Everyone would agree that working out is extremely beneficial. There are literally thousands, maybe even millions, of pages on the internet dedicated to health and fitness.
With all of that information out there, it may be overwhelming when searching for certain types of workouts. In this article, I will simplify one popular and extremely beneficial exercise movement: the deadlift.
What is a Deadlift?
Most people have at least heard of a deadlift before. Many reading this probably perform deadlifts regularly or have done them in the past. The deadlift is considered by many to be one of the purest displays of strength and power. Deadlifts are one of three main powerlifting movements and are great for building strength and adding size to your physique.
The deadlift movement is performed when a loaded barbell is pulled from the ground up to the hips and then lowered back down to the ground. While the concept is simple, it is still quite a technical lift and requires some practice in order to do it correctly.
Where did Deadlifts Originate?
No one knows for sure who invented the movement itself. However, it was popularized by a man named Hermann Goerner sometime between 1910 and 1920. While the lift was not used in competitions at this time, Goerner regularly performed every conceivable variation of the deadlift.
Throughout the 1900’s, the deadlift became more and more popular with people setting impressive records every few years. Today, it is used in powerlifting meets and is a heavily practiced movement in most gyms.
Benefits of Deadlifting
The deadlift has many great benefits, especially if it is performed correctly. A single deadlift rep uses more muscles and muscle groups than any other workout or compound movement. It engages many muscles in the legs, core, back, and arms. That means that while performing this workout, you will also burn more calories per rep than any other workout (except maybe a squat).
Not only will you be building stronger muscles more rapidly, but you will also shred fat more quickly as well. The strength gained from deadlifts transfers more into everyday life outside the gym as well. Deadlifting increases your core strength, giving you better posture overall. Deadlifts also greatly increase your grip strength. If performed quickly, deadlifts really get your heart pounding which can be a light cardio workout.
Like many workouts, there are several variations of deadlifts to choose from. Each one has a special purpose. To get the best results deadlifting, many powerlifters will use a combination of these variations while training in order to improve on their main competition approved lifts. Conventional is what most people think of when they picture someone deadlifting. It is the most basic form of the lift.
The lifter starts by standing in front of the barbell with their feet roughly shoulder width apart. Then the lifter will bend down, placing both hands on the barbell so their knees are between their arms and perform the movement. Sumo style differs from conventional in that the lifter has a much wider stance and narrower grip.
This engages more muscles in the legs and is less pressure on the lower back. Romanian/straight leg/stiff leg deadlifts are another popular variation in which the lifter does not bend down into a squatting position while performing the lift. This variation engages the hamstrings and gluteus more than the other styles of deadlifts.
Deficit deadlifts or rack deadlifts are used to increase or decrease the range of motion. You can use either conventional or sumo grips/stances while performing deficits and rack pulls. Another less commonly used variation is the snatch grip deadlift. This movement uses an extremely wide grip and is used to help competitive lifters increase their pull strength while performing the snatch lift.
Some gyms have a piece of workout equipment known as a hex bar. The bar is shaped like a hexagon with handles and has a place to load weight on either side. When using the hex bar for deadlifts, the lifter will stand in the center of the bar and perform the deadlift with the arms at their side. In addition to stances, different grips can also be incorporated. An over under grip and double overhand grip are the most common and provide the lifter with the most power.
While there are many exercises you can perform in the gym, deadlifts should be one of your main lifts. It will help you build the most muscle and will help you improve in your other workouts as well. Before jumping in to this lift for the first time, it would be wise to practice it without weight first. Be sure to keep your back straight and take plenty of time to warm up so you don’t injure yourself. Now go hit the gym and get some new PR’s.