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2 Quick Ways to Transform Your Deadlift

"What is the point of a deadlift?"

That's a question I fielded this week from a client. It was said with genuine curiosity, as well as a dash of skepticism.

And you know what? I get it.

Deadlifts get a bad name because stubbornness, brute strength, and an unbreakable will to see "dem gainz" can take you pretty far. Some people don't need good technique, or even much patience, in order to achieve a 1-2x bodyweight lift. Walk into any commercial gym and you'll see what I'm talking about. Heck, my early days of deadlifts would fall under this category too.

And this approach can work. Until it doesn't.

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"Realistic" Timelines: Patience in an Impatient World

The season of resolutions and goal setting is upon us.

I say that with neither excitement nor dread, but grounded in the reality that only 8% of individuals will stick to their resolutions. So while every situation is unique, there are common patterns that derail people from truly seeing progress.

The most common denominator? Unrealistic expectations.

And that just happens to be something I'm personally familiar with.

Admittedly, this is not an area I've written much about - besides my post on failing at the Beast Tamer Challenge in 2016. For those unfamiliar with my defeat at the hands of a kettlebell, I signed up four months prior to the event assuming I'd complete all three elements: a strict press, pistol (single leg squat), and strict pull-up, all with the 48 kg (106 lbs) kettlebell.

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Do You "Do" Kettlebells?

To the average gym-goer, kettlebells are often shrouded in mystique and confusion.

And to be fair, they look like cannonballs. But with handles. They're also usually in kilograms - and not to sound too much like Ricky Bobby - but this is America.

So I shouldn't be surprised that a few weeks ago I met a fellow fitness professional who asked if I "do" kettlebells.

Now, they could've simply misspoken. My inner grammar nerd can rear its ugly head, even as I struggle to end my own love affair with adverbs, commas, and bland verbs. I would've preferred "use," "lift," "work with," etc.

But based on the context of the conversation, it didn't appear this was just a matter of word choice.

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Overtraining or Under Recovering?

It's a vicious loop. Train, train too hard or too long, and now you're sidelined. Once healthy, train, train too hard, and you're sidelined again. If the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results, then I've been insane a few times over.

But I know others can relate.

We embark on a journey - usually too ambitious for our current self - only to be forced to take time off. We're either too sore, injured, or mentally burned out. Classic symptoms of "overtraining," right? I don't think it's all that simple.

Instead, we need to shift our focus. Because what if these symptoms weren't from overtraining? What if we're actually "under recovering?" And no, it's not just semantics.

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The Real "Core" Muscle

The more I listen to The Police, the more I realize they were just before their time. Yes, they sold 75 million records, were wildly successful, yadda, yadda, yadda. But most people don’t appreciate or fully comprehend the lyrics of “Every Breath You Take.”

Because every breath you take IS every move you make.

I know. Total Dad joke.

But I use my terrible sense of humor to highlight a critical point: most musculoskeletal issues arise from faulty breathing patterns. And for most people, a proper exhale will realign your pelvis and thorax by reestablishing the shape of your most important core muscle: the diaphragm.

I know, a lot of nerdy mumbo jumbo. But whether you're looking to get out of pain or you're just trying to build a bigger deadlift (and really, who isn't?), focusing on your thorax and your diaphragm will help. Let me explain.

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