AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 28, Number 4, 2019


Exercise for the Surgeon: Part 5 of Counteracting the Effect Surgery Takes on the Surgeon

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As the exercises become more advanced, one must always maintain good form. Form fatigue is a common source of injury and can decrease the effectiveness of the exercises. It is better to do fewer repetitions with correct form than more incorrectly. If you experience pain during any of these exercises, stop instead of trying to push past the pain.


Steps for this exercise

1. Load a barbell with the desired weight

2. Assume a stance where the shin is two inches behind the bar with the feet rotated five to ten degrees externally

  • The width of the stance should have the first metatarsal just outside of the Anterior Superior Iliac Spine (ASIS)

3. Lower the torso to grab the bar, maintaining a neutral spine throughout

4. Grab the bar outside of the width of the leg so the arms do not obstruct the legs from tracking appropriately on the lift (Figure 1,2)

5. Extend through the hip, knee, and ankle to lift the bar to a full stand ending in good posture. Make sure the cervical spine remains neutral throughout the lift (Figure 3,4)

Important Notes

Lifting a barbell in this exercise can be difficult because it is lifting, a considerable load in front of the ankle. A regression that allows for similar benefit is using a weight that can be placed in the middle of the stance such as a kettlebell or dumbbell. The lift technique is the same; the alternative placement simply puts the weight between the feet aligned with the medial malleoli (Figure 5,6,7).  If your flexibility or mobility is limiting your ability to perform the movement with a neutral spine it is appropriate to elevate the weight to a height that allows for proper spinal alignment (Figure 8,9,10).


Performing the hip flexor stretch

1. Smear the ball of one foot on a wall behind you while in a half kneeling position (Figure 11).

2. Maintain a good upright posture and shift the hip forward, away from the wall, ensuring that the hip does not drop into an anterior tilt (Figure 12).

The hip flexor stretch is a good compliment to the deadlift.   A regression for this stretch if the elevated rear foot is too aggressive is to have the rear foot on the ground during the stretch (Figure 13,14).

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