You’ve seen the deadlift before, probably when a strongman was lifting a loaded barbell from the ground first to hip level, and then back down again. The idea of the “deadlift” is that you are pulling up dead weight and cannot get any assistance from momentum because there is none. The dead weight can be in the form of barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells.
What to expect from Deadlifts
Deadlifts require more work from your lower body. Although you are doing the lifting with your hands, it is your lower back that is trying to keep your spine straight, and your leg muscles that struggle to keep you stable. A deadlift is nothing like a squat – you’ll need great hip extension capacity, as well as triple extension from your knees and ankles. For men, deadlifts can help you release the testosterone and growth hormones you need to add muscle. Women don’t have enough testosterone to grow bigger from deadlifts, which is unfortunate for female bodybuilders.
How to prepare to Deadlift
Make sure that your lats are in good shape, as deadlifts will push them to their limit in multiple ways. If you have a sore back, that’s just one more reason that you should try deadlifts – for muscle-building strength. Your back and abs will work incredibly hard and if you’re a marathon runner you’ll see a difference in your efficiency, sprint power, and velocity. However, you should make sure you have some kind of trainer overseeing your deadlifts because it’s easier to do them improperly. A bad deadlift can lead to a herniated disc or other serious injury to you lower back so make sure your form is correct with a spotter.
Muscles You’ll Work Out with Deadlifts
Deadlifts require work from numerous muscle groups. Even your finger flexors get some exercise when lifting the barbell, and your lower back works to help you keep your back straight so it doesn’t round forward from the weight in your hands. The adductor keeps your legs stable as you lift the load, your quads extend the knee joint, and your hip joint is extended thanks to the hamstrings and gluteus maximus. Deadlifts are a great way to ease your back pain, because they strengthen the glutes and train your spine to stay erect. They even help it make women easier to deliver babies: if your muscles were strengthened by deadlifts (before your third trimester, of course) then you will have more control over your intraabdominal pressure, a strengthened pelvic floor, and will have fewer soft tissue injuries during delivery.
Tips for Success in Deadlifts
No matter how many times you perform a deadlift, there is always room for improvement. It’s something to work on, because the required mobility from your ankles, thoracic spine, and hips is so intense that most people cannot do it. The “perfect deadlift” is like a mythical creature you may die without ever seeing. But it’s worth working on: one rep of deadlifts can give you the same endorphin rush as a runner’s high.