Sandbag Exercise: Deadlift
If you’re wanting to build incredible strength in your posterior chain, no sandbag exercise is better than the deadlift. In addition to building strength and muscle, the deadlift is an important exercise for bulletproofing your back from injury.
Next to the Squat, the Deadlift is one of the most essential exercises for full body strength and conditioning. The Sandbag Deadlift has the added benefit of a shifting weight to increase core activation and engagement. Additionally, since the weight is soft, you can keep it as close to your body as you like, further encouraging good form.
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STEP 1: With your feet shoulder width or closer apart, place the sandbag di-rectly in front of you either on your feet or directly in front of your toes. Bend at the hips keeping your shoulders back, chest proud, and spine neutral.
Push your hips behind you by bending your knees slightly to maintain a neutral spine. Grab the handles with a neutral grip (palms facing each other).
STEP 2: Keeping your chest proud, shoulders back, and arms locked, grip the handles tightly and begin rising by pushing your hips forward. The sandbag should be scraping against your shins during the motion.
STEP 3: At the top of the rep your entire body should be in alignment with your shoulders stacked over your hips which are in turn stacked over your knees and ankles. If you need to, pull your shoulders back and tuck them to ensure good posture.
STEP 4: Reverse the motion and maintain good alignment while you descend. Hinge at the hips and push them behind you to keep the sandbag as close to your body as possible.
Tips and Safety
The most common error with this exercise is confusing it with the Squat. With the Squat you’ll be engaging your quads; with the Deadlift, you should be engaging your hamstrings.
If you don’t feel a stretch in the back of your legs as you descend with each rep, chances are that you are bending your knees too much and using your quads rath-er than your posterior chain. Remember, hinge at the hips, not the knees.
Unless you’re posing for a photo prior to lifting the weight, there is no reason to look forward during the lift. Seeing yourself in a mirror is not as important as maintaining good spinal alignment. Cocking your neck back can be avoided by using the cue, “tuck your chin.”
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Mark de Grasse
Mark de Grasse is the owner of MegaMad Industries, a website design firm specializing in comprehensive solutions for small businesses. He is also a former executive of Onnit Labs, former founder and editor of My Mad Methods Magazine, and a dedicated father and husband to a growing family. Learn more at www.MarkdeGrasse.com