The deadlift is an awesome movement for developing brute strength. It emphasizes the posterior chain consisting of the glutes, hamstrings, spinal erectors, as well as trains the upper back and abdominals.
Far too often, people think they can deadlift from the floor, but they can’t. Whether it be a mobility, motor control, or just plain sub-par technique issue, not everyone is made to deadlift from the floor.
If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my guest post, Everyone NEEDS to Deadlift on Tony Gentilcore’s site found here. It made Best Fitness Article of the Week and made the list for one of the Best Fitness Articles of the Year in 2016 for the Personal Trainer Development Center (PTDC).
With that being said, a quick and easy test to see if you should be deadlifting from the floor is:
Can You Touch Your Toes?
Now, before the hate e-mail and comments start flying about touching your toes is not the same as deadlifting, here me out.
I first heard of this test from the people over at Functional Movement Systems. The Toe Touch test is not a test of hamstring flexibility or the way you should be deadlifting.
It is much more than that.
The test determines whether or not you have the ability to posteriorly weight shift. The posterior weight shift aka the hip hinge, is imperative to be able to perform for deadlifting from the floor.
If you can’t touch your toes, here are some quick and easy drills that can improve your toe touch.
Toe Touch Progression
-Place towel roll between knees.
-Perform slow and controlled.
-Make sure to squeeze towel roll throughout the movement.
-Focus on pushing your hips backwards.
Leg Lowering Progression
Supine Core Activated Active Straight Leg Raise
There are also many other exercises to assist with the toe touch assessment, but these are just a few.
Now, if you performed one of those movements and now you can touch your toes, get after deadlifting from the floor, as long as you can do it with proper technique.
If your toe touch improved, but isn’t ideal OR you still can’t touch your toes, all is not lost!
There are still ways to train the posterior chain without deadlifting from the floor.
Here are a few options:
Trap Bar Deadlifts
Barbell Hip Thrusts
Glute Ham Raise
Cable Pull Thrus
Kettlebell Elevated Deadlift
Barbell Supine Bridges
Just because you can’t touch your toes and/or deadlift from the floor doesn’t mean you can’t train the hip hinge pattern. There are a multitude of movements that you can perform to get a great training effect without placing increased risk on your body. The toe touch assessment is a quick and easy tool to determine your starting point.
Here I will be writing and posting about topics ranging from physical therapy, injury prevention/reduction, and strength and conditioning.