“Make sure to lift with your legs and not your back.” This phrase has been repeated so many times it has essentially become common knowledge. The problem is, it still doesn’t fully explain how to lift. Plenty of people “lift with their legs” and still injure their back. Up to 80% of people will experience low back pain by the age of 20 and as high as 36% of people will experience at least one episode of low back pain this year. There are several causes of low back pain and one of the most common is improperly lifting things. So how can we stop the epidemic? Easy—learn how to deadlift.
When most people hear “deadlift” they have one of two reactions. They either don’t have a clue what it means, or they conjure up a mental image of a 350-pound circus strongman picking up a van with six people inside. Deadlifting is the most “bro” type of exercise there is (aside from the biceps curl of course). It is literally picking up something heavy and putting it back down. What most people do not realize is there is a reason power lifters are able to pick so much weight up at once.
The deadlift is the safest and most effective way to pick something up. In fact, we should all technically be deadlifting in some way every single day. Picking up a bag of groceries off the floor? Deadlift. Picking up the end of a table to push it over a few inches? Deadlift. Your 80-year-old grandma reaching down to pick up a pencil she dropped while doing the daily crossword puzzle? Yep, you guessed it, deadlift.
The video below demonstrates the proper way to do it. This technique should be ingrained in you for lifting everything. Whether you are trying to get stronger at the gym or need to pick up a box while moving a friend to a new apartment, make sure you have a flat low back and are bending from your hips. Learning to do this properly will keep you healthier and stronger.