In the gym today, I was doing some deadlift shrugs. It is a fairly simple compound exercise. You load a bar on the floor as you normally would with a deadlift: feet shoulder width apart, over hand grip, and your back in a natural arch. The only difference is that rather than stopping the deadlift when your are standing straight up, you continue the motion and shrug shoulders, lifting the bar that extra six inches or so. You then relax your shoulders until your arms are straight hanging as they normally would be at the end of a deadlift and return the bar to the floor.
In the process of performing this exercise, however, I discovered a new danger for men when they are lifting weights. I am sure that this is not the only exercise where this is apparant, but it is the first time that I had trouble with it on almost every single repetition.
Note: The rest of this article discusses the male anatomy. If this bothers you, please do not click through to read the rest of the article.
When you finish a normal deadlift, the bar is usually near the top of your thighs. When you continue lifting the bar through the shrugging motion, your penis can get in the way. Your mileage may vary; you may have legs or arms that are different lengths, and this may be something that happens on normal deadlifts or something that does not happen even with the shrugs. Or you may be a woman and you do not have a penis to get in the way in the first place.
I did 4 sets of 10 reps, but even after 40 tries I never found a satisfactory way of keeping myself out of the way. When you are performing the exercise, it is pretty obvious if it will be a problem right from the outset. As long as you notice on the first repetition and then pay attention for the rest of the sets, you can pretty easily avoid pinching yourself. The thought of it, though, certainly makes me a bit leery.
I did like the exercise itself, outside of being paranoid about injuring myself. None of the sets or supersets that I did today were difficult to complete, but my arms and legs certainly got the shakes about 5 or 10 minutes after I finished. I think that a large part of that was caused by the extra work with the deadlifts that my body was not quite used to. Hopefully I can find some way to not have to worry about catching myself, because I do not plan to change this particular workout over the next few weeks. Have you ever had this problem before? Any suggestions on how best to avoid it?