The Fault of Overextension

The Fault of Overextension
Written by Hunter Britt

When lifting, our main goal is to be strong and tight, right?

Well, what if I told some of you that your “good lifting position” is actually hindering your ability to be as efficient and strong as possible?

The position that I am talking about is overextension and the idea that an arched back is the best way to lift. There are a couple of things wrong with overextension, the first being that you cannot use your glutes. Also, when in this position, you are most likely not tight in your midline.

To feel what I am talking about and to get a sense of what overextension versus the proper midline feels like, try these drills.

Step 1 – Stand up with normal posture.

Step 2 – Stick your butt out with overextension of the spine; see below photo for example.

Step 3 – Contract your glutes – I bet you can’t do it!

The Fault of Overextension

So if you cannot contract your glutes with overextension when you are just standing there, actually thinking about it, then why would this be the optimal position when lifting something? If we know the glutes should be the primary mover in a lift, like the squat or deadlift, then it makes no sense why we would take them out of that strong position.

A straight spine is what you want. To notice what a straight spine feels like, try following these steps to feel the correct position:

Step 1 – Stand up with normal posture.

Step 2 – Contract your glutes and flex your abdominals first.

Step 3 – Get familiar and build a relationship with this feeling!

The Fault of Overextension

Even though overextension might look safe and may even make you look like you can squat more because your butt looks bigger, it is not a strong nor safe position. Keep a neutral spine when lifting and remember, lifting is not about the bark, but about the bite.