The deadlift is the Grandaddy of all strength training movements. It’s a very basic, compound (multi-joint), ground-based exercise that builds full body strength. Performed correctly, this exercise can help you develop a crushing grip, solid core, strong back, thick traps, powerful legs, and protect your lower back from injury. However, if performed incorrectly it can lead to back injury, so learning the proper technique is a necessity!
Do you remember those old TV commercials for that home safety product called “LifeCall”, where an older lady is lying on the floor beside her walker shouting “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”? I know that line has been spoofed uncountable times, but the thought of not being able to move or lift your own body weight is kinda scary. That’s sort of how I feel about body weight strength training… it’s great to be strong in the gym, but if you can’t lift, push, or pull your own body weight, then that strength may have less functional carry-over to your daily life.
I’ve known for years that exercises that involve moving your own body have a high degree of nervous system and muscular activation, and I’ve always included exercises such as dips, pushups, and chin ups in my strength training routine. However, lately I’ve decided to take this style of training to the next level, by setting myself the goal of being able to perform single leg squats, handstand pushups, and muscle-ups.
Muscle-Ups are a challenging progression of chin ups and pull ups, involving pulling yourself up to an overhead bar (or gymnastics rings) and then transitioning into a full dip, pressing yourself up on the bar until your arms are fully extended.
As I discussed previously, one of my big performance related goals this year is to be able to perform a single leg Pistol Squat. I have never been able to perform this exercise with full range unassisted, and it would represent a big strength accomplishment for me. Part of my motivation to be able to perform exercises such as this has developed out of a shift in my approach to my own physical training routine, from primarily focusing on maximum strength toward concentrating more on full body conditioning, stability, and mobility.