery to the foetus.
  • Again heart rate should be around the upper ranges providing you are comfortable. (see table below)
  • Stretching should be moderate and dynamic.  Apply static stretches to areas mentioned above.
  • Aim for muscular endurance 15-20 reps and not working till failure

Third Trimester: (27 – 40 weeks)

During the third trimester another symptom felt as the baby grows is a shortness of breath.  This is due to your expanding uterus expanding up against your diaphragm.  In fact your diaphragm is moved up about 4cm from its normal pre- pregnancy position.  Although each breath may bring in less air, the respiratory centre in the brain is stimulated by progesterone at this time in your pregnancy to allow the air sitting in the lungs to remain there longer so that you are able to better extract oxygen from each breath.

Also common in pregnancy is suffering from Edema or swelling of the ankles and feet. As your body fluids increase, some of the fluid pools in the parts of the body most affected by gravity.  Movement can help relieve some of this pooling effect as skeletal movement pumps the lymphatic system helping to drain this fluid.  Also wearing compression tights and reducing salt intake can help.  Please do speak to your doctor tho if you have high blood pressure as this can be a sign of pre eclampsia.

Frequent toilet stops are also noticeable in your third trimester as your body produces more urine.  This is due to your kidneys having to deal with the extra waste from both increased circulation and also the waste being removed from the womb.

Exercise:

  • Ensure you are participating in low impact exercise at the lower end of your heart rate zones.
  • Ideally 15-20mins 3 x week.
  • Again avoid lying on your back.
  • Avoid lifting weights over the head exercises as this can strain your back.
  • More rest between sets
  • Adapt the exercises to suit you.
  • Aim for muscular endurance 15-20 reps and not working till failure.
  • It is very beneficial to the mother and baby to focus even more on breathing exercises due to the feeling of shortness of breath.


Heart Rate Chart Guidelines:

These guidelines are not to be exceeded.
If you are feeling very hot or dizzy, please stop and in future reduce the intensity. “Mother knows best”.

 

Age

Heart Beats per Minute

Under 20 years old

140 -155bpm

20-29 years old

135 – 150bpm

30-39 years old

130 – 145bpm

40 +

125 – 140bpm


POST NATAL:

It is recommended that you do not return to full daily activities until 6 weeks after birth (12 weeks after a caesarean section). Your doctor will usually tell you when it is safe for you to train, if not, its best to check.

The Benefits of Post-Natal exercise are numerous and providing you are allowed to by your GP it is highly recommended you try and find the time even just 30 mins 3-4x week to help you:

  • Improve posture
  • Increase muscular endurance
  • Increase stamina
  • Increase energy
  • Increase metabolic rate
  • Increase weight loss – help return to pre-pregnancy state
  • Increase self confidence
  • Reduced anxiety

Exercise:

  • It is vital that if you are breast-feeding and exercising you pay more attention to your hydration levels, as both are big fluid drains, therefore it must be a priority.
  • The hormone relaxin can be present for as long as you are breast-feeding therefore maintenance stretching is recommended and stretching to increase flexibility should be avoided for 16-20 weeks.
  • Avoid resistance training to failure; carry on with muscular endurance work (15-20 reps)
  • Avoid any high impact activities for the first few months.

There are more guidelines and conditions that occur during pregnancy. If you have any queries, are pregnant or returning to exercise (CONGRATULATIONS!) please get in touch with us to see how our expertise and knowledge in this department will help.