What is a deadlift and what muscles does it target?

Even though the movement is very simple, picking the bar up and putting it back down, the deadlift is named the most complex exercises according to many exercise scientists and fitness influencers.

Any lifter that has strength goals must incorporate the deadlift into their training.

This is the exercise where you WILL be able to lift the most weight, so it only makes sense that this movement will make your frame very strong.

Besides, you don't want to end up with torn muscles in your back like how I was

Hopefully you can learn from me...

How to Deadlift

  1. Stand with the bar over the laces of your shoes, with shoes shoulder width apart
  2. Bend over and grab the bar with a shoulder width grip
  3. Bend your knees until your shins contact the bar
  4. Lift your chest up to straighten your lower back
  5. Inhale, stand up with the weight, then exhale

Muscles Worked

Deadlifts work most of the body. It is impossible for an exercise to work every muscle, but this one comes close. Even if the exercise doesn't work the muscle directly, it uses it as a stabilizer or to hold the weight. For example, your arms hold the weight, and your calves are used as stabilizers.

  1. Legs: Your hamstrings and glutus are what straighten your hips. Your hips push inward towards the bar to move the weight up. The hamstrings and glutes work in the deadlift similar to how they would in a squat.
  2. Back: Your back muscles protect your spine and your discs. Your lats hold the weight close to your body. The deadlift is a great back builder because the entire back is worked and it's a heavy exercise.
  3. Traps: Your traps are what holds your shoulders in place during the deadlift. Some would recommend not even doing shoulder shrugs if you deadlift because the deadlift works the traps to a great degree.
  4. Core: Your core is tight when the bar is being lifted to protect the spine. Think of it like a brace for your spine. If you don't have a strong core, don't think about deadlifting.
  5. Arms: Even though we're not curling or pushing the weight, our arms are still worked. This is because they hold the weight in place just like the traps. The weight pulls on these muscles, causing them to grow.

Supplementary Exercises

Barbell Row: The barbell row helps a tremendous amount because it works the entire back, and core. It is a great back strength builder so I would recommend doing these when you aren't deadlifting.

Pull-up: This exercise, like the barbell row, works the back and is a great strength builder. It does not build the lower back and core like the barbell row does, but it is still a great exercise.

Stiff-Leg Deadlift: Stiff-Leg deadlifts are similar to the normal deadlift, but they involve not bending the legs. This is to work the hamstrings and glutes more for isolation work.

Squat: Squats work the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and a few more muscle groups. I included this because if you incorporate the squat and the deadlift together, your strength will go up tremendously.

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