Learn the main reasons why you should do deadlifts and then find a variation that works for you! Personally, I love deadlifts as they have so many day-to-day benefits. Plus, as part of the posterior chain, making the deadlift part of your regular exercise routine should be a priority.
For many people (specifically women) "deadlift' is a big scary word. Images of jacked guys pulling hundreds of pounds of weight off the floor are conjured and fear sets in.
However, deadlifts are just another way of working the posterior chain- a crucial group of muscles.
Deadlifts don't have to be scary. Really it's just a fancy way of saying "pick something up with good form".
What You'll Learn In This Post:
- why should you do deadlifts
- is it necessary to do deadlifts
- why are deadlifts bad
- Exercises to do in place of deadlifts
- Form Tips and FAQ's For Performing The Deadlift
How Did The Deadlift Get Its Name?
Did you know that the exercise got its name "deadlift" in Rome, from a was sergeant?
The story goes that while at war, much of his army was being injured (via muscles, not gunshots) when out on the field trying to carry back fallen soldiers.
The sergeant took the time to teach them to pick up the bodies properly and his rate of injured soldiers went down.
Neat and creepy at the same time eh?
The benefits of using deadlifts in your training program are outstanding. However, below are the main reasons I love the deadlift.
Keep in mind, you don't need to crush a lot of weight to see results from this exercise! There are so many variations (click here to jump to deadlift variations) of the deadlift that there's one right for everyone
Deadlifting Is A Full Body Exercise
When you perform a deadlift, you are using your entire body. Whether to pull directly or to stabilize everything in your system must be engaged.
Likewise, because the deadlift works so many muscles (and groups of muscles!) it's pretty high on the "big bang for your buck list". Honestly, this exercise is a time saver.
Deadlifts Emphasize The Posterior Chain
While the deadlifts are a full-body exercise, the emphasis is placed on the posterior chain. A group of muscles down the back of the body. This group of muscles, when strong help:
- prevent injury
- improve posture
- reduce back pain (learn more on how to reduce back pain)
- carry babes easier
- improve performance
Deadlifting Improves Glute Strength
Developing your glutes is crucial for busy moms (here are the benefits of glute training).
Our glutes support our pelvic floor in pregnancy and postpartum. Similarly, they help us pick up and carry babes easier and with less injury. And every version of the deadlift requires them.
Deadlifts Mimic A Daily Movement
You pick things up all day long. Literally. If your toddler is anything like mind she constantly wants "uppa mama uppa".
Thus, the more you strengthen the movement the easier it is to pick things up like babies, kitty litter, and groceries.
Being strong improves day to day tasks. And one thing is for sure, deadlifts keep you strong.
Deadlifts Strengthen Your Core
It takes a lot of effort to pull up from the floor and your whole body must work together. Including your core!
When people think of training abs, they think mostly of direct work (sit-ups crunches etc). But, your core is so much more than that (learn more about ab exercises better than sit-ups!).
Your core is responsible for keeping you upright and essentially preventing movement. Plus, a strong core supports your low back.
Being a full-body, loaded, exercise, deadlifts are a great way to train your core for day-to-day movement.
Truth be told, in fitness and exercise, nothing is completely necessary. At the end of the day, you want to have a strong posterior chain and there are other ways to get it.
However, deadlifts force your body to work together as it would in daily tasks. While you can train hamstrings with hamstring curls and glutes with hip thrusts, neither of those require as much of a connection between your upper and lower body as the deadlift.
So, while it's not necessary to do deadlifts, deadlifts is easily one of the best ways to achieve your goals (be they weight loss, strength, performance, injury prevention).
Likewise, there are SO MANY ways to deadlift and it would be silly not to work them into your routine.
So yes, deadlifts are worth it.
While I love deadlifts, there are great ways to boost the strength of the posterior chain instead of deadlifts. Try using some of the exercises below as they mimic the hip hinge pattern needed for the lift:
- cable pull through
- hip thrust
- Romanian deadlift
- reverse hyperextensions
- Bulgarian split squats
- Back extensions
"I avoid deadlifts to protect my back" is the silliest excuse in the book.
Deadlifts get a bad reputation for hurting your back when in reality it's how you perform the deadlift that matters. The irony is that deadlifts are one of the best exercises you can DO for your back!
However, deadlifts are no different than picking anything up off the floor without using the appropriate muscles. It will hurt your back.
This exercise doesn't cause injury, poor form when training them does. Likewise, poor choice in your deadlifts causes injury.
You wouldn't load up a bar and put it on your back without learning to squat first. So why pick up something heavy off the floor without learning how?
The most common problem with deadlifts is a rounding of the low back (and somewhat the upper). Instead of fearing the lift itself, learn to perform it properly.
Also, the deadlift is a hip hinge, and thus learning and truly perfecting the hinge will allow you to lift over and over. Check out the video below to learn how to hip hinge.
When it comes to deadlifting some things will depend on the variation you choose, However,
- keep a neutral low back
- engage the back of the shoulders (pinch your shoulder blades)
- squeeze oranges in your armpits
- shins to barbell
- push the floor away
- brace and breathe
There's no need to start picking heavy things up off the floor out of nowhere. Instead, work on some of the variations and stances below to both perfect the form and figure out which deadlift suits you best!
- conventional barbell deadlift
- sumo stance barbell deadlift
- suitcase deadlift
- resistance band suitcase deadlift
- resistance band deadlift
- romanian deadlift
- American deadlift
Don't forget to pin this post on Why Should You Do Deadlifts!
Deadlifts are a functional exercise that will keep you strong and able to perform daily tasks easier.
Thus, learn to perform them properly, find the variation that works best for you and your body, and don't underestimate them ... they really will make you feel like a badass!