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Deadlift - Muscles Worked & Benefits

Exercise Type: Multi-joint
Primary Muscles Worked: Lower Back
Secondary Muscles Worked: Calves, Forearms, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lats, Middle Back, Quads and Traps

The Deadlift is an overall power exercise that works the lower back, calves, forearms, glutes, hamstrings, lats, middle back, quads and traps. This back-to-basics exercise is the most important (after squats) because it works all your muscles with the heaviest weights possible. It requires the use of more muscles than any other exercise in your training routine. As you lift the barbell toward your upper thigh, the spinal erectors in your lower back work to stabilise and straighten the spine, while the glutes and hamstrings extend your hip.

Deadlift - Exercise Workout & Technique

  • Stand in front of a loaded barbell.
  • At this point it is important to note that you do not want your lower back to round out towards the ceiling as this can cause injury.
  • Assume the start of the deadlift stance with your knees bent, taking hold of the barbell with one hand upwards, the other facing downwards in a medium to wide placement on the bar. Your spine should be neutral.
  • To start the lift safely, push with the legs, not the back, to start the movement.
  • Then exhale and straighten out your back with your chest out and shoulders back.
  • To return the weight down, bring back the bend in your knees again, and bring your chest downwards, keeping your head held high.
  • Bring the weight back down to the floor, before repeating the next repetition.

Deadlift - Tips & Safety

[Right, Jay Cutler Muscletech Nutrition]

  • Don’t do this exercise if you experience back or shoulder problems.
  • Always maintain the curve in the lower spine and that the rest of the spine is in a neutral position to avoid excessive strain and stress.
  • If you have trouble with the one hand under and the other over stance, consider using wrist straps. The alternate grip allows for the greatest grip strength, however swapping grips will help further develop your forearm muscles.
  • Your feet should be positioned directly below the hips and your toes pointing straight ahead.
  • The bar should travel straight up and down, close to the body.
  • Your hands should be placed at shoulder-width apart so that they pass along the outer thighs on the way down.
  • Start with light weights to get used to the movement first.

Deadlift - Alternatives

  • Consider using dumbbells as an alternative. It requires you to maintain stability throughout the entire range of motion.
  • Try using a cable pull in order to prepare yourself for the control that the free weight Deadlift requires.
  • Performing a Stiff-Leg Deadlift shifts the focus from the lower back to the glutes and hamstrings.
  • A Sumo-Style Deadlift requires a wide stance that places the emphasis on the thigh muscles.
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