September was National Yoga Month (yes, we were late to the celebration). But for all the benefits this ancient art form can provide for nearly everyone walking the Earth — from flexibility to mindfulness — more attention should be given to yoga the other 11 months.
All it takes is 90 minutes a week of sun salutations and downward dogs — whether following at home or at a studio for its health benefits to kick in, studies say. Yoga can help increase antioxidants levels in the blood while also helping your immune system. From there, yoga helps you maintain a healthier heart (lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar), improve your mental clarity, while also helping reduce back pain and increase flexibility.
But can it help you set a new deadlift PR? Maybe not, but a few yoga moves may go a long way toward preventing a lower-body injury from derailing your training sessions for an extended period. Studies have shown lower back, knee, and hamstring injuries are some of the the most common deadlift injuries.
Where to start an what to avoid
According to Alo Moves instructor Josh Kramer, all it takes is about five to 10 minutes for a good and effective warmup before you begin piling on plates. When it comes to deadlifting, especially heavy lifts, Kramer says you need maximum muscle contraction, especially along the hamstring muscles to complete each lift. It’s also why he says it’s wise to actually stay away overstretching, which does just the opposite.
“Avoid doing that before your lifting,” Kramer says. “It’s important to warm up to make sure your muscles are elastic and your joints mobile, but this is not the time to focus on long-term muscle elongation and flexibility work.”
All It takes, he says, is a quick warmup just to encourage limberness in your muscles, ligaments, joints and connecting tissue.
He suggests these four yoga stretches to get your lower body ready for deadlift day: