When we look around these days, it is easy to feel like everything is moving in the wrong direction. Politicians are corrupt, the news is getting harder to trust, and existential threats – from global warming to nuclear war – seem to be around every corner.
It would seem like a contradiction, then, to say that we are objectively and inarguably living in the best times that humans have ever experienced. One of the reasons that things seem worse, now, is that we are more bombarded than ever by a media culture that focuses on the negative and downplays the positive. If the incentive structure was reversed, and positive stories were valued higher than the negative, we would be hearing about unbelievable advances that are happening every day in medicine, technology, and sociology.
I am happy to report that progress is happening at the local level as well. Individual communities and professions are making progress every day and are better now than ever before.
A simple thought experiment that validates this point is to simply ask yourself, would you rather have surgery today, or 100 years ago when doctors were still arguing whether or not it was safe to move from the morgue to the delivery room without washing their hands?
The progress being made in the field of physical therapy is the significant shift in focus away from a localized/individual muscle-based treatment approach to a movement-based treatment approach. This transition is exemplified by the resurgence of exercises like the deadlift. The deadlift is a movement that incorporates everything that we need, and everything that we are missing, from our usual movement patterns.
Nearly everything we do today strengthens and tightens the muscles on the front of our bodies – otherwise referred to the anterior chain. In other words, most of us demonstrate a flexion bias, a tendency to be slumped and rounded instead of upright and straight. Everything from driving in our cars to computer work sitting at our desks contribute to this bias, but very little in our lives helps us balance that out.
Insert the deadlift; this movement focuses almost entirely on the posterior chain, the muscles that help us extend and be strong and straight. This movement is safe when progressed correctly and can be done, in one version or another, by almost everyone.
Like almost any new exercise, it is highly recommended that you seek professional guidance before implementing this movement into your usual routine, but once you do, you will immediately notice the difference.