Deadlifts 101 – Why, When & How
I’ve been working out relatively regularly for more than a decade now. Not that I look like a buff bodybuilder, or anything close to it, but I have been able to derive massive benefits from hitting the weights section on a regular basis.
But that’s the story for another post.
Thing is, that in my decade of working out, I have seen multiple trends come and go. Multiple ways of working out, multiple workout philosophies and styles (extreme callisthenics and Crossfit or functional training being the latest).
However one exercise (and the variations of it) that has refused to fade away at any point in time, and is a part of almost every trend.
From being a sub-part of olympic lifts, to having international competitions dedicated purely to deadlifts; from people flipping tractor tires in crossfire warehouses, to the THICC ladies working on their butt, deadlifts have demonstrated their staying power.
But why IS this exercise SO favoured? Why has it not faded in and out of a workout junkie’s vision as he looks at upping the ante on the floor? Let’s figure.
1. Deadlifts challenge (almost) every muscle
One stone, multiple birds.
You grip the bar and hold on to it: forearms, biceps, shoulders & upper back.
You get ready for your lift, your abs contract to provide the upper body rigidity required; they remain active and engaged throughout the lift.
You pull the weight off the floor, your calves, hamstrings (a bit of quads), glutes and upper back get into the game.
Halfway through the lift, your lower back comes into action and helps complete the lift.
So one exercise, and you’ve involved almost every muscle in your body. Incredible.
2. Deadlifts TORCH calories
Once you get the posture of a deadlift right, you end up moving a LOT of weight in this exercise. Why?
Simply because so many muscles are involved.
Alone, they can only lift so much; but together they end up hauling serious ass. This straight up translates to burning more calories (while doing the exercise and later while recovering) than a blowtorch aimed at a cheese pizza.
Speaking of ass…
3. Deadlifts give you ASStounding results.
One of the primary muscle used in deadlifts is the Gluteus Maximus (i.e. your butt) and if you want to maximus your gluteus, then this exercise is the way to go.
It’s said that deadlifts work your butt even more than squats.
Working your butt is good cuz it’s the largest muscle group in your body and is primarily responsible for you being erect whenever you choose to be. Erect (here) = Standing straight up.
It is also responsible for most movement, and hence it makes all the sense to strengthen it as much as you can.
Strength usually comes with size and shape, so win-win brother. You can hope to have the gigglier sex drooling behind your back, like they did for Beckham in his gray slacks.
Yep women love a nice ass on a man.
4. Deadlifts give you better posture.
Ever had someone say you slouch too much?
No matter how pretty you are, or how much money you got, or what car you driving, if you slouch, you got no game brother.
Slouching is your body language screaming “I have zero self confidence”. And guess who likes interacting with people who have zero self confidence. No one. Except for con-men.
So how do deadlifts help?
They pull back your shoulders and upper back (due to the muscle development and contraction intros areas), they straighten up your spine (due to the lower back and abs being worked) and as discussed earlier, they pump up your glutes, leading to that confident strut.
5. Deadlifts give you confidence.
Not everyone can move more weight than your own body. People who don’t work out definitely can’t (unless there’s a freak show outlier). But with deadlifts, given some time and practice, you easily can.
In fact you can life much more than your body weight. And you know what happens when you’re able to displace HEAVY weights?
You feel fucking invincible. Like a goddamn rockstar. Powerful.
Power straight up translates into confidence.
Also, deadlifts aren’t easy. They squeeze the life out of you.
They require not only physical, but mental strength as well. And when you develop enough willpower to get in there and move more weight than your mind allows you to believe you can; you feel like you’re on top of the world.
Plus, deadlifts are real-world lifts. i.e. they are functional i.e. they will help you in real life situations. Like when you gotta pick up something that’s fallen down (even if it’s pretty heavy), when you gotta climb up the stairs or even handle a heavy bike.
Deadlifts got your back.
How often should you do them?
Twice a week is good. Maybe one of those times could be a variation like Romanian deadlifts.
How to start?
Watch this video, and take help from a trainer (if you have qualified ones in your gym).
If not, then get someone to take a video of you doing them and compare against the technique in this video. Improve till you get it right.
Also, if you have injury or back issues. Make SURE you check with the doctor before getting into deadlifts. Cuz done wrong or with injuries, they can wreak more havoc than any other move.