Why you should deadlift

In this post we will look to give some insight into some of the technique and nuances of deadlifting. And explain why you should include the deadlift, in some form, as part of your programme. 

It’s a functional exercise

In simple terms, a deadlift is picking a dead weight off the floor. This can be kettlebells, bags or dumbbells but it is most commonly with a barbell or hex bar.  This exercise has great benefits as it’s a functional movement imitating something we do in our day to day lives. If you can safely lift a barbell in the gym then picking up your shopping shouldn’t result in back pain!

It will reduce your chances of getting back pain

There is a common misconception that the deadlift will cause back injuries, this isn’t true. When performed and programmed correctly deadlifts will build muscle support for your back, which takes the load off your spine and strengthens the body. 

It’s a total body exercise

The main muscles involved when deadlifting make up the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, claves, erector spinae, traps). But you’ll also be using your quads your abdominals and your arms so deadlifting is a great total body exercise and a staple in most strength programmes.

It will help you build speed, strength and power

Apart from helping to stave off back pain and keep you strong and functional. The deadlift is also beneficial for developing speed, strength and power for sports and running. 

You will feel and look awesome!

As we’ve said above, the deadlift is great for developing the muscles of the posterior chain.  If you can build a good solid deadlift you’ll feel strong and look great. 

Performing the deadlift

  1. Setup – stand in front of the barbell with your shins about an inch from the bar and feet underneath it. I like to do these without  shoes so I can really feel where my bodyweight is going. Keep your knees slightly bent.
  2. Next shift your weight into your heels and push your hips back as far as they can go so your chest lowers towards the bar. You should feel your hamstrings tighten up/engage.
  3. Grip the bar just outside your knees, keeping your elbows straight
  4. Keeping your core stiff, push your heels into the floor and stand up with the bar, bring your hips forward and squeezing your glutes.
  5. Once at the top push your hips back to return to the start point.

There are many variations of deadlifts that can be performed in the gym or at home, if you’ve never done it before you may wish to start with some basic hinges or band resisted deadlifts and progress to light dumbbells or bag work as you get stronger and better at the movement. Taking quality instruction from a professional will always help you improve quicker as they can spot and correct any technique errors for you.

The main takeaway from this post is that everyone can benefit from  deadlifting in some form and you should seriously consider including it in your programme.  If you want to learn more about beginning exercise, then check out our posts on the benefits of strength training and beginning fitness.