Thursday, April 4, 2013

Deadlift joy

In writing a post about deadlifting, I have to give a shout out to one of the regular commenters over at Alpha Game and Vox Popoli, Josh. His short answer to everything health, weight loss, and body building is the deadlift. When I read his name prior to his comments, I read, in my mind, "deadlift Josh."

Being the kind of person who makes the effort to take people's advice and try their suggestions, I have been deadlifting for about seven months.

There are numerous Benefits of Deadlifting:
The primary benefits of deadlifting are increased strength and muscle mass. Because deadlift is a compound movement it utilizes nearly every major muscle of your body as well as the small stabilizer muscles in your body. Muscles trained by the deadlift:
  • Core (abs and obliques)
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Forearms
  • Spinal Erectors
  • Lower Back
  • Middle and Upper Traps
  • Calves
and to a smaller extent the Deadlift works your:
  • Biceps
  • Quads
  • Lats
So doing a deadlift is almost like doing  a leg press, a back extension, a lying leg curl, a abdominal crunch, a gripping exercise, a straight-arm pull down and a shrug all at the same time. Yep, its one hell of a compound lift.
Another great reason for deadlifting is testosterone and growth hormone release. Studies have shown that heavy lifting in compound lifts like the deadlift use the most muscle groups and thus release the most of these 2 crucial chemical compounds.

More medically knowledgeable individuals can weigh in here but it is my experience the deadlift greatly improves my mood. Having done a bit of research into growth hormone and the symptoms of growth hormone deficiency, this would make sense:

Symptoms of Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency

A person who has too little adult growth hormone will have symptoms that include:
  • A higher level of body fat, especially around the waist
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Changes in the make up of the blood cholesterol. People with adult growth hormone deficiency have higher than normal levels of low-density lipoproteins in comparison to their high density lipoproteins. They also tend to have higher triglyceride levels. (Triglycerides are another type of fat that circulates in the blood and contributes to blocked blood vessels.)
  • Decreased sexual function and interest
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of being isolated from other people
  • Greater sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Less muscle (lean body mass)
  • Less strength, stamina and ability to exercise without taking a rest
  • Reduced bone density and a tendency to have more bone fractures as they get older
By no means am I attempting to prescribe a treatment for any medical condition you may be suffering. Instead this is a personal testimony that you may do with as you please. I attribute so much of the success I've had in maintaining a calm and pleasant demeanor to lifting heavy things. When I do take some time off, RLB will remind me of how well I feel after lifting. He'll actually say my own words back to me, "when you feel off, nothing gets you back on track than throwing some iron around."  It's true.

My personal record (PR) for deadlifts is 198 pounds. That puts me at the intermediate level for deadlift standards, so I'm no beast. I achieved 198 recently with the help of one of the regulars at the gym. He saw me fail with my prior PR, 193 lbs., and scolded me, "What are you doing? That's not how you get a PR." He proceeded to add two 2.5 lb plates to my bar. "There, same weight, I've added nothing, now get it." So, I did. "See, that's how you get a PR!"

Now, being a 38 year old woman, I've finally accepted the fact that there are some Crossfit WOD's that I'm just not suited for. Having to take time off to tend to the inflammation in my knees has helped me realize I'm not a spring chicken anymore. So, I go to the Crossfit gym during open gym times and remain pretty inconspicuous. When a WOD is "for time," to me that means SD time. When running while holding heavy things is listed, I row instead. And, box jumps have become step ups for me. But that is the beauty of this type of workout. It can be scaled to meet any fitness level or condition. "It's supposed to hurt" but it's not supposed to injure.

The other day I was about to load the bar when a guy behind me asked if I'd like him to leave his 45 lb bumper plates there for me to use. I laughed and said, "sure, though I'm not sure how I'll get them back off the bar after the workout." He said, "it's okay, it'll be your second workout." No kidding. I normally load the bar with 25, 15, and 10 lb bumper plates because the arm/wrist muscles it requires to slide a 45 lb plate on to the bar are ones I'm still working on strengthening.

So I did the workout; 20 reps at 143 lbs., 10 reps at 153 lbs., and 5 reps at 163 lbs. And, sure enough, when I was finished, I had nothing left to move those damn 45's. So I, the blonde lady who tries to be incognito, sat down by the middle of the bar, put both feet on the plate and leg pressed the plate off the bar.


And...a roar of laughter.

Unbeknownst to me, all the guys were watching me achieve this feat. The owner was buckled over laughing and exclaimed, "SD...what are you...I've never seen..." to which I smiled and said, "I'm just being innovative..." But hey, it's done.

Anyway you need to do it, ladies, go get it done for yourself. You'll feel so great.


  1. Instead of "I'm just being innovative," you could have said, "It's a functional movement."

  2. I wish I had a quicker wit for times like these, however, there will surely be a next time so I'll have to remember that retort.

  3. Good for you SD. Weights are so under rated when it comes to women's fitness, but I find that nothing gives you the beautiful lines and definition that you get from pumping iron. Cardio activities like running will burn off the fat, but it won't change your body shape like weights will.

    I don't powerlift, but years ago when I had a gig as a sports reporter I was assigned to follow a powerlifting couple who competed in natural competitions all over the U.S. The woman was probably 5'2" and 120 pounds but could deadlift over 200 and chest press close to that amount. She was in great shape and I thought it was cool that they had a hobby they could enjoy together.


  4. I love deadlifting!

    We've been working out with a trainer using a 'superslow' protocol for the past couple years, and the one thing I miss doing only machines is deadlifts. We've finally found a gym we like that has a great olympic lifting setup so as soon as my hip gets better I can get back to it!

    There's really nothing like moving heavy weights around to give yourself a euphoric high. Also, being strong feels awesome. Oddly though, being stronger has made me more appreciative of men helping me with physical tasks that are beyond my abilities.

  5. 200 is a good pull for a girl! Particularity for crossfit. I've known maybe 5 ladies over the years who pull close to 3 and still look like ladies.


  6. My new job has a gym available. Been loving lifting weights again. Amazing what it does for you both physically and psychologically.

    I've never done deadlifts, but may have to try it now.

    Interesting, I've been reading Laura Ingles Wilder's "Farmer Boy" to my son. At one point, Father picks up a 250 lb bale of hay "with ease."


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