The deadlift is the ultimate test of strength and is the basis for one of the most functional activities in existence… picking something, anything, up off of the ground.
If you were asked about your favorite barbell exercise, what would come to mind? Average gym-goers would probably lean towards the universally popular bench press or seasoned athletes may lean towards the touted “King of the Exercises,” the barbell squat.
But who would think the deadlift? The deadlift is the ultimate test of strength and is the basis for one of the most functional activities in existence… picking something, anything, up off of the ground.
The deadlift is my favorite barbell exercise. Here are the top three benefits of deadlifts.
1. Undeniable Functionality
Each day, everyone will, at some point, pick something up. From dropping a pencil in an office to lugging heavy boxes into a new living space, humans are constantly picking objects up from the floor.
It is here that these said objects have no potential energy, as they are on the floor and cannot travel any lower. This is what is referred to as “dead weight.”
When executed properly, a deadlift teaches us that much of our power comes from the movement of the hips and use of what is called the posterior chain of muscles: all the way from glutes to hammies to calves.
When you apply this principle of movement to everyday life, your lower back will be safer and you will be able to lift heavier loads more efficiently.
2. A Strong, Powerful Core
Few exercises will help you build a iron-like core like the deadlift. While crunches and situps are often (incorrectly) thought to build abs, nothing will strengthen your core like a strong deadlift.
This is because every muscle that makes up your core, not just the elusive six-pack, but muscles such as transverse abdominis, obliques, diaphragm, erector spinae, hip adductors, and hip abductors just to name a few, are used during the execution of the deadlift.
The deadlift also calls for a neutral spine, which is a safer and more advantageous position for core work.
The benefits of deadlifts also include how versatile the deadlift is. The deadlift is a hard exercise to get bored with simply because there are so many different ways to change it up.
Double overhand grip: A conventional deadlift using a double overhand grip will help increase grip strength and work the forearm muscles.
Switch grip: A switch grip means one hand is overhand while one hand is underhand. This type of grip helps “lock in the bar” and allows you to lift heavier weight.
Sumo deadlift: A sumo deadlift is done by widening your feet with your hands gripping the bar inside your legs for for a more quad-dominant lift.
Romanian deadlift (RDL): The romanian deadlift, or RDL, differs in that it targets more of the glutes and hamstrings. This is done by using generally straight legs and lowering the bar just to below the knees.
These are only three of the benefits of deadlifts. This versatile, functional, and core-building exercise should be a staple in your workout plan, regardless if you are an experienced lifter or just starting out.