The Rack Athletic Performance Center

Proper Bracing

A proper brace can make or break a lift. Proper bracing can lower risk of injury by creating spinal stability through a certain range of motion e.g. hinge, squat, deadlift. Creating this stability also makes a lift more efficient by making sure there is minimal energy leak throughout the lift. To create a stable trunk, we need to take a deep breath into the stomach, push the ribs down, and expand the torso 360°. If you’ve never braced before, think of trying to get your stomach as firm as possible and poke around your torso to see if  everything feels tense. If you struggle building stability in the low back, practice by laying on the floor and pushing your lower back into the floor while bracing.

Latissimus Dorsi Engagement

Proper engagement of the lats throughout the deadlift can lead to a more stable spine and upright posture depending on your body’s leverages. An easy queue for engaging the lats can be done by squeezing your armpits closed. This can help maintain a neutral spine throughout the lift and can keep the barbell close to the body. Keeping the barbell close to the body is especially important since it will lower the moment arm from the barbell in relation to the hip which in turn will lower the shearing force on the low back. 

Barbell Slack

Lastly, don’t jerk the bar off the floor. In between the barbell and the plates is a small gap of space, this is called barbell slack. Getting rid of this space before you break the floor with your deadlift is another way to create a more efficient lift. This can be done by building as much tension between you and the barbell by going through the previous steps we talked about above, pushing away from the floor with your feet, and locking your upper back into position. If slack is pulled properly, then there should be an audible click with the barbell. These steps may seem like a lot at first, but once you do them a few times, it’ll be second nature and your body will thank you for it.

Hope this helps and reach out if you have any questions.

Matthew Walcott

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