Wednesday, August 13, 2008


The deadlift is a weight training exercise used to develop overall strength and power. The exercise is extremely useful, if you do not have good core muscle strength, or leg strength.

The following information is related to this exercise for your information and knowledge. One word of caution, if you have not tried this, you need to start with light weight, it should be more ideal if you could get a physical trainer to coach you!

Muscles Worked
The Deadlift is a compound exercise targeting several muscle groups including the latissimus dorsi, trapezius, erector spinae, gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps, and psoas (hip flexors). Your forearm muscles, which are involved in gripping the bar, are used to a lesser degree, as well as muscles involved in trunk stabilization such as your obliques.

The Deadlift has many benefits. As a compound exercise, the movement spans three joints with extension occurring at the hip, knee, and ankle joints, thus utilizing several large muscle groups.(2) When compared to isolation exercises, compound movements that involve larger muscle groups elicit a hormonal training response that results in greater strength gains.(1) The dynamics of the lift itself may also lead to greater gains in hypertrophy. (1)
The Deadlift also has possible rehabilitation benefits. It has been hypothesized that the moderate to high hamstring activity elicited during the Deadlift may help to protect the Anterior Cruciate Ligament during rehab.(2)
The movement of the Deadlift translates well into real life as it mimics bending and lifting. Anyone who has a toddler is quite familiar with the motion of the lift already.

Points to Remember

  • your torso should be straight throughout the movement
  • at no portion of the lift should your back be rounded
  • keep the bar as close to the shins as possible throughout
  • feet should always be flat on the floor, pushing from the heel
  • exhale through the sticking point of the concentric movement and inhale through the eccentric phase
  • do not jerk the movement, it should be smooth throughout
  • if your knees are moving laterally from side to side, reduce the amount of weight
  • because of the many muscles involved in the lift, the Deadlift may require more rest between sets than normal

As in all exercises, the Deadlift is not for everyone. If you are working with a client with special needs such as lower lumbar injuries or any other joint injuries, it is important to get there doctor’s or chiropractor’s release before adding this lift to their regime.

The Deadlift itself has many variations. You can use barbells for lighter weights or use a limited range of motion if the situation calls for it. There are also specialized bars that some people find more comfortable such as the Combo Bar or Trap Bar.
Because of the wide range of muscles the Deadlift targets, some people use it as a warm-up lift before their workout. In whatever form you use, the Deadlift should play an important role in your training program.

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