Avoid “Deadlift Neck”

29 Nov

Lots of things can go wrong with the deadlift, so its as well to start off every lift as well set up as possible.

Frequently, better coaches will emphasise a “tight Core” (“brace those abs”) and use your legs  ( hamstrings/Glutes) to lift.

A head  cranked back undermines both of these effective lifting strategies. For a few years, I wasnt that bothered about clients having a neutral spine: I thought it was therapist “toss”. One therapist told me that ” you wouldnt walk with your neck back like that, so why lift like that ? ” Er, because its totally different!!!”

I’d trained with some “big” deadlifters who all cranked their necks up, and who spoke well of it.  Why change my view.

Well, all was going well, until I had “that client” the one who would not brace his  abs and maintain his lumbar curve. Try as I did, all my demands of “tight” “tighten up” “brace” fell on deaf ears. He assured me, though, that he was responding to all my cues: he was getting tighter and tighter. In fact he was so tight, it was giving him  a headache:

A What?

How does  getting a  “tight”  core give you a headache?  Then it dawned on me. By cranking his neck back, he felt a”tight” feedback (in his neck). The more I cued, the harder he tried to get a tension..in his neck.


I got his head neutral and we had that “light bulb” moment “Oh, you mean tight in my tummy”……….(Doah!!)

The second big reason was my realisation that cranking their neck back, were setting  up an artificial pre-lift pattern. Most people who crank their neck back, mentally lift with the neck, rather than focus on engaging their glutes.

Im sure there  are other reasons for not cranking your head back, but these are the 2 that mean most to me.

May I commend them to you


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