Deadlifts: Do Them.

Strongmen event: the Deadlift (phase 2).

Strongmen event: the Deadlift (phase 2). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My favourite exercise is the deadlift. This post is about why you should make this one of your favourite exercises, too.

The deadlift, for all intents and purposes, is a simple exercise: standing with your feet about shoulder width apart, with flat feet, under the barbell, bend your knees and bend at the waist with a straight back; hold the barbel with hands at shoulder-width, mixed or overhand grip; hang onto the barbell as you return to a straight-leg, standing position. Repeat this motion by keeping your knees straight and bending at the hips, lowering the barbel toward the tops of your feet (which always stay about shoulder-width apart and flat on the floor, pushing through the heels).Lift the bar by extending your waist and hip until you are in an upright position, keeping shoulders slightly back (as opposed to rounded forward).

To ensure proper form, keep the bar close to your legs for the entire lift. I don’t worry about lowering the weight all the way to the ground, I ensure I’m pushing through my heels, my shoulders are back, my chest is proud, and I lower until I feel a good stretch in my hamstrings, then I return to standing. Always begin with a warm-up set and adjust your weights accordingly.

The force that this exercise uses is a pull (for those of you that may design your programs based on pushing/pulling motions). The primary muscle groups used to execute a deadlift are the hamstrings; the synergists of this motion are the erector spinae, gluteus maximus, and the adductor magnus; the stabilizing muscle groups include the trapezius (middle), rhomboids, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius (upper), levator scapulae, and the trapezius (lower). Basically, the deadlift hits your posterior chain in a major way, giving you a lifted, round booty, a strong back, and lean upper legs.

There are other types of deadlift, but the straight (or stiff-legged) deadlift is the focus today. I’ve included some links throughout this post that go into greater detail and provide demonstrations.

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