If you slouch you will feel weak and unconfident, not like a boss. Even if you have abs and a big chest. Good posture is sexier than nice abs anyways. In order to fix your posture, you have to stretch the front of your body and STRENGTHEN the back of your body. Check out the blog article I wrote entitled, Good Posture = Less Pain + Better Sex to know what stretches to do to loosen the front of your body (which is the first step).
If you fix your posture you will make you look better and drastically reduce the back pain you have because your body will be in the optimal and efficient position to move and breathe properly. The 3 exercises that I’ve used for clients to help virtually all of them fix their posture are:
Deadlift (entire posterior chain)
Prone Cobra (upper back and rear delts)
Band Pull Aparts, aka reverse flies (upper back and rear delts)
The key to these 3 exercises is consistency. Since we spend LOTS of time as humans in the forward position we have to combat this we have to strengthen the back of our bodies twice as much as we do our front. Yes, that means chest day is once a week and back day is twice a week…a big chest is nice but it looks RIDICULOUS if you have bad posture. It makes you look like a douche to be honest….but if that doesn’t motivate you then let’s see what the pros are doing.
World-renowned trainer, Joe DeFranco, makes the famous WWE wrestler, Triple H, work his back out twice a week mandatory every single week. He also had him do over 30,000 band pull aparts over the past few years (1). Case closed! Exercise your back twice as much as your front!
About the DEADLIFT, it’s the most important exercise. You MUST do it and you must do it correctly. Done wrong and it’ll ruin your life. Done right and it’ll change your life. .
Keys to remember with the prone cobra. Make sure to turn your palms up like you were holding a bowl of soup (supinate) which forces external rotation of the upper back. Point your thumbs toward the sky and HOLD for 30 seconds. Do this EVERYday for 30 days and at the END of your workouts, it’ll dramatically change the way you look.
When doing band pull aparts make sure to grab the bands underhand and make sure to do it slowly and SQUEEZE your shoulder blades together at the end. Do it slowly. Choose any rep range you want but do at least 3 sets.
Both of these will be useless without first doing deadlifts to strengthen your posterior chain. So, make sure to deadlift at least once a week. Don’t get mad at me for saying this but...if you aren’t deadlifting then you’re not doing sh** in the gym. Say, whaaaat? You heard me: IF YOU’RE NOT DEADLIFTING YOU’RE WASTING YOUR TIME IN THE GYM. Deadlifts are one of the most important exercises. That’s what this blog is about. The importance of deadlifting. They call it a deadlift because back in the day the Roman soldiers would lift up the bodies of the deceased after the war by bending down and picking them up.
When it comes to the subject of pain management and posture, the deadlift is an exercise avoided quite often because when done wrong it’ll destroy your back, but if done right it will give your body the foundation it needs to be strong from the inside out.
The thing is if you avoid deadlifts here’s what happens. Your low back and glutes will get weaker and weaker because of all the sitting you do as a modern human. When you sit you are flexed and the muscles responsible for flexion are the hip flexors and abs (among others).
Those 2 muscle groups (hip flexor and abdominals) when overly tight will cause the muscles opposite to them to relax. If done for extended periods of time they will shut off. It’s called reciprocal inhibition. It basically describes the process of muscles on one side of a joint relaxing to accommodate contraction on the other side of that joint. Kind of like when your bicep is flexed the tricep is relaxed...go ahead flex those guns and try it out ;)
The problem with this is: imagine that you spent hours a day flexing your biceps. After awhile it wouldn’t feel so good, right? Your biceps would probably get stiff, tight, and stuck in that position.This is what happens to our hip flexors and abs when we sit for long periods. And what muscles get shut off in the scenario of sitting? The LOW BACK AND GLUTES...OH NOOOOOO! This is not good if you want to be pain-free and have a sexy posture….
So, we MUST deadlift because that’s the best exercise for the core, low back, hamstrings and one of the best for the glutes. But if that didn’t convince you then here are just SOME of the MANY benefits of deadlifting:
Better POSTURE because it works the entire posterior chain and core
RECRUITS more muscles than any other basic lift
Increased HORMONE production (more muscles you recruit the more growth hormone gets spiked so the more testosterone you make which equals muscle repair and growth)
Burns more FAT (because of all the muscles recruited to do the lift)
Stronger hand shakes (GRIP strength)
Stronger BONES (increases the spine’s bone density, especially)
Translates to REAL life lifting scenarios (picking things up from the floor)
Helps you PREVENT INJURY by making you strong from the spine and core outward
Reduced LOW BACK PAIN (the stronger your core and posture the less damage to the spine while moving and sitting.
Hopefully, this convinced you that it’s a necessary exercise. Many trainers are so lazy that they don’t teach it because it requires skill, time, and energy to teach it properly. The deadlift will transform your body so you can look and feel like a boss! We already talked about the myriad of reasons why deadlifts are so important. Here are the tips you’ll need to execute it with perfect form and a solid foundation.
Tips for deadlifts done right (from TOP of the movement):
Use a dowel rod or broomstick tied around your waist and hoisted on your back from your head down to your butt to make sure you use good posture.
Make sure the pole is touching you at 3 points on your back (the back of your head, your upper back, and your butt). If at any point it’s touching only two points or one point then your posture is not correct so start over from the top of the movement.
Grab the bar with both palms down and act like you’re bending the bar (this forces external rotation of the shoulder putting them in a safe position).
Tighten your abs and butt as you stand completely straight (knees locked out and everything in alignment).
Feet straight (big toes at 12 o’clock) about two fists apart.
Screw your feet into the ground like they were...well screws...being drilled into the floor. Your feet will remain straight but you’ll notice your knees corkscrewing away from each other giving you more stability). You’ll know you did it right because the arches in your feet will get bigger not flatten.
With everything tightened and you screwing your feet into the ground: keep abs tightened (let go of squeezing your butt and initiate the bend)
Start the bend by hinging at your hips THEN bend your knees and keep tilting until the bar reaches your knees.
Once the bar reaches your knees you can sink your butt down while sliding the bar down your shins, to the floor and set the bar in its place.
All this is done while keeping your abs tight and holding your breathe using the valsalva maneuver until you’re done with the lift, which protects your spine.
IF AT ANY POINT THE DOWEL ROD OR POLE ON YOUR BACK IS NOT TOUCHING THREE POINTS THE START OVER BECAUSE YOUR SPINE ISN'T IN PROPER ALIGNMENT.
Tips for deadlifts done right (from BOTTOM of the movement):
Put the dowel rod or pole in place.
Bend down to bar and set feet straight about two fists apart.
Grab bar and act like you’re bending the bar which puts your shoulders in the right position (externally rotated), the back of your elbows should be pointing towards you.
Sink your butt down so your back is at a 45 degree angle.
Tighten your abs and make sure the pole is touching those same three points (back of head, upper back, and butt), don’t lift head up.
Take deep breathe in and hold it till the bar is back on the ground.
Lift butt up and feel the tension on your hamstrings while you push your knees out to activate the glutes.
Immediately after lifting your butt up you lift your chest up and pull the bar touching your shins with your back on all three points of contact to the pole/dowel rod.
Don’t forget to hold the breathe, keep the abs tight the entire time, and screw your hands into the bar like you’re trying to bend it.
At the top squeeze your butt to activate your hip drive (this is good for developing your sex thrust ;))
Start the movement from the top properly.
During the movement NEVER:
Let go of your breathe during the lift part (only at the bottom of the movement)
Disengage your abs
Stop screwing your feet into the ground
Stop screwing hands into the bar
Allow the pole to touch you on less than three points of contact
Point your feet out like a duck
Look up and hyperextend y