Deadlift – Definition, Benefits, and How-to
Deadlifts are an essential part of every strength training program due to the high number of benefits they provide. It’s important to know what muscles do deadlifts work.
Performing a deadlift builds your core strength, which eventually optimizes your motor function, trunk stability, and coordination. For this reason, athletes are obsessed with deadlifts, and so should you. Deadlifts also work muscles in the posterior chain.
Deadlifts build muscle all over the body because the entire body is working during the movement. This exercise works multiple muscle groups, the hamstring muscles, quad muscles, lower back muscles and the glute muscles.
In this article, we will cover the benefits that deadlifts offer, including the muscles that get recruited with every movement and what muscles the deadlift works.
The benefits of deadlifts
A deadlift is a compound exercise that requires you to lift a barbell from the floor. This is also referred to as dead weight, which means there is no momentum to support the movement, giving this exercise its name. Here are the muscles that deadlifts work. If you’re new to deadlifts it’s a good idea to use lighter weights or hire a personal trainer to make sure your form is correct. The deadlift is a good exercise to help with power cleans and squats. Conventional style deadlifts work the same muscles as the squat but in a different way. The deadlift focuses more on the posterior chain.
Deadlifts recruit the following muscle groups:
- Core muscles
Due to the intensity of the exercise, the muscles need a lot of power to complete every repetition. As a result, this exercise provides you with an array of benefits that include muscle growth, better coordination, improved spinal alignment, and more.
How many deadlifts should you do
People often ask about the number of repetitions they need to perform when they are deadlifting. However, there is no one answer that covers this topic.
As a general rule of thumb, you need to adjust the number of repetitions based on the amount of weight you are lifting.
If you are new to the world of fitness or deadlifts, you need to focus more on performing the exercise in the correct form rather than how much weight you are lifting. Start with 5–8 deadlifts per set and work your way up to 3–5 sets.
For advanced athletes who use extremely heavyweights, you can do 1–6 repetitions per set – depending on the weight – and up to 5 sets. Make sure to rest between each set.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of maintaining the correct form. Doing deadlifts incorrectly could precipitate a variety of musculoskeletal injuries.
How to perform a deadlift
To perform a deadlift or (conventional deadlifts), you need a standard 45-pound barbell, which you can add more weight to each side (2.5–10 pounds). Preforming the deadlift correctly is important to work the muscles properly.
- Stand behind the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Make sure that your feet as almost touching the bar.
- Maintain a lifted chest and sink back into your hips while keeping your back straight.
- Bend over and grip the barbell.
- Keep both hands facing down (you can also face one palm down and the other up).
- Press your feet into the floor and sink your hips back.
- Maintain spinal alignment and push your hips forward into a standing position.
- Finish standing with your shoulders back, knees knocked out (almost), and legs straight.
- You should hold the bar with straight arms.
- Go back to the initial position while keeping a straight back, bending your knees, pushing the hips back, and squatting down until the bar touches the floor.
- Repeat this exercise according to your fitness level.
Besides the conventional way of doing deadlifts, there are several other variations, including:
The deadlift is a compound exercise that works multiple muscle groups in the lower body, including the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. There are several variations of the deadlift that can be performed to target different muscle groups or to accommodate different fitness levels. The most common variations are the conventional deadlift, sumo deadlift, and hex bar deadlift. The conventional deadlift is performed with a barbell resting on the floor in front of the lifter. The sumo Deadlift is performed with a wide stance and a barbell resting between the legs. The hex bar Deadlift is performed with a hex-shaped barbell that allows the lifter to step inside the bar. Deadlifts can be performed with either heavy weights for low reps or lighter weights for high reps. Deadlifts are an essential exercise for building strength and power in the lower body.
Here’s some of the different kinds of deadlifts that you can do
The Sumo deadlift is a weightlifting exercise that targets the lower back and leg muscles. This exercise differs from the standard deadlift because it works the inner thigh muscles. The sumo style deadlift is a favorite of power lifters because it allows you to lift heavier weights.
Unlike traditional deadlifts, which are done with the feet shoulder-width apart, Sumo deadlifts are done with the feet placed wide apart. This stance allows for a greater range of motion and activates different muscle groups, making it an ideal exercise for those looking to build strength and power. To perform a Sumo deadlift, start by standing with your feet positioned wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your hips and grab the barbell with both hands, keeping your back straight and core engaged. From here, drive through your heels and lift the barbell up until you reach full extension.Pause briefly at the top before lowering the weight back to the starting position. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
The Romanian deadlift is a variation exercise that boosts the strength of the posterior chainmuscles (e.g., hamstrings, gluteus maximus).
It targets the core muscles and the lower body with one movement, making it an excellent variation for individuals with weak cores, chronic back pain, and musculoskeletal problems in the lower body portion.
Here is how to perform the Romanian deadlift:
- Grab the barbell from each end and place it at the hip level.
- Bring your shoulders back while you maintain a straight back.
- Lower the barbell toward the floor.
- Push your hips backward.
- Reverse the last movement as you get up into a standing position.
- Repeat this exercise for 3–5 repetitions.
Hex or Trap Bar Deadlift
Deadlifts are a great exercise for building strength in your lower back, glutes and hamstrings. The Hex or Trap Bar Deadlift is a variation of the traditional Deadlift that can be done with either a hexagonal-shaped barbell or a trap bar. To do the Hex or Trap Bar Deadlift, start by placing the bar in front of your feet and then squat down and grip the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, drive through your heels to lift the bar up, exhaling as you stand tall. As you lower the bar back down, inhale and keep your core engaged to prevent your lower back from rounding. Repeat for 8-10 reps.
A rack pull is a type of deadlift that is performed with the barbell starting on the floor and then being pulled up to knee height before being lowered back down. This exercise targets the same muscle groups as a traditional Deadlift (lower back, glutes, and hamstrings), but it allows you to use more weight since the range of motion is shorter. To perform a rack pull, start by placing the barbell in a power rack at knee height. Then, standing with your feet hip-width apart, grasp the bar with an overhand grip and pull it off the rack. Lower the bar down to your shins, keeping your back flat and your core engaged. From there, drive your heels into the floor and lift the bar up to knee height before lowering it back down to the starting position. Repeat for 8-12 reps.
Deadlifts are fantastic exercises that recruit a large number of muscle groups. It is a compound exercise that is indispensable for every strength training routine. Deadlifts work a lot of muscles and we covered a lot of them.
We hope that this article answered some of the questions you had about deadlifts and how they improve your overall fitness and strength.
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