Yummy Fitness

Deadlifts - The Ultimate Exercise?

May 14th, 2008 . by Sean Bissell

Recently I’ve been getting back into deadlifts, if you’re not familiar with deadlifts they’re a great full body workout.

The exercise is simple, it’s basically lifting a bar with weights attached off of the floor and up to your waist area. You do it in the same basic movement as just picking up something heavy off the ground.

Although the concept is basic, you really have to make sure your form is correct to avoid injury with this ultra-awesome exercise.

Why is the deadlift “ultra-awesome?”

Because it’s one of the only exercises that hit so many muscle groups so well, in such a short time. If you want the most “bang for your buck” then look no further than the deadlift.

The deadlift hits your upper, middle and lower back. It also uses your abs, hamstrings, quads, calves, biceps, traps, and lats.

It’s got almost everything in there.

Although all of these major muscles are worked during the deadlift, the muscles that work the hardest during this exercise are the hamstrings, lower back, lats, biceps and traps.

Overall though, the deadlift is classically labeled as a “back” exercise and would normally fall on a “back” day if you were doing a variation of a split routine between back, chest, arms, legs, etc.

Any way you want to look at it, if you give deadlifts a try, you’ll know just how well they work. And you’ll be nice and sore the next few days :)

A word of warning:

Deadlifts are very stressful on your back, and if you have past or current back issues please do not attempt any stressful back exercises like the deadlift.

Correct form:

The correct form for deadlifts is a debated issue, but almost everyone agrees that you must try and keep your back as straight as possible at all times. You do NOT want to bend or arch your back at all, and you should keep your core tight with an emphasis on keeping your lower back muscles straight.

You’ll want to approach the bar with the bar almost touching your shins and grip the bar with one fist pointed towards you and one away from you. (That’s called a reverse grip and it makes it easier to hold on to the bar.)

Then while keeping your back straight try and “explode” your energy through your heels, not the balls of your feet (this will give you more power and keep you more balanced.)

Keep the bar as close to you as possible and stand up straight.

After you’ve completed the movement then slowly and in a controlled movement (while STILL keeping your back straight) return the bar and weight back to the ground.

The best way to do repetitions with deadlifts is to actually set the weight all the way down to the ground and then pick it back up again. This minimizes any “swing” and unwanted “jerking” of the weight at the bottom and helps to prevent injury.

In any case, just try your best to keep the bar close to you, and to keep your back straight with the weight in a controlled manner.

Here’s a quick video of me deadlifting 405 pounds (my personal best.)

My form isn’t the absolute best here because the weight was so heavy for me, but it’s pretty close. (And you don’t need to bend so far back at the end, I just wanted to prove to myself that I had the weight controlled at the top of the lift for future reference.)

That little voice in the background is Lindsey yelling at me to keep proper form. Sheesh! What a nag :) But she’s still awesome!

And here’s a video of Lindsey doing some pretty heavy duty repetitions on deadlifts (she doesn’t set the bar down at the end, but again that’s your choice.)

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