The Best Execises Ever Part I: The Deadlift

The deadlift, quite possibly one of the absolute best lifts you can do. There are so many things this exercise strengthens its ridiculous. Like Disney paying $4 billion to be able to say “May the force be with you” ridiculous. But, from what I’ve read, they are taking the saga out to an episode 12. My guess is it won’t take Mickey too long to get his money back!

Ok, deadlifts, sorry about that. Great exercise. Hammers the glutes and it cleans up a ton of strength issues in the posterior chain. Definitely an exercise that should be in your weekly workouts.

“The basic hip hinge component of deadlifting is vital to learn for both performance and low back health,” says Josh Henkin in his article “The Deadlift? Who Needs It?”

He says there is a fine line between performing the exercise correctly and loading it too much ruining your form.

“The term ‘optimal strength’ refers to the point in loading where the chosen lift ceases to provide a carryover to the performance goal, says Henkin.

Done correctly, the deadlift strengthens the following muscles:

• Spinal Erectors• Quads

• Glutes

• Hamstrings

• Lower Back

• Middle and Upper Trapezius

• Abdominals and Obliques

• Lats

• Calves

If something hits that many muscles with one exercise, sign me up! Here are some of the many benefits of the deadlift:

They make you STRONGER!

Ever go down to pick something/someone (if you’ve got wee creatures at home) and come back up grabbing your back in pain? Get really good at the deadlift, and you can drastically reduce the chance of this happening. Its probably the best way to learn to pick something up off the ground.

Your low back will thank you

Develop your glutes, hamstrings, lats, erectors etc with this exercise and you will give your low a back more protection against an injury than its ever had!

You will perform better

If there is a recreational pursuit that you enjoy, a deadlift all but guarantees you will enjoy it more. Train the back half of your body, and I guarantee your competition/friendly workout partners will begin to not like you all that much as you kick their butts each workout.

Reduce Injury Risk

“A strong posterior chain can help keep your back healthy as well. Too often, people want to use their back and only their back to lift pick things up off the ground. This is how an often benign day of household chores can land you in your bed for the next 7 days chewing ibuprofen like it’s candy,” Mike Robertson, “Deadlift.”

Your stability increases

“The deadlift also involves supplementary and minor muscles called stabilizer muscles that are usually ignored by the mainstream. The lack of training of these stabilizer muscles will lead to imbalances and can lead a person to be more susceptible to injury and unsymmetrical physique (“The Deadlift,” Deadlift.com).”

It has great functional carry over

Already mentioned, but cant drive this home enough. Master this exercise, and your every day life gets a lot easier. Especially when it comes time to pick something up off the floor.

Better Grip Strength

This has been found to be one of the bigger determiners of total body strength. Do enough deadlifts, and you will be ripping phone books in half in no time!

Your Posture Improves

This lift strengthens the core and spine, and can clean up dysfunctional lumbar spine movements as your muscles come into a better balance.

There are several ways to do it, here are a few:

Trap Bar Deads, great for people with back issues

Notice the packed chin to perfection!

Traditional Olympic Bar Deads

KB Deads

Single Leg Deads, this version is done with a MB reach, but the lower body mechanics are flawless!

Those are some of the many benefits of the deadlift. Practice it, a lot. Like all the time. And after you do get great at it, DO IT SOME MORE!!!

Next up: Farmer’s Walks!

  • Al Painter

    Mark,

    That’s great! Make sure you get an eval from a trusted trainer/PT/sports doc before you get into a new program.

    There may be some corrective work that needs to be done before you get into anything “fun!”

  • Mark

    Thanks Al. I have not lifted in years, but your post might be the spark I need to get going again.