Tacoma Boot Camp- Why We Deadlift

I do my own lifting after I run BeFit Tacoma Boot camps. Here’s one of my best pulls.


When I created BeFit Tacoma boot camp I knew that I had several goals in mind – create a Tacoma personal training system that avoided the pitfalls of traditional personal training, leverage my ability to be the best Tacoma  

tacoma-personal-trainer dont' do this

How NOT to be a Personal Trainer

personal trainer while still being able to train clients that weren’t extremely affluent, and drastically increase the amount of lives I’m able to touch without sacrificing any of the training concepts I feel are important.  Many Tacoma boot camps I have seen lack the attention to detail that is critical and often have a quantity over quality feel to them.

tacoma-boot-camp space jam

I know nothing about sports so here's my A team. SPACE JAM!!!

The key to any good Tacoma boot camp is injury prevention. You can’t train if you can’t move and having tons of clients that are all too injured to work out is like having a team of the world’s best athletes that are all injured and can’t make it out onto the field. Warming a bench doesn’t win you trophies! The biggest injury that I see is lower back pain. As a Tacoma personal trainer it is by far the highest complaint next to knee injuries, closely followed by shoulder injures.  In fact, this weekend I saw an 82 year old woman with two herniated discs who seemed to have every kind of pain you could imagine.  Hip pain, low back pain, shoulder pain, etc…she’d been working with Tacoma physical therapists, Tacoma chiropractors, and Tacoma doctors.  Now clients in pain are not my favorite clients to take but after you help enough people word gets out and you start getting some very special case referrals. I try not to make promises about regarding pain; my goal for someone like that is to help them get fit while avoiding further injuries to the areas that bother them.  If our training helps them feel better then that’s a plus and I’m happy; we’ll talk more about that in a different blog post.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time learning from some of the top professionals in the industry for training the lower back and core. Don’t forget your low back is part of your core. Sometimes people say they want to tighten up their core, and I want to pat them on the back and shout super loudly, “I’m really glad you’re into toning your low back up! Thank goodness I finally found someone who wasn’t all about looking in the mirror! I was beginning to think I live in a shallow world with no real people!”

In all seriousness, once you realize the core is pretty much what’s left of your body if you cut your legs and hands off, you’ll see that your core is really your shoulders, your low back, your chest, and your glutes.  It’s NOT just your abs. A strong core means being an unbreakable connection and that’s why the deadlift is one of the best exercises you can do for your core.

tacoma-boot-camp not a core exercise

This is in no way a complete core exercise

As a Tacoma personal trainer there’s nothing worse than seeing one of my clients leave with an injury. I know a lot of places like to deadlift with barbells. For the record, the deadlift is a great exercise with a scary name. When I first started learning to be a trainer, I was scared to do it, and if I was scared to do it I sure wasn’t going to have my clients do it.  But everyone kept saying the deadlift is such a great exercise…yadda…yadda….yadda…so I grabbed a curl bar and started my journey with a 55lb deadlift.  Unfortunately, that’s where I pulled one of my glute muscles and ended up with a little injury had me limping around, unable to do any lower body work for a month.

At the club where I worked, I asked several trainers about deadlifts. I got the two same answers. “I don’t like them; they’re hard so I don’t have my clients do it.” or “I haven’t figured them out so I don’t have my clients do them.”

tacoma-personal-trainer says this is a piece of cra

It doesn't matter how many digital displays you put on it a piece of crap is still a piece of crap!

Man! All these trainers at the big box Tacoma gym where I worked were scared of deadlifts! Deadlifts were like the exercise equivalent of Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street. No one wanted to mess with ’em!

Personally I don’t omit the exercise I don’t like or haven’t figured out how to do.

I figured out pretty fast that if we only did what we liked to we’d eat a lot of pizza and drink a lot of blue moon.

If we only did what was easy we’d probably do a lot of wall squat holds, stretching, and cardio on the most useless piece of machinery I’ve ever seen. The recumbent bike.

So I spent a long time studying the deadlifts, learning from other coaches, and learning a lot about powerlifting: the sport of deadlifting.

I combined what I learned with the information and coaching from the low back specialists and “corrective exercise” guru’s.  Not only did I discover that deadlifts are indeed great for you, but I learned several things you must do while deadlifting in any Tacoma personal training program or Tacoma boot camp.

1. It’s best between your legs.

Sounds dirty. Maybe it is……

Just kidding.  But I am very serious about this – the closer the bar is to the midline of your body, the less stress there is on your back.  Although we like the deadlift to strengthen the lower back, we don’t want to STRAIN the low back. There’s a difference. In a deadlift the back should stay in neutral (nice and flat) while the rest of the body moves up and down. The further the weight is in front of you, the worse your levers are, the more you’re over reaching, and the harder it is to stay flat with your low back.  Low back and staying flat are a whole different topic though. For now…JUST DO IT!

Using a kettlebell instead of a barbell helps with this problem because you can place the bell between your legs whereas the barbell has to go in front.

You could use a trap bar deadlift but there’s a certain downside to using that bar as well;  in a group, it doesn’t work well to change weights with the trap bar.

2.  For most people pulling from the floor is going to be a bad idea.

Everyone has different length legs. Everyone has different hip structures. Then why in the world would you expect everyone to pull from the floor? You have to pull from the floor if you’re in the sport of powerlifting.  I haven’t been asked to train any pro powerlifters, so at this point I’m not focusing on that move.

You have to check the hips, the low back, the hamstrings, the core tightness of the person, and then you have to modify the height for the individual. Now generally it’s not too, bad but once you get injured the pattern changes even if the pain goes away.

I’ve found most clients with back pain were getting too much movement at their low back and ran out of room in their hips.  So, though it sounds like a good idea to start light with someone if you’re using kettlebells, you need to elevate the bell because the smaller the bell is the lower it is on the floor and the more likely the person trying to learn the form is going to squat it or run out of room in their hips getting down to the bell.

tacoma-personal-trainer how not to deadlift

You can see how this bell is far too small to challenge her and also far too low to be a safe position for her to deadlift from


3. Every deadlift looks different.

I heard it said best that if you took a semi trucks, a sports car, and a hybrid car you would expect them all to drive differently. Then why in the world would you expect three different people to all look the same.  Bodies are unique. I’m running a results factory not a clone factory.

Once you’ve recognized the fact that each person is different, you can easily realize that some people will need more knees to get to the bell and some people will need less knees. I made this video with my Tacoma personal training team last Friday night. Because I am constantly creating video footage, this time I ran out of space on my Iphone.  You can still pick up a few nuggets in this viewing and learn some about Romanian deadlifts, reducing distance, as well how to get muscle rest in between reps which is KEY to low back pain.  More of that in another blog post.


I’m saving that for a rainy day and seeing as how it’s summer coming around the corner it might be a while before I get to that.

The Tacoma boot camp Deadlift take away

We use kettlebells to deadlift at BeFit Tacoma Boot Camp not because they are trendy, cool, expensive and colorful, but because they allow us to keep the weight in a less stressful position on your back.  The bigger bells reduce your range of motion.

You’ll have to check and see how your back position is as well as make sure that you aren’t getting too much motion in your low back. This is especially true for the pelvis which I didn’t fully understand until I saw low back biomechanics doctor Stuart Mcgill.

As a Tacoma personal trainer, keeping my clients out of pain is worth the investment of time and money it takes to help them realize their fitness goals.




, ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

4 × three =

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software