I use deadlifts to make my lower back stronger. When I was around 16 I pulled a muscle in my lower back bending over to pick up weights. That was a time when I would do those workouts in all the muscle magazines and be sore for days. I was young and didn’t know any better. I bent over to pick them up and it hurt. Since then I’ve always had some issues with my back.
This year I decided to start strengthening it. The more I learn, the more I see that deadlifts should’ve been part of my workout instead of things like bicep curls and tricep kickbacks. Old time strong men believed in the deadlift and clean and press as requirements to any lifting program. Lift things from the floor to overhead was their advice. If you’ve ever lifted anything heavy off the ground you can see why deadlifts are useful and a functional movement.
So this is how I started. I bought one of those standard barbells from the sporting good store. I already have a few plates laying around from years ago so I didn’t need a full weight set. That saved me some money, and can we all agree that saving money is good? Plus the bar says it can hold up to 300lbs. Since I doubted I would be at 300 lbs any time soon, or want to be, I figured it would last me a while. That’s the great thing about free weights. They will last forever. You may get a little rust on them, but that’s no big deal.
Now here’s the part where some might laugh. I started off with just the Barbell. It weighs 13 pounds. Some of you may say I should’ve started heavier and people I know did say that, but my goal is to make my back stronger without injury. I stayed on that 13 pounds, and let me tell you it did feel light. After I couldn’t stand how light it was any longer, I added 3 lbs. on each side. yep, thats a total of 19 pounds. The funny thing is I could curl 30 lbs. on one arm, but no injury and good form is my goal.
As time went on I added more weight. When I got up to 33 lbs. I could start to feel the weight and that is where all that practice started to pay off. My form is good, I don’t feel like I’m going to hurt myself and I’m on my way. As of 7-4-2012, I’m at 79 lbs. It’s taken me about 1 year to get here safely and with no setbacks. I up my weight every 6-8 weeks.
79 lbs feels heavy. Those guys that can deadlift 300+ lbs are monsters. I haven’t decided at what poundage I will stop and maintain, but I don’t think it will be that high. I read in the canadian manual that their standard for certain exercises is 180 lbs. Maybe I’ll stop there, when and if I get there. 🙂
photo credit: travelingmcmahans