Strength Coach Tony Gentilcore on Deadlifts: Form, Dangers, and Function

Studying different sports and disciplines is a great way to develop your understanding of running. The commonalities and underlying principles are often universal.

strength training athlete

A few years ago, I was an instructor at an adult fitness camp. For four days, I taught a variety of classes:

  • Injury prevention and running form
  • Running for beginners
  • Obstacle course racing
  • Advanced training strategies
  • Programming (how to plan your training)

The last class – programming – was fascinating. I presented with Staci Ardison and Anthony Mychal (two strength coaches). As we were planning our presentation, we realized there were very few differences between the two disciplines.

Running and strength training at their most fundamental are eerily similar in how they’re planned:

  • Adaptation to stress and how that’s used productively during a training cycle
  • Periodization among varying phases of training (for example, base training vs. a competition phase of training)
  • Progressive overload over time
  • Expectations for improvement for beginners vs. veterans

I can’t be too surprised. After all, human physiology stays the same no matter the sport.

And over the last two years, I’ve been learning more and more about strength training. In fact, our new strength program High Performance Lifting (details here) has rocketed to our most popular training course.

Like many runners, I’m not in love with weightlifting (I’d rather be running!) but I’ve come to appreciate just how valuable it is for endurance athletes. Higher levels of strength almost always lead to faster race times.

As USA Weightlifting National Coach Randy Hauer has said:

There are no weak, fast runners.

Strength is best thought of as a complementary and necessary attribute for success in running. Without it, your progress is limited.

That’s why I’m thrilled to present a new podcast with strength coach Tony Gentilcore.

Tony Gentilcore: Everyone Deadlifts Dozens of Time a Day

Tony Gentilcore

Tony previously joined us on the pod to talk about why runners should lift.

He’s back on today to go into more detail. Tony pointed out during our conversation that all of us deadlift all day long. Whenever we pick something up from the ground (a child, a bag of groceries, your running shoes), we’re performing a deadlift.

If we practice that movement and get stronger moving in that way, it will make life – and our running – a lot easier.

And that’s the mentality we should all have when we think about strength training: it’s exercise that makes other exercise easier.

But we’re going to talk a lot more about the deadlift in this episode:

  • Is there such a thing as “perfect” lifting form?
  • Should we chase ideal form or make adjustments based on our own anatomy?
  • The similarities between running and strength training

Check out the latest episode on Apple Music or Stitcher.

Show Resources & Links:

This episode was made possible by SteadyMD, a primary care service specifically designed for runners, by runners.

Please give Tony a shout on Twitter and thank him for coming on the podcast; he’s been a great friend to SR and runners over the years!

Get Stronger & Run Healthy

Join our free course to help you better prevent injuries, develop runner-specific strength, and avoid the big mistakes that get runners hurt