By Kim Duke NETA & AFAA Certified Trainer

The way you project yourself upon entering a room has a lot to do with how good your posture is. Rounded shoulders that are pulled forward from weak spinal muscles will convey a less-than-ideal image, even for the most confident person. However, building a solid back easily solves this. By strengthening your spinal and middle back muscles, your shoulders will be pulled back and this will project better lines in your upper body, while at the same time making your waist appear slimmer.

The stiff-legged deadlift is an effective, basic exercise that has superior effects for firming the erector muscles of the spine. The deadlift is mechanically simple, but it requires a strong effort and careful attention to exercise form. It can be both a blessing and a curse. If you do the exercise correctly, the back will become strong and straight, and even the hamstrings will benefit from each repetition. However, if you do it sloppily, it can induce an injury that never had to happen.

Like anything else in life, doing things correctly is better than doing them quickly or without much thought, as the latter choice will almost always come back in the form of a pain in the butt.

How to do stiff-leg deadlifts correctly:

Warm up muscles prior to doing any exercise.

Place a light barbell on the floor. Your feet should automatically be shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, and back flat and tight. Look slightly upward so that your neck and back are in line.

With knees slightly bent, slowly lift the bar from the floor by extending the trunk and the knees. Hold the core tight, pulling your belly inward. Your knees straighten as you come to an upright position.

Keep your head up and eyes forward as you lower the weight toward the floor. Never look at the floor during the lift, otherwise the middle of your back will become rounded and this invites injury.

Do not hold your breathe. Breathing is also essential to proper form. Remember to exhale on exertion.

In general, deadlifts can develop strong and balanced back extensor muscles, which will reduce the chance for injury, while at the same time developing outstanding posture. Nevertheless, you must stay very alert when you are lifting. Be strong and be safe with your deadlifts, as this strategy will build you outstanding back strength and posture.