WOD 3/9/09

5 Rounds

400m Run

12 Deadlifts (M:225/W:155)

Simple, effective, brutal… Post times to comments.

Speaking of deadlifts, I am going to throw myself under the bus here for the sake of making you all better. Look at the attached pictures and see if you can spot a fault with my form. It’s a constant problem for me in the D/L and it causes instability and loss of power. Look over the pictures and analyze them, then scroll down and read on.

2/28/09 - Ian D/L at 255
2/28/09 - Ian D/L at 255


9/12/08 - Ian D/L at 300
9/12/08 - Ian D/L at 300

 Any ideas?


Let’s look at spinal positioning and it’s transference to power throughout the posterior chain. In both pics I am putting my spine in a very non-anatomically correct position by looking up and straight ahead. Instead, my head should be neutral, thereby putting my eyes and gaze down in front of me a couple of feet. By pulling the head out of it’s natural position and creating a weak link and kink in the spine, we lose the structural integrity and muscular rigidity required to maintain and transfer of power. This applies in a squat, deadlift, and presses – hell, pretty much any movement where some type of external load is being moved. The minute we take the head and/or any part of the spine out of it’s natural alignment, we lose power in the hips and weaken the structural integrity of our back. This will be reflected via reduced load, loss of power output and/or injury.

Want to prove it to yourself? Do some deadlifts at heavy weight with proper head/spine alignment locked in and looking down. Get to a point where you are working 5×5’s at close to your end range. Reps 4 & 5 should be getting hard. Rest up for a few minutes and go at it again, this time at your last couple of reps, go ahead and do the look at the wall thing and see how much harder tha pull feels. Unless you are a freak of nature, you should notice a difference. I did some very heavy deadlifts the other day and made a very conscious effort to keep my head neutral. The results were great and to try out the theory, I looked up and that bar seemed a helluva lot heavier.

As a final self throw down, in the second pic my ass is rising way too fast. Remember, hips and shoulders should rise up together at the same rate. Only when the bar passes the knee does the back straighten and the shoulders rise. When it’s heavy, we tend to either round our backs like crazy, or straighten out the legs way to early thereby leaving a massive lever arm in the back to move the weight the rest of the way up. You may get lucky like that once or twice, but don’t push your luck!

Any thoughts, questions or comments are welcome in the Comments section. Lift heavy, but lift right!

4 thoughts on “WOD 3/9/09

  1. Rick

    Well one obvious issue is the lack of tats! THis causing you to be not quite as cool as some one well like me! Good Info bruddha thanks. What the hell were the old-skool guys teaching back in the day to stare at the ceiling with deads and squats?

    Lastly thank you CFC for making a donation to Special Olympics. YOu guys contiue to blow me away with your consciousness in being human.

  2. Yes, Rick I am still working on being as cool as you…it’s a long process. As for the old school folks, a lotof that probably came about since it seems to help people drive up out of the hole at the bottom. By looking up, it tends to help some people “pull” themselves up, so they put their head there and keep it that way. The only time this head tilt may come about to some minor degree, may be in the front squat where the bar placement under the chin and high elbow position keeps the head up a bit more. Otherwise, the head needs to remain neutral to keep spinal alignment intact.

    You are welcome for the donation. I wish we could do more and once we get up and running a bit more, we will. Have fun and look out for shrinkage!!

  3. Justin – Thanks for the input, you’re right on the money. It was something that Allison brought up in the class the next day as we talked to the group about the pix. I didn’t really key in on it when I posted the pic, but peeps with a good eye, like you and Allison, could pick it out.

    I can go back to the neck issue putting me there as it visually changes my balance focal point, takes the fixed position & drive out of my hips, and starts to put me in a forward inclination of the torso, ass up and forward, etc. In really setting the head in a neutral position, I noticed more heel drive and the butt staying back down longer.

    After talking this point home, we hit the D/L’s in the WOD and everyone put up some killer numbers. It’s the small things that make the HUGE biomechanical difference.

    I hope all is well with you guys! Best regards to all of you at CFES!

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