Dead lifts are a more direct, gym based exercise that aims to work the multifidus during movement. The multifidus muscle needs to stabilise the lower back so that the major gluteal muscle (gluteus maximus) allows you to bend and lift.   These 2 muscles work hand in hand in many major movements, such as sitting to standing, doing squats and walking up stairs.

Come up next to the bar and grip onto the bar just past waist width apart.

Photo 1 deadlift










To lift the bar up, begin by doing the following

  1. Bring your shoulder blade back and up just a little bit (although this is mainly a back exercise, it is important to set your shoulders up properly before lifting)
  2. Bend your knees so that the bar begins just above your knees

Photo 2 deadlift









Before lifting, squeeze your back muscles together to switch on multifidus (as previously described). Make sure you keep your back straight, and lift the bar using your gluteals

Keeping multifidus on, by continuing to squeeze the back muscle, and your knees a little bit bent, allow the bar to slide down the thighs until you feel a pull in the back of your thighs (hamstrings).

Photo 3 deadlift









Keeping your back straight, using your gluteals, tuck your bottom in and allow the bar to slide back up your thighs to the starting position.

Photo 4 deadlift









If you feel this exercise in your back at any stage, either the weight is too heavy for your gluteals and multifidus or the technique is not correct. You should be able to maintain contraction of multifidus throughout this exercise. If you can not, don’t slide the bar down the thighs as much when performing the exercise or reduce the weight or both.

Author: Michael Dermansky

Michael has now been working in physiotherapy for over 20 years, since graduating from Melbourne University in 1998 and is even more passionate about getting the best outcomes for clients than he was then. Michael is always studying and looking for new and innovative ways to improve the service at MD Health, including and not limited to the ideas from the fitness industry and great customer service companies. In his spare moments, he loves spending time with his two children, Sebastian and Alexander and hopefully taking them skiing more and more often.

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