Why Deadlift? To us asking that is akin to asking Why Breathe? The Deadlift is one of the most ancient, fundamental and just flat out alpha lifts out there. In no other lift do you raise hundreds of pounds of weight off the ground with your bare hands. There’s really something magical about the Deadlift. You just don’t feel the same amount of confidence and joy doing Squats or Bench Pressing as you do while Deadlifting. There’s a reason so many people look forward to Deadlift day.

What Muscles Does the Deadlift Work

The primary benefits of deadlifting are increased strength and muscle mass. Because deadlift is a compound movement it utilizes nearly every major muscle of your body as well as the small stabilizer muscles in your body. Muscles trained by the deadlift:

  • Core (abs and obliques)
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Forearms
  • Spinal Erectors
  • Lower Back
  • Middle and Upper Traps
  • Calves

and to a smaller extent the Deadlift works your:

  • Biceps
  • Quads
  • Lats

So doing a deadlift is almost like doing  a leg press, a back extension, a lying leg curl, a abdominal crunch, a gripping exercise, a straight-arm pull down and a shrug all at the same time. Yep, its one hell of a compound lift.

Another great reason for deadlifting is testosterone and growth hormone release. Studies have shown that heavy lifting in compound lifts like the deadlift use the most muscle groups and thus release the most of these 2 crucial chemical compounds.

Still not fully convinced by the glory of the Deadlift? Listen to Johnnie Jackson, IFBB Pro and one of the strongest bodybuilders in the world share his enthusiasm.

It makes me feel big, powerful. Also it enhanced my back tremendously. – Johnnie Jackson

Other Deadlifting Benefits:

  • Increased stability control. While using machines to train muscles will isolate and target only a specific few muscle groups, the deadlift also involves supplementary and minor muscles called stabilizer muscles that are usually ignored by the mainstream fitness. The lack of training of these stabilizer muscles will lead to imbalances and can lead a person to be more susceptible to injury and unsymmetrical physique.
  • Increased grip strength. Since the deadlift is one of the few exercises where you must manually hold hundreds of pounds of weight, it is one of the best exercises for increasing grip strength and strengthening the forearms. Increased grip strength will then aid to improve other heavy lifts and also give you forearms worthy of a Norse god.
  • Deadlifting is also one the few exercises out there with real world application. Pickup weights off the ground is something we’ve been doing for millennia and is exactly what the deadlift trains the body to do.
  • Strengthened spine and better posture. People with lordosis or excessive curving of the spine can benefit from the deadlift as it will help fix their posture by strengthening their lower back muscles, as well as the core, and by ironing out any lower back imbalances. A lot of people who have had chronic issues with their spine have reported decreased pain after consistent deadlifting; most likely due to stronger spinal erector muscles holding the spine in a good place.
  • Better cardiovascular health. The only two exercises to really make someone light headed are Deadlifts and Squats. Deadlifting really taxes your cardiovascular system, as you already know, or will soon find out. (Pro tip: Make sure you have somewhere to sit down after deadlifting).
45 lb plates

Every gym needs something like this

Some uneducated people and crappy gyms (AKA Planet Fitness) will try and tell you the Deadlift is not a good exercise, and that it’s dangerous, and that you shouldn’t do it. Well they’re wrong. Driving a car is dangerous, yet we still do it. Why? Because we learn how to do it first. Sure you can injure yourself deadlifting, but you can also injure yourself with any fitness activity if done incorrectly.

If you’ve never deadlifted before, read up on Proper Deadlifting Form before you go out there and do a clean set of 5. If you already¬† have tried it, you can always fine-tune your form by checking out our Deadlifting tips & Tricks and also making sure you’re not making any of the Deadlift Mistakes.

Lift heavy! (but not right away)

Further Reading: Guide to Deadlifting