The deadlift … you know if, even if you’ve never attempted it. A staple of most strength-training programs, it’s one of the three lifts performed in the sport of powerlifting—and one that nearly every trainer swears by. Intimidating as the move may look (and sound), the deadlift is one of the best compound, functional and effective exercise movements you can do. It has more benefits in one fluid motion, than nearly every other lift in the gym. Allow us to count the ways.
Works Your Whole Body
From your abs and traps to your forearms and lower back (don’t forget about your glutes and hamstrings), the deadlift is one of the best full body exercises you can perform says chiropractor and certified strength and conditioning specialist at Body Check Chiropractic & Sports Rehabilitation, Matt Tanneberg. What does that really mean? You’re able to log some serious full-body strength-building with every rep.
Stabilizes Your Core
When you perform deadlifts, you rely a lot on your core’s stability to lift the weight from the ground. That means your core is also bracing hard to keep your spine rigid and supported. That stabilized core strengthens your spinal muscles. These include the muscles that work at the level of the neck, shoulders, and back. Additionally, this supports the movements from the shoulders to the hips. Your stronger core will make it easier to perform other exercises and everyday activities.
Improves Your Jump Performance
You don’t have to play basketball to benefit from better jump performance. It’s an essential skill for a variety of athletic (and outdoor) activities. And your ability often reflects the overall development of your lower body power. Not to mention, the increased power often transfers to other maximal power activities like sprinting.
Deadlifts have been shown to be among the most effective strength-training exercises for improving your jump strength.
Burns Calories and Supercharges Metabolism
Since deadlifts use such an abundant amount of large muscle groups, in one compound movement, the body has to work significantly harder to perform such a movement. In turn, the body burns more calories to exert more energy. One recent study found that a group of exercisers burned between 238 and 282 calories while performing three sets of 10 deadlifts using 60% of their one-rep max (i.e the maximum weight that can be lifted with proper form for a single rep). Muscle is also being built during this process, which aids in burning calories at rest and keeping your metabolism firing at all times.
Strengthens Your Bones
Did you know that regular resistance training, such as deadlifting, can protect against the loss of bone mineral density? It’s true. The key to increased bone mineral density is performing weight-bearing exercises that load the whole body with external resistance—like a few deadlifts. What’s more, a large body of research supports the use of resistance training to slow or even reverse age-related loss of bone mineral density.
Improves Your Posture
A lot of us have imbalances in our posture. And most are quad dominant, meaning that a lot of the muscle mass in our legs is attributed to our quadriceps. So naturally, we develop a structure that lacks balance, since the hamstrings are an often neglected and forgotten muscle group, leading to all sorts of issues such as hunched shoulders, a weakened core and underdeveloped glutes. That all adds up to lower back issues. However, proper posterior training with deadlifts will reduce these risks and will not only give you a stronger posture for proper spinal support but a stronger back to support your body.
Strengthens Your Grip
According to several trainers we spoke with, the deadlift is the number one move you can do to strengthen your grip. Why? It requires your hands to hold onto and move a heavy weight. And the science backs this up.
* Proper Form:
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, ensuring your feet are midway under the bar.
- Keeping your back straight, hinge and sit your hips back, bending over while keeping your chest up and grasp the barbell with a shoulder-width grip.
- Tighten your grip and bring the barbell as close to your body as possible.
- Relax your neck and look straight ahead while lifting your chest, keep your shoulders protracted back.
- Lift the weight (keeping the barbell as close to your body as possible) by pushing through your legs and fully extend your hips at the top of the movement.
- Lower the bar back to the floor slowly and with control.