Deadlift Benefits – 12 Reasons why every able bodied human should deadlift
updated September 5, 2018
The deadlift is one of those old school back to basics exercises that you don’t see taking place very often in ‘modern’ gyms. The reason?
The deadlift is a very difficult exercise to do. It is also, even though appearing simple, is a technically difficult move to do correctly. That makes it easy to get wrong, which can lead to all sorts of injury.
12 Benefits of Deadlift
The deadlift, however, is possibly the single best exercise that you can do with weights to achieve strength, muscle building and fitness benefits. In this article, you will discover 12 compelling reasons why deadlifts need to form a key part of your training program.
#1 Deadlifting is a Great Fat Burner
Don’t let the fact that the deadlift involves nothing more than lifting a weight from the floor fool you. This is one effective fat burning move. This was shown in a recent survey in which subjects were put in one of three groups:
- Diet only
- Diet plus aerobic exercise
- Diet plus weights (deadlifting)
After 12 weeks, the diet only group lost 14.6 pounds of fat. The Aerobics group lost 15.6 pounds over the 12 weeks. The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds, which was nearly double that of the diet only group.
Anyone who has deadlifted heavy weight knows just how taxing it is. It will get you puffing like a train. This will burn quite a few calories during the time that you are deadlifting. But the real benefits come after the workout, during your rest and recovery time. This is when the afterburn effect comes into play.
So, if you are looking to burn off body fat, you are far better off doing a few sets of heavy deadlifts than hopping on a treadmill for 30 minutes.
#2 Improved Posture
When you deadlift you will be strengthening all of the muscles of your kinetic chain that are responsible for posture. As a result, you will be more able to pull your shoulders back and keep your spine upright when you are walking and sitting. Your core strength will also be strengthened, which will enhance your core stability for even greater posture improvement.
#3 It Builds Muscle Fast
The deadlift is a compound exercise that works all of the muscles in your body. It is also a multi joint movement that makes those muscles work together, making it an ideal functional exercise. That makes the deadlift the ideal single exercise.
The deadlift allows you to lift a lot of weight. This gives you the perfect vehicle to place incrementally greater levels of stress on your muscles. The stress will cause micro tears in your muscle fiber. When you rest and feed the proper nutrients (i.e. amino acids) to those muscles, they will grow back bigger and stronger than they were.
#4 Functional Fitness
Most exercises do not have a direct functional application. Think of the bench press, for example. When did you last actually do something outside of the gym that required you to push a heavy object directly up off your chest? But the deadlift is different. It directly works the muscles that you use for everyday lifting, whether it's a bucket of water or a bag of groceries. That makes it the ideal functional exercise.
So long as you get the form down right, the deadlift is an extremely safe exercise. Unlike the bench press, you are never in danger of getting pinned under the weight. And, unlike the squat, you don’t have to contend with a heavy load on your back.
If you get in trouble during the course of the deadlift, all you have to do is to drop the weight. In addition, this is an exercise that, no matter how heavy you go, you do not need a spotter.
When you deadlift, you will be strengthening the muscles that surround your tendons and ligaments. Strengthening these, especially in the muscles in the hamstrings and lower back will make you far less prone to injury.
#6 Grip Strength Enhancement
The deadlift is one of the best things that you can ever do to improve your grip strength. That’s not surprising - your hands connect your body to the bar. As the poundages that you are lifting increase, your forearms need to work harder and harder to handle the effort. That forces them to get super strong.
#7 Hormone Release
If you are in this thing to build muscle and get strong, you need to have as much testosterone and human growth hormone coursing through your system. Studies have shown that performing multiple sets of 6-10 repetitions of heavy deadlifts will boost your body’s natural production of both testosterone and human growth hormone. These hormones actually allow your muscles to heal more efficiently, as well as increasing muscle growth and even fat loss.
#8 It Is User Friendly
A lot of exercises require extra equipment to be able to perform them properly and safely. Of the big three, though, the deadlift requires the least equipment. If you want to bench press, you need a sturdy bench with a rack on it. The squat similarly requires a rack. But the deadlift involves nothing less than a bar and some weight. Just put them in front of you on the floor and you are good to go.
#9 It Strengthens Your Glutes
The deadlift is one of the best things that you can do to improve the strength of your glutes. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in your body. When you strengthen them, you will enhance your endurance and power in virtually everything that you do.
The glutes of most people in society are seriously under developed. In fact there is an actual condition known as dormant butt syndrome, which has become rampant as a result of all the time we spend sitting in front of a computer screen. The deadlift is the ideal antidote to dormant butt syndrome.
#10 It Hits Your Hamstrings Hard
The hamstrings are one of the most under exercised muscles on the human body. Yet they are instrumental in running, jumping, and accelerating with explosiveness. The deadlift hits the hammies better than almost any other exercise you can do.
#11 It Provides You With a Lot of Variety
The deadlift comes in a number of variants that make it accessible to virtually every purpose and every application. People who have lower back concerns may want to go with the Jefferson or the Trap Bar deadlift. To switch things up you can also perform Sumo deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts and Rack Pull deadlifts. One thing is sure - there is no reason for you to get bored when doing deadlifts.
#12 It Will Make You More Powerful
Power is not the same as strength. It is the ability to exert a lot of force in a short time span. Strength is simply the ability to move a heavy object. When it comes to athletic functionality, power is more important than strength. The deadlift is one of the best things that you can do to develop power.
How to Deadlift the Right Way
- Assume the starting position, standing in front of a loaded bar.
- Place your hands on the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and with elbows extended.
- Place your feet on a floor with the bar 1 inch in front of the shins and over the balls of your feet.
Upward Movement Phase
- Lift the bar off the floor by extending the hips while keeping your elbows extended and your back flat.
- Keep the bar close to your shins until the bar reaches a point above your knees.
- Once the bar is above your knees, move the hips forward to move your thighs against and under your knees.
- Continue to extend your hips and knees until your body reaches a fully erect position.
- Exhale through this movement phase.
Downward Movement Phase
- Allow the hips and knees to flex to slowly lower the bar to the floor.
- Maintain a flat back position; do not flex your torso forward.
- Inhale throughout this movement phase.
4 Deadlift Fixes
- Learn how to hip hinge - push your hips back, keep your chest up, load the hamstrings - practice this time and again until it comes naturally.
- Do Rack Pulls - Set up the ins in your safety rack so that you can maintain a neutral spine, which should be just below your knees. Now do sets of partial deadlifts from this position.
- Improve hip mobility - Perform mobility drills and stretching exercises that are designed to open up your hips.
- Practice breathing properly - In order to get good at deadlifting, you need to learn to breathe through your diaphragm. You should try to fill your stomach with air and then forcefully contract your core as you come down to grab a hold of the bar. In addition, if you don’t breathe through your diaphragm, you will not be able sufficiently contract your abdominal. To do this effectively, you need to get out of the habit of breathing through your chest.