The deadlift is one of the most fundamental exercises you can include in any strength program, but is it killing your gains? In this video, I react to the recent interview Robert Oberst did with Joe Rogan on the JRE podcast in which the world champion strongman stated that unless you were a competitive deadlifted, you should avoid the movement all together in your workouts because the risk reward ratio is not worth the potential injury particularly if you are a professional athlete.
I think it’s fair to start by saying that I have been known to bury a few bad exercises in my iron graveyard. Specifically, I believe that the upright row and behind the neck shoulder press are two of the worst exercises you could ever include in your workouts and should be avoided at all costs. Not only are they highly likely to lead to injury but there are superior alternatives that nullify even doing them in the first place.
That said, the deadlift is not one of those exercises that I would suggest not doing. I believe it is one of the most fundamental movement patterns for not just our training plans but for every day life. The need to perform it correctly however is magnified due to the fact that the loads capable of being lifted on this exercise exceed what may be able to be done on any other single exercise.
I do think it’s helpful to apply some context to what Robert is saying however. He is coming from an experience set that demanded he lift as much as he possibly could in order to win whatever competition he was competing in. The difference between first and second place could come down to lifting a weight or not. If a compromise in form was needed to do that, so be it. The end result however was that along with some titles came some unwanted body breakdown that could lead to regrets down the road.
The comments made about the reality of pro sports weight rooms are very true. I can tell you having spent a great deal of time in professional sports training athletes that these guys are not often the best lifters. They got to where they are because of their incredible innate talents and physical gifts. Often times, they learned poor lifting technique at an early age and their ability to compensate through it makes it difficult to spot as they make their way up through college and to the pros.
Forcing these athletes to perform lifts that are supposed to be good for them when their bodies may not be prepared for them properly, could lead to repercussions that could cost them their careers and the purpose of why they are where they are in the first place. This is especially true when you realize that there are other exercises like the power clean and hang clean that can give a training effect with fewer side effects if they are dealing with deadlifting limitations.
This all underscores the importance of redefining what strength really is. It is not simply adding more and more plates to the ends of the bar. Instead, it is realizing that strength is founded on stability. The ability to keep your body free from compensation and lift a weight as mechanically intended without subjecting areas of the body to stresses they shouldn’t normally incur. This doesn’t always manifest itself as blatantly bad form. As discussed in the video, it can be a lot less obvious.
The bottom line is, the deadlift is an important exercise that I believe should not be avoided. It should be learned and learned early however. If you’re looking for programs that teach you how to do this important lift the right way and program it into our day by day workout programs, be sure to click the link below and pick out the ATHLEAN-X program that best suits your specific goals.
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