What could be a simple exercise that could make a huge difference in my body? Not just regarding size, but also in progressing an enormous amount of strength. An exercise that with one movement, it will simultaneously target the majority of my muscle parts.
If you're looking for that one mass and strength builder exercise, there is only one answer to that, and it is the deadlift.
Deadlift is a whole-body exercise, and can arguably be the king of all lifts. As what Mike O’ Hearn says in his Power Bodybuilding videos, "the superhero lift, the beast lift, the man lift," and I couldn't agree more! Besides the lower back, what muscles do deadlifts work?
Most of the bodybuilders usually do the deadlift on a back day. Others do it twice a week and do another of variation of a deadlift to emphasize more on the hamstrings.
I will show you what muscles work during your deadlift. It is just a simple movement, but I am telling you that it puts a lot of muscles at work.
#1 Conventional Deadlift - The conventional deadlift is the regular variety that every lifter does. The width of the feet is narrow and even narrower than shoulder width. The grip or the placement of your hands are a little bit outside of shoulder width.
Your starting position is to make sure your shin touches the bar when you go down, keep your back straight, keep your chest proud, squeeze your traps and tighten up your core. Then, just pull the weight at the top. You don't need to hyperextend your hips like some other lifters do in the gym.
#2 Stiff-legged Deadlift - From the name itself, your keeping your leg stiff all the time. It will also test your flexibility of how low you can go per rep while keeping your legs still. You're just bringing you butt back, and go down through the movement. The placement of the bar will slightly go in front of you as you go through the reps. Still the same feet placement and the same hand width on the bar.
#3 Romanian Deadlift - Now this is often confused with the Stiff-Legged Deadlift. With the Romanian deadlift, your knees will slightly bend while drawing back your hips. You will keep the bar as close to you as possible. Your stance doesn't change and will remain the same for the previous variety of deadlifts I mentioned.
#4 Sumo-stance Deadlift - From all the types I mentioned above, this is the one that will be sort of different concerning the stance. The width of your feet placement goes wider than your shoulder. A good reference is when you try to grab the bar as you go down your legs and your calves should be perpendicular. Your hand placement is precisely your shoulder width.
What Muscles Do Deadlifts Work?
NOTE: The muscles that I will mention here will not depend on the variety of deadlift you will do. I will state the muscles that work in general.
The back is a muscle group that is obviously at work. Before you even lift the bar up from the ground, you have to engage your back. Once you get that weight on the top, you actually flex your Lats, and it will give it that mass, thickness, and density. Of course, you will mostly feel the soreness on your lower back, but if your entire back is engaged through the lift, you will also feel the soreness on your mid-back or rhomboids.
As mentioned before, you need to squeeze your traps while doing the deadlifts. When you are pulling the weight all the way to the top, you have to keep your back straight and keeping your traps squeezed is one of the ways to maintain a proper form through the reps.
LEGS and GLUTES
At the setup before lifting the bar, you are already engaging your hamstrings. At that moment, you will feel the stretch from your hamstrings to your glutes. Once you are pulling the muscles, you will also push the weight with your legs, and when you get to the top of the deadlift, your legs will also stabilize you with the weight. You need to squeeze the glutes at the top too.
Before you even pull that weight, you have to breathe in, keep that oxygen throughout the rep, and maintain that strong core. It is similar to going down in a squat. Tightening your core will also give you balance through the movement . If you have a strong core and you work really hard for it, you might not even wear a weightlifting belt anymore.
Well for obvious reasons, you are holding the bar the entire time, right? Deadlift strengthens your grip a lot whether you do double overhand grip or over-under grip, you will still develop the size and strength of your arms.
- Accessories - If you are planning to break your plateau or achieve a new personal record, for your safety, please wear a weightlifting belt to protect you from any possible injuries. Wear one ONLY if you’re going to attempt a new one rep max.
- Multivitamins and Supplements - For recovery, don’t forget to take your supplements and multivitamins.
- Rest - You don't need to do deadlifts every day. Give your body some time to rest. Being tired or overtraining is actually unproductive as you won't develop quality muscles and strength.
- Diet and Nutrition - Make sure you watch what you eat. You have to eat the right amount of calories and clean, nutritious food. It will make you grow bigger, faster and stronger if you ar e eating the right food.
You can never count the deadlift out of your exercise. It releases a lot of testosterone through your body. There are a lot more of what muscles do deadlifts work rather than what I just stated above, but those are the one major muscle group that do the job. If you liked this article, please share it with your fellow community.
I’m Gregory Brown, chief editor at ConstructMuscles.com
I spend half of my time in this blog while the other half on being physical fitness trainer. Believing in the great benefits of bodybuilding and fitness to the body, I’ve been motivated to become a fitness enthusiast. It also was what gave me the self-confidence and assurance within myself both physically and psychologically.