How to Deadlift?|Benefits of Deadlift|Muscles Worked

About Deadlift:

Have you been browsing the plethora of health and fitness resources for a muscle building exercise that is called a ‘real game changer’? Well, search no further, Deadlift is one of the best all-round muscle building exercise. Know how to do deadlift correctly and the variations and benefits of doing deadlift.

Unanimously agreed upon by most fitness experts and strength coaches, deadlift is the most beneficial exercise that you can do in order to pack on size. Although novices and even experienced lifters fear deadlift, it is worth the effort, if you are looking to see massive gains in strength and size. However, the effects mainly depend on how you do deadlift and knowing the proper technique is important.

Deadlifts are exercises of the weight-training category, where you lift a loaded barbell (weight being up to your discretion) right off the ground up to your hips, and then lower it back to the ground. The category of powerlifting exercises include deadlift, along with the squat and the bench press.

How to Deadlifts?

How to Deadlifts?

While it is important to know how to deadlifts, it is absolutely necessary to know how to deadlift correctly or with proper form. Deadlift starts with the barbell on the floor to begin with, regardless of the form you use, or how much weight you choose to pack on to your barbell.

The main reason why you should know how to do deadlift is that it requires great balance and coordination, and the risk of injury is high if performed incorrectly.

Here is a step by step guide about how to deadlift:

Step 1 – Get the Right Stance

To do a deadlift, getting the right stance is important. Stand with strength in your legs. Assume a shoulder width stance. As you grip the barbell, ensure that your inner forearms are grazing your outer thighs and that your shins are lightly touching the bar. Remember to begin by hinging very lightly at your hips and knees, in order to rest your weight mainly on your heels while maintaining flat feet. With regards to grips, either an overhand grip or an under/overhand grip (where one of your hands goes over, and one goes under the barbell) works, although the latter is preferable in most cases.

Step 2 – Adjust Posture

While doing the deadlift, keep your torso straight. Spine stays long and straight as hips hinge. Ensure that your knees aren’t tracking forward over your toes. Maintain flat feet. Pull in your lower abs, ensuring a neutral pelvic position. Chest forward, tighten your shoulders and try to squeeze your glutes together to try and generate force/power. Adjust you posture correctly so that you can deadlift properly.

Step 3 – Actual Lifting

Grip the bar between the legs or on the outsides. Push down through your heels, and push up and forwards with your hips. What is going to be powering the weight up are your legs. The hips and shoulders need to ascend at the same time, while your hands hold the weight in place. Lock out towards the apex of your movement, by employing more upper body strength. Ensure that the bar is in contact with your body throughout the entire movement. There needs to be an initial push with your feet, before a transference of weight to your heels as the bar goes past your knees.

Step 4 – Lowering the Weight

One thing to bear in mind while completing a deadlift rep is that the bar should never hit the floor forcefully. It needs to be lowered in a controlled manner while maintaining tightness throughout the body. This is equally important part of the right way to deadlift. Reverse step 3 until the bar hits the ground. The final step needs to be finished by hinging at the hips and knees to bring the weight down. Lower your chest towards your knees, and keep the bar close to your body. That would be the safest way to deadlift.

Right breathing is essential when you do deadlifts. Correct breathing is very important as that helps with the ascending phase of the entire exercise, contributing to the power aspect of it. Take a deep breath before pulling the weight, and hold for the first quarter of the ascent. Exhale very slowly throughout the ascent, and exhale completely upon powering through the midpoint.

Benefits of Doing Deadlifts

Deadlift is popular for the great benefits they offer. The benefits of doing deadlift include strengthening of muscles to improving your power.

Some of the most appreciated benefits of doing deadlift include:

  • Works every major muscle
  • Improves posture
  • One of the most real-life, functional exercises
  • Improves grip strength
  • Sparks muscle growth
  • Initiates a spike in testosterone levels
  • Strengthens your core.

Muscles Worked in Deadlift

Deadlift is indeed a complete body workout and the variations of deadlifts offer many options. Deadlifts being the compound set of exercises, it works for a variety of muscle groups and individual muscles.

Some of the muscles worked in deadlift include the following:

  • Grip Strength (finger flexors) & the lower back (erector spinae)
  • Gluteus maximus & hamstrings which work to extend the hip joint
  • Quadriceps, to extend the knee joint
  • Adductor magnus, to stabilize the legs
  • Core Musculature, which remains braced in order to stabilize the spine.

Additionally, the deadlift activates many individual muscle in the torso, legs, arms, hips, and forearms. To name a few –

Abdomen – Rectus abdominis, Abdominal external oblique muscle, Abdominal internal oblique muscle, Levator scapulae, Longissimus, Quadratus lumborum, Serratus posterior superior, Serratus posterior inferior, Teres Major and Trapezius Muscle

Legs – Rectus femoris, Vastus lateralis, Vastus intermedius, Vastus medialis, Semitendinosus, Semimemranosus and Biceps Femoris

Hips – Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Minimus, Piriformis and Superior Gemellus

Know the Variations of Deadlift

Now that you know how to deadlift, it is worth knowing about the variations of deadlift.

  1. Stiff – Legged Deadlift

    Excellent for hamstring development, this variation of deadlift is a decent substitute for the regular deadlift. In order to do this movement, set the bar a little above your knees, at a slightly elevated level. Use the overhand grip, and hold the bar at shoulder width. Walk back a few steps after releasing the bar from the rack. While descending, ensure that your knees are bent slightly. Inhale, and carry your total body weight over your ankles. When an entire rep is done, remember to bring the weight up very smoothly because lifting the weight with a jerk or explosively is just going to be termed as a regular deadlift.

  2. Quadriceps Deadlift

    The main thing to remember while attempting a quadriceps deadlift is that the stress needs to be laid on the frontal thighs throughout the final stage of descending. It ensures proper leg and front thigh development, which is the main purpose of this variation of deadlift. The difference between a regular deadlift and a quadriceps deadlift is that you need to use knee flexicon as opposed to the standard hip flexicon – which needs to be minimized as to place all the stress on the frontal thighs. This is one of the best variations of deadlifts, aiming to work out the thighs, but not as much for overall core stability.

  3. Sumo Deadlifts

    Mainly used by powerlifters given the tremendous amount of weight that they need to lift, this variation of deadlift assists in reducing the stress placed on the lower back. To do this variation of deadlift, grip the center of the bar, on the inside of the legs. This move means that there is less potential for the back to become rounded, making it ideal for beginners and people recovering from back injuries.

    Hence, look no further for an exercise which will cater to your entire body including real life situations. Deadlifts are just perfect with loads of benefits and once you know how to deadlift correctly, you are right on spot. Find someone to watch over your form and ensure that everything is going right and start lifting!

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 18, 2017

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