The Yogi’s Guide to Deadlifting – Jenni Rawlings Yoga & Movement

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It turns out that as strange as the name may seem, a deadlift is actually a quintessential strength training exercise that nearly all weightlifters do on a regular basis. At its essence, a deadlift consists of picking up a low-lying “dead” (stationary) object from the floor.

Just as nearly all yoga practitioners know the familiar flow of sun salutation A, deadlifts are an almost second-nature exercise to nearly all weightlifters. And for good reason! Deadlifts are a perfect and effective choice for:

  • Building posterior chain strength (think stronger hamstrings, glutes, and spinal extensors)

  • Developing upper body pulling strength

  • Improving grip strength

  • Generally preparing the body to pick heavy items up off the floor

It’s noteworthy that this list of benefits consists of qualities that are all conspicuously absent from a traditional yoga practice. In general, yoga’s potential to strengthen the posterior chain is rather limited, upper body pulling work is almost nonexistent, and grip strength drills are simply not a part of the traditional yoga asana lexicon. And unless a yoga class features some very creative partner work variation in which one yoga student attempts to lift another student off their yoga mat, we simply don’t have the opportunity to practice lifting objects up off the floor in yoga.

For yoga practitioners who might be looking to fill in some of the strength gaps that their practice doesn’t cover, then, a deadlift is an ideal place to start!

Another consideration for yogis regarding deadlifting is that because deadlifts strengthen the hamstrings, they can be a potentially helpful exercise for combatting a condition called proximal hamstring tendinopathy, or high hamstring pain. In the yoga world, this condition is so common that it’s sometimes casually referred to as “yoga butt.” Having strong hamstrings may protect against developing yoga butt, and deadlifts can be an effective means to this goal.

Get Started With Your Deadlift

When it comes to learning how to deadlift, yogis have a bit of a “leg up” compared to most folks. You see, executing a skillful deadlift requires that we understand how to hip hinge. The hip hinge is strength training jargon for a forward bend with a flat back.

Luckily for yogis, hip hinging tends to come relatively naturally because the hip hinge movement pattern is already a built-in ingredient in countless yoga asanas and transitions. Every time we swan dive forward into uttanasana from tadasana, we are hip hinging. Downward facing dog is a hip hinge. And yoga’s hip-hingey halfway lift, or ardha uttanasana, very closely resembles a classic variation of a deadlift called a Romanian deadlift.

#Yogis #Guide #Deadlifting #Jenni #Rawlings #Yoga #Movement

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