5 Essential Insights about Deadlifting for Health and Performance Professionals

Sean Hiller
February 2, 2024
min read

The deadlift is a fundamental lift integral to human movement. As a physical therapist, strength and conditioning coach, and Olympic lifting coach, I can attest to its importance. This blog post delves into the "5 Essential Insights about Deadlifting for Health and Performance Professionals." Understanding and applying deadlift techniques is crucial, whether for personal training or in a rehabilitation setting.

1. Deadlifting is Beneficial for Low Back Health

The deadlift has been slandered across the healthcare community as a movement to avoid because it is bad for your back. Contrary this misconception within the healthcare community, deadlifting is not detrimental to your back. Properly executed, it's one of the most effective exercises for spine stabilization and low back strengthening.

2. Rounded Back Deadlifting - Not a Dire Mistake

There's much debate about the ideal back position during deadlifting. Despite prevalent beliefs, deadlifting with a rounded back does not inherently cause back pain. A key aspect is maintaining a consistent spinal position throughout the lift. For instance, many powerlifters deadlift with a rounded back but maintain a well-braced spine, allowing them to lift substantial weights safely.

3. Deadlifts - More Than Just a Hinge Exercise

Deadlifting, squatting, and pressing are versatile movements that serve numerous training and rehabilitation purposes beyond low back engagement. For example, deadlifting can effectively train or treat conditions like plantar fasciitis by generating significant electromyography (EMG) activity in the foot's arch. This requires a deep understanding of the exercise's nuances by the coach or practitioner.

4. Heavy Deadlifting - Not Inherently Harmful

The notion that heavy deadlifting is harmful is a misconception. Heavy lifting, relative to individual capacity, can be beneficial for bone and muscular health, body awareness, and overall strength, contributing to injury resilience.

Often we hear someone hurt their back simply because they were lifting too much weight. This may or may not be valid. We know that anytime training shifts from recreational, health and wellness focused to sport performance, the odds of injury significantly increase. With that being said, you can lift a heavy weight without turning the deadlift into sports performance training. Heavy weight is relative to the person. Proper progression and form can help prevent injury.

Deadlifting heavy is incredibly advantageous to your bone health, your muscular health, your body awareness, and your overall strength which might be your greatest resilience to any injury or disease.

5. Deadlifting: Highly Recommended for Older Adults

Contrary to common beliefs, older adults should engage in deadlifting. It's proven to be beneficial for bone health, muscular strength, power training, and overall physical well-being. In fact, it could be argued that deadlifting is essential for older adults.


In conclusion, these insights shed light on the importance and versatility of deadlifting for coaches, physical therapists, chiropractors, and healthcare practitioners. If you're interested in mastering the deadlift for yourself or your clients, our Vulcan Movement Systems course, "The Deadlift in Depth," offers comprehensive guidance on this important movement pattern.

The Deadlift in Depth - An Educational Opportunity

Join us for an educational event at Vulcan Performance & Physical Therapy, titled "The Deadlift in Depth," this Saturday, January 27th, at 8 am CST. This comprehensive course will be held in-person at our Vulcan Performance facility in Mountain Brook, Alabama. There is also an option to join online live for those who prefer the comfort of their home. Designed to last 2 hours, this session is not just informative but also interactive.

We're excited to offer 2 Continuing Education Units (CUs)* for a diverse range of health professionals including coaches, trainers, physical therapists, chiropractors, physicians, and other health experts. The course is specifically tailored for physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, coaches, trainers, fitness professionals, occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, chiropractors, physicians, and athletic trainers.

To ensure a hands-on experience, attendees should wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes. The course includes practical sessions where you will have the opportunity to practice identifying and correcting improper form.

Don't miss this chance to deepen your understanding of deadlifting and enhance your professional skills. Whether you're a seasoned practitioner or new to the field, "The Deadlift in Depth" at Vulcan Performance & Physical Therapy offers valuable insights and practical knowledge for all.

Click here for more information and to register now.

Sean Hiller