September was National Yoga Month (yes, we were late to celebrate). But with all the benefits this ancient art form can offer to almost everyone on earth – from flexibility to mindfulness – more attention should be paid to yoga in the other 11 months.
All it takes is 90 minutes a week of sun salutations and down-facing dogs – whether at home or in the studio for the health benefits to kick in, studies say. Yoga can help increase the levels of antioxidants in your blood while also supporting your immune system. From then on, yoga will help you maintain a healthier heart (lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar), improve your mental clarity, while reducing back pain and increasing flexibility.
But can it help you create a new deadlift PR? Maybe not, but a few yoga moves can go a long way in preventing a lower body injury from derailing your workouts for long periods of time. Studies have shown that lower back, knee, and hamstring injuries are among the most common deadlift injuries.
Where to start and what to avoid
According to Alo Moves trainer Josh Kramer, it only takes about five to ten minutes for a good and effective warm up before you start stacking plates. Kramer says that when deadlifting, especially heavy lifting, it takes maximum muscle contraction, particularly along the hamstrings, to complete each exercise. This is why he also says that it is advisable to stay away from overstretching, which does exactly the opposite.
“Avoid that before lifting,” says Kramer. “It is important to warm up to make sure your muscles are flexible and your joints are flexible, but this is not the time to focus on long-term muscle stretching and flexibility work.”
All it takes, he says, is a quick warm up to help keep your muscles, ligaments, joints, and connective tissue more flexible.
He suggests these four yoga stretches to help prepare your lower body for deadlift day: