How Well Do We Know Our Bodies?

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How well do we know our bodies? As athletes, we are able to do the most extraordinary things with our bodies. We can lift more than three times our bodyweight – in the sport of powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting – and even run for hundreds of miles. There are a few that have accomplished these types of feats and the rest of us are mesmerized by their capabilities. What makes these individuals unique? What makes them so special that we cannot be at that level? There are many factors that make these individuals different from the rest, but one of those factors is the ability to understand the body from a mechanical perspective. More specifically, understanding the body’s mechanical leverages when performing a deadlift.

We are all unique. The anatomical structure of how we were made gives us certain advantages. A great example – and one that I will be sticking to for the remainder of my post – of anatomical, structural advantages is in the sport of powerlifting. Limb lengths play a crucial role for the sport and anatomical leverages are the key factor that influence one’s performance. For example, if you have a long torso, long arms, and short legs, you will have a leverage advantage in your torso angle of the deadlift setup and the barbell will travel less distance because your arms are long enough, and your legs are short enough, for an early hip lockout of a deadlift. This goes back to what I asked, “How well do we know our bodies?” When we are coached a certain way to perform a deadlift, we develop competency in the movement patterns and we then become able to lift the weight from point A to point B. But then, after a while, we hit a roadblock. Our bodies break down in technique – after lifting significantly heavy weight – and we reach a plateau in strength. How is this possible?
Understanding leverages and positioning of our setup in the deadlift can have a significant impact on how much we can lift. For this post, I will leave you with a couple of things to think about before you head to the gym for some good ol’ deadlifts. What is the length ratio between your torso and your legs?

1. Do you know how to activate you latissimus dorsi?
2. How low do you sit in your deadlift setup?
3. How far apart is your stance (conventional deadlift)?
4. How far is the bar from your shins, before you come down into your deadlift setup?
5. Do you know how to find the length tension in your hamstrings?
6. Have you tried altering your current setup to see any difference in performance?

There will definitely be a part 2 that goes in depth about the deadlift setup and how you can adjust your setup based on your anatomy.

Coach Omar