T Nation

Deadlift Good, Hernia Bad

I’m sorry to say that I have avoided the deadlift and cleans since I started training. It was not out of fear but lack of knowledge, why do something if you can’t do it right?

It turns out that someone in my office saw me on this site and asked what it was about. After chatting awhile he told me that the guy he trains with used to be a competitive power lifter. To make a long story I went to his gym and learned the proper forms for the dead and cleans. I have never felt this in back before. Sometimes I’m sore in the traps, sometimes the lats, today everything from my ass up to my traps is screaming at me, “THIS HURTS BUT WE LOVE IT” Do you have any idea how long it takes me to sit down on the pot? Getting off of my throne is like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon 2.

All that being said, I love the dead and want to incorporate it into my program. I was reading more about it and something that I came across scared me a bit. Don't do heavy deadlifts unless you have strong abs. Your guts will push through the stomach (a la hernia) unless you abs are strong. My abs aren't really weak but does anyone know of any preventative measures for avoiding a hernia? Yea I know, build up the abs, but until they are very strong throw me a bone. By the way, I refuse to wear a belt.

Don’t even worry about hernias. Hell, I had double hernia surgery about fourteen or fifteen years ago, they slapped in some steel mesh and all that, and I’m squatting and deadlifting more today than ever in my life. It’s all about building up slowly but steadily, and yes, correct form sure helps. But please don’t NOT deadlift or not perform any other core lift 'cause you’re worried about hernias. That would be like not going out of the house 'cause a car may hit you; gotta live.

“It’s all about building up slowly but steadily, and yes, correct form sure helps.”

John hit it right on the head. We’re often either in too much of a hurry OR want to show off with big weights (hey…we’ve heard it often on this site, and seen it in the gym; you know, the “1 inch” squat guys…). Keep the body tight, keep the lift under control, use good form and LAST BUT NOT LEAST: use a weight where you can use good form and a full range of motion. You should be fine.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

Krak(er Jack)…don’t be afraid, my man, and don’t let thoughts like that cross your noggin’. They’ll only hold ya back. Listen to my man Johnny K and the Lion King…they know wassup. Get your form down and attack the stack and progressively overload! For what it’s worth, Timbo had a liver biopsy last Friday, back in the gym Tuesday and doing heavy Squats (5*5) on Wednesday…sure, some nasty thoughts crossed my mind before hitting the weights, but once I got under the bar it was go time! Stupidity? Foolishness? Or Guts? Dunno.

In short, train your abs to be strong as hell! Do heavy roman chair situps, spread eagles, rope pulldowns, etc…a great exercise to condition your abs to push out while DLing and squatting is to lay on the ground face up and put a dumbell or plate on your stomach and practice pushing it up and holding it with your abs. Go to Dave Tate’s site and read every ab article he and louie wrote. Don’t piss away your time with high rep, isolated ab crunch exercises. Work your hip flexors and abs as one and learn to push that gut out!

Strong abs won’t do a whole lot for you unless you know how to utilize them correctly. I suggest you re-read Paul Chek’s series of articles “Back Strong and Beltless.”

and one more thing!.. be careful that your pants don’t fall down.

I know everyone has their own opinion but I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my deadlift technique when given abs the following consideration (as per Ian King): Design a phase (2 to 4 weeks) where abs are the first thing you work during your workout. Contrary to popular belief this will not make your abs to tired to support your deadlift work out as abs are only stablizers not primary movers when deadlifting. Perform exercises working the lower abs (hip flexion) and upper abs (torso flexion). Start your ab stength training phase with control drills followed by drill using loads. The most important aspect of all this (contrary to other opinions) suck your lower abs IN when deadlifting or squatting. This sets the hip in the proper position and maintains a neutral back alignment. Think about the logic - sucking in the lower abs creates a column of support for the spine. How do I know this is the correct approach. I used to have a bad back (chiropractor visits every 2-3 wks) and was unable to deadlift. After using the approach described above I have visited the chiropracto once in the last 18 months and deadlift on a regular basis. One more important deadlift technique to save your back, (which most people do not do) KEEP YOUR SCAPULA BACK. This will save your upper/mid back. Again, how do I know? First hand experience with injury when not following the proper approach versus no injury when inplementing the correct approach.

Don’t deadlifts actually strenghen abdominal muscles? ive herd of people who dont do any ab focused work cuz lifts like that work them for em