Fitness Friday: Beware--only do deadlifts if you can do them correctly
*Editor's note: Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. He gives you a health and fitness tip or an exercise or stretch to get your body warmed up for the weekend. This week he discusses how to do deadlifts correctly or not at all. Look for Saturday Morning Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman
__Here's Ron:__Recently I asked top PGA Tour fitness trainer Ben Shear (back9fitness.com) about deadlifts. They have long been one of my favorite strengthening exercises for golfers--particularly dumbbell Romanian deadlifts because they allow you to train the sides of the body independently. Deadlifts strengthen the glutes, the hamstrings, the hip capsule, the shoulders, the back. They provide stability to your core and help fuel the explosive push-off movement golfers need to make through impact.
With all that in their favor, I figured Ben's response would be that he "loves deadlifts" and implements them in every golfer's workout. Instead, he told me this: "I rarely use them." Silence. "Most people don't do them correctly. So it ends up hurting them," he said. "So I don't really use them."
The biggest problem, Shear said, is that people don't bend at the waist. They don't stick their rear ends out and keep their backs straight as the weight drops down. Instead, their backs get rounded as they drop the weight down using their lower backs. They also need to keep their heads in alignment with their spines, he said. He does not like the head up.
If done correctly, however, deadlifts can be a great addition to your workout. Shear said he advocates golfers doing them if they get the form right. "The best way to perfect the form is to watch yourself from the side in a mirror," he said. "But again, I stress that if you can't do them right, don't do them at all."
To see me demonstrate how to do a Romanian dumbbell deadlift, click on the video below. Note, I'm keeping my head up in the video to check my form. But once you do the correct movement, Shear would prefer you keep your head down and in line with your spine.