Male Pattern Baldness is not a sexy topic, and I know that most gentleman don’t want to walk around talking about how their hormone levels are related to hair loss. In fact, according to Wikipedia, “It has been suggested that weight training may have a detrimental effect on hair by increasing testosterone levels…” There isn’t any support to that, but if you’re truly concerned, stop reading now. I’m going to encourage you to go as bald as possible:
I can’t help you prevent looking like Costanza, but I can help you with voluntary Male Pattern Baldness of the Shins. Seriously, I want to make you as bald as possible, from the knees down.
I’ve found a new spark in my relationship with my beloved deadlift, and I’ve been hammering the life out of technique and speed off the floor. As I focus on maintaining a vertical shin and the the bar close to my body, it turns out I’m really just shaving my legs with a very heavy razor. Here’s a picture of my leg after a recent workout:
Not exactly comfortable, My shins have two distinct lines of hairless-ness, thanks to my weekly or biweekly usage of the latest Texas Power Bar branded razor. If you’re a regular deadlifter, take a second to check out the presence or absence of hair on your shins. If you’re not a regular deadlifter, ask yourself, “Why not?”
Bloody shins aren’t my goal here, and I’d like to keep you pulling pain free. “Pain free” includes back pain, and if the barbell is swinging away from your body while you deadlift, you’re asking for back pain. Shaved shins are a better deal than back pain, don’t ya think? In this video, you should see that I’m trying to keep the bar as close to my body as possible:
If you’re struggling with keeping the bar close to your body, let’s work on that. Start by setting the bar over the middle of your foot or further back, and push your hips back to descend to the bar. Once you’re at the bar, pull the slack out of it, and brace your lats. Hopefully, everything looks like this:
During a sumo deadlift like I use, you’ll notice a more vertical spine angle, and more horizontal femur angle. For example, here’s a picture of me before I learned to sit back and keep the bar close to my body:
Deadlifts are a double-edged sword. If you do them correctly, few exercises are as beneficial for your body, but if you do them wrong, your spine will want to crawl out and leave you looking like a jellyfish. That’s not a good look, so be sure to clean up your deadlift technique and then train hard. Bloody shins aren’t necessary, but keeping the bar close to your body is. It’s safer, it’s stronger, and it’s an effective way to control body hair while improving body composition. Everybody wins!
If you insist on avoiding Male Pattern Baldness, 2.0, here’s a link to a StrongLifts article about how to avoid it. The Spark Notes version is that you can wear pants, long socks, or shin-guards. Additionally, you can also trap bar deadlift without worrying about your shins. Regardless of how you’re pulling, be sure to pull with great technique.
Get stronger, and go bald, my friends. I’ll be looking at your shins when I see you.
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