The deadlift is the first move you need to learn in order to do any powerlift. As a CrossFitter, Power Lifting is a key component of the workout, and one of the things that make people cringe at the idea of CrossFit. Many people cringe because there a lot of Boxes that don’t put in the proper time and effort into teaching the techniques used to perform the lifts. The first left you must master is the dead lift, and as simple as picking something up off the ground may sound, it is way more complex. Here are some yoga poses which can help you engage the hamstring, stretch the hamstring and prepare the body for the balance needed to perform an awesome deadlift.
Its like wall sits, but without the wall to lean on. This helps to activate the core more which is needed in a deadlift, as well, as helping to improve your balance.
Keeping your knees over your ankles bend your knees to 90°. Hold.
Wide Legged Chair Pose
If you are looking to take your chair to the next level, then try this. It will gently open the hips while strengthening the inner leg line at the same time. The contradicting forces help to increase the cardio and strength levels. This pose puts you in the exact same position as you are in a deadlift
Take your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and bend your knees to 90°. Hold.
Hand to Thigh Crunch
This can be as easy or as difficult as you want it to be. Your abs are a huge part of getting a good deadlift, because your core needs to be tight if your don’t want to blow your back out.
Lying on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor; take your hands to your thighs. Lifting the feet up off the floor, press your thighs into your hands. Begin to press back with your hands until you feel some heat building up in your abdomen.
Active Forward Fold
Forward folds are great for getting a good stretch, but add this prop, and you have completely changed this pose. For those of you who don’t know, I love props, and hate it when someone thinks they are too advanced for a block or a strap. Normally in a forward, fold you are stretching out the hamstring and your back is pretty relaxed, however here, everything changes just by adding the strap.
Placing the strap under your feet, bring your feet together, and grab the ends of the strap with your hands. Straighten out your back and engage your entire back, pulling up with your low back and back with your upper back. As you lift, your hips will want to come forwards to help you stand up. Keep them back by activating your hamstrings and driving down with your heels.
Your core is not just abs, your low back is a huge part of your core, and something often over looked. Cobras are kind of like a modified superman. Your low back is part of the posterior chain which is what a deadlift really focuses on working, however as most people over look the low back when working core, they also overlook it when working the posterior chain.
Laying facedown on your belly palms down by your side inhale and lift the chest up. Do not press yourself up with your hands, just use the low back. Hold here. If you want to make it a bit more challenging, then the legs as well, balancing on your hips and abdomen.
Transition from forward fold to standing
As simple as this sounds this is probably one of the most effective ways I have found to engage my hamstrings using just my body weight. It also helps improve balance, and starts of with a hamstring stretch.
Starting in a standing forward fold, bend the knees 1 inch, and let your weight shift into the heels and into the back of the leg. Keeping your balance, roll up to standing straightening out one vertebrae at a time. The slower you go the more your hamstrings will feel this.
Wall Assisted Hamstring Stretch
For those of you who have super tight hamstrings and believe that you will never in a million years touch your toes, here is an alternative. This will feel amazing down your entire back as it is a great stretch for your oblique’s, your low back, your lats,your hamstrings, your chest, and your shoulders, and is all around heaven for those of you who need a good stretch.
Place both hands on the wall at shoulder height or higher. Walk your feet back bending at the hips until your hamstrings start to stretch out. Then pull your chest down towards the floor, and let your head hang, as you slowly open up the shoulders, and stretch out the upper body. Continue driving the heels into the ground and letting your hips travel back tilting the pelvis up.
One Legged Bridge
This is an awesome way to work both your hamstring in one leg while simultaneously working the quad and hip flexor in the other leg.
Lying on your back knees bent, feet flat on the floor hips distance apart. Lift one leg up in the air keeping it straight and foot flat like your walking on the ceiling. Lift your hips up. Repeat, then switch.
I’ve mentioned the need for engaging the hamstring, but there is also a huge hamstring stretch when setting up the deadlift.
You can sit or stand. Keep the legs completely straight. Walk your hands down your legs towards your feet until you feel the stretch and hold.
This may not sound like it is going to help you with deadlifts, but remember that deadlifts do have a pretty intense hamstring stretch involved. This pose also has a lot of quad activation involved, so it can help serve as a warm up for your deadlifts.
Placing your hand down at one end of the mat, step your feet back to the other end of the mat. Tilting the pelvis up to the ceiling, let the head hang, and drive the heels towards the ground.
Deep Hamstring stretch
For those of you who regularly stretch your hamstrings this stretch isolates the hamstring from the calf to give you an awesome stretch to relive the post WOD soreness.
Laying on your back keep your Right leg out, foot on the ground. Bend your Left knee taking hold of the back of your Left knee with your Left hand, and Left Big toe with your Right hand. Keeping the left knee centered on your chest and pulled in close, use your Right hand to pull the left foot up straightening out the Left Leg until you feel the stretch.