A deadlift is a compound training routine that starts with a weighted barbell placed on the floor (“dead weight”). The exercise earned its name from the fact that the barbell is lifted with no momentum.
When you perform a deadlift, the muscles worked include the:
- Abdominals and obliques
Based on the type of deadlift exercise performed, certain groups of muscles get more engaged than others.
To perform a deadlift, you need to keep a flat back while picking up the weighted barbell from the floor. You perform the movement by pushing back using your hips.
Deadlifts are a very useful exercise because they can strengthen multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The recommended number of deadlifts depends on the amount of weight that you’re using.
You’ll need lighter weights if you’re new to deadlifts. If this is the case, it’s advised to perform five to eight deadlifts per set, and three to five sets.
You need heavy weights if you’re advanced in your fitness level. In this case, it’s recommended to perform one to six deadlifts per set. Include three to five sets with short breaks in between.
Regardless of your level of fitness, it’s recommended to not perform deadlifts more than two to three times per week, in order to allow your muscles enough time to recover fully.
Aside from the standard deadlift, there are different variants of this exercise, including:
- The Deficit Deadlift
- Romanian Deadlift
- The Sumo Deadlift
- Deadlift Rack Pulls
The Correct Way to Perform a Deadlift
If you’re new to deadlift training, you can start with a standard barbell weighing 45 pounds. If you’re more advanced and need more weight, you may add up to 2.5 to 10 pounds on each side. The maximum weight to use for your deadlift training depends on the level of your fitness.
Start the exercise with your feet kept shoulder-width apart, standing behind the barbell. Sink back into your hips, keeping your chest lifted and your back straight. Grip the barbell after bending forward. Sink your hips back and press feet flat into the floor as you’re gripping the bar.
Get into a standing position by pushing hips forward while keeping a flat back. Finish with knees almost locked out, shoulders back and legs straight. With straight arms, hold the bar slightly lower than your hip height. Bend your knees, move your hips back while keeping your back straight, and return to the starting position, squatting down until the bar touches the ground.
Depending on how much weight you’re lifting, perform one to six reps, three to five sets.
By performing the right deadlift, the muscles worked on in this standard routine also include major muscle groups, as it’s a full-body workout. This type of deadlift is a dominant hip movement, using the spinal erectors and other muscles that belong to the posterior chain.
The standard deadlift allows you to learn the right way to pull the weight from the floor effectively. For this reason, before moving onto other variations of the exercise, everyone should first learn to properly perform a standard deadlift.
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